BP, iPhone and Toyota Among YouGov’s Top Buzz Improvers

In a recent YouGov BrandIndex, it reviewed 2011 by looking at the top U.S. Buzz Improvers. They determined the leaders by rating them through the YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score. It asked respondents, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”

The Buzz Improvers chart the ranked the brands with the greatest increase in Buzz between Jan-Dec 2011 and compare it to the same period in the previous years. Scores represent the general population.

Take a look at the winners:

1. Toyota (NYSE:TM) saw its sentiment recover in March 2011, but its not at  industry-leading levels after the  company had 8 million cars recalled from 2009-2011. Scores declined over 70 points at the peak of the company’s recall crisis (January – March 2010). During  2011, Toyota established 10 months of positive momentum.

2. iPhone’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) 4S new voice technology “Siri” is motivating consumer perception and sales. Its score also rose, along with Apple, following the death of founder Steve Jobs in 2011.

3. BP’s (NYSE:BP) April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill drove scores to decline 75 points over two months after the brand had been the leader in Oil and Gas Buzz. Two months later, BP was recovering and by 2011, its Buzz scores started rising. At year’s end, BP took back 50 points but it still remains behind the top Buzz scores in Oil & Gas brand.

4. Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPLiPad 2 launch also grabbed some goodwill from Jobs passing with an 8 point rise from 2010 scores.

5. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) watches its Buzz scores fall 20 points during 2008’s financial crisis. Scores then leveled out and in 2009, a recovery began. But the bank experienced a large 30 point drop in April 2010 from its $1 billion fraud charge from sub prime mortgages. In 2010, Goldman regained some if its Buzz losses, but 2011 was even better. It saw its Buzz return to pre-fraud numbers.

6. Lexus (NYSE:TM) incurred a declining Buzz score as an effect of  Toyota’s January 2010 recalls. It got worse six months later as the company faced a second Buzz decline from its own recalls for engine problems. Last year was a recovery one for the company but the brand did see its brand return to pre-Toyota recall levels.

7. Chrysler dealt with a 40-plus point drop after 2008 government bailouts, but two years later the brand fully recovered in Buzz scores. The company continued its momentum last year assisted by a successful ad with rapper Eminem for the Superbowl, highlighting Chrysler’s hometown Detroit roots. It also fully paid back its more than $7 billion in bailout funds early to the U.S. and Canadian governments in 2011.

8. NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) incurred more than a 20 point Buzz decrease from December 2009 to February 2010 due to the agreement by Comcast to purchase a minority stake in NBCUniversal. Its Buzz scores took until the end of 2010 to recover and in 2011, its scores saw positive numbers.

9. Farmers Insurance Group (ZFSVY) had a spike in its Buzz score starting in October 2010 from the launch of the company’s campaign to feature funny commercials highlighting the fictional “University of Farmers.” In the commercials, agents learn different insurance issues from a professor as performed by the actor J.K. Simmons. Farmers continued with the campaign in 2011; buzz scores have been climbing.