Why Dodo isn’t Australia’s Worst Brand

Yesterday, many news outlets reported on consumer ratings compiled from ProductReview.com.  A summary of the newsworthy results can be found here.  The major news emerging from these findings was that budget telco Dodo was named to be “Australia’s Worst Brand”, beating out Nestle, Simpson, Whirlpool and Australia Post for the undesirable title.

For those of you who don’t know, Dodo provides low cost telecommunications services – often at a fraction of the cost of competitors. It doesn’t make things that kill people, exploit international labor laws or provide home loans to people who can’t afford them.  Probably the most offensive thing about the brand is their interminable advertising. (I think it prudent to point out at this point that I have no association with Dodo).

Is Dodo as dead as a ...?

Is Dodo as dead as a …?

Why is it that they have been bestowed with this undesirable title?  What does this really mean?  And is there brand as dead as their namesake?

I would argue that this title is a meaningless and potentially harmful claim which isn’t an accurate representation of how the brand is perceived.

Firstly, the title of “Australia’s Worst Brand is in no way objective.  Just as there is no agreed way to objectively and definitively measure a brand’s value, there is no objectivity in making ridiculous claims of “best” or “worst” – especially when the claims are based on extremely selective sample of customers.

Even as a subjective claim it is extremely contentious.  Figuratively speaking, the lists compiled from ProductReviews.com compare apples and oranges with pears and elephants.  Is experiencing poor internet speeds worse than an owning dodgy car?  Is having a package delayed worse than a fault computer?  The answer is not clear.

Furthermore, consumers who post on ProductReview.com aren’t comparing or ranking brands in similar categories (which would be a more accurate method of comparing like with like).  They are simply giving an arbitrary score out of 5 at one point in time.  Scores which as I mentioned here can be heavily influenced by a vocal minority who “review bomb” the website with low scores – justified or not.

Websites such as ProductReview.com have an important role to play in ensuring people are not being ripped off and that they have a collective voice to hold brands, particularly major players, to account.  However, pseudo-scientific scores and the subsequent publishing of ‘best of’ and ‘worst of’ lists is inevitably a meaningless exercise.  What’s more, considering ProductReview.com to be an independent forum is at best contentious as they openly sell commercial advertising.

Finally, these types of lists may have unintended consequences – for brands who are unfairly targeted by a vocal minority.  I doubt that the customers in the telecommunications marketplace would be better off without a lost-cost player such as Dodo – particularly as their low-cost model appeals to first time internet buyers.

In any case, I doubt whether Dodo’s target market will care too much; it is unlikely that its score on ProductReview.com will dissuade many first time internet buyers or those after the cheapest internet connection available.

// Alec Schumann

About AnthonySchumann
Subtle Bravado // Creative Boutique. Ted Anthony - Vision Alec Schumann - Creative Follow @AnthonySchumann

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