"Microsoft's performance coincides with a shift from an individual product marketing approach to the seamless 'One Microsoft' communications and user experience," Stokes added in her report.
That drive toward a singular brand, as Stokes hinted, provided some of the boost to Microsoft's score. If the poll had been run before that change, she suspected the Redmond, Wash. company would not have ranked as highly as it did.
"Microsoft clearly learned from Apple on this," Stokes said Wednesday. "[Apple] is at the forefront of this."
Speaking of Apple, Stokes attributed Apple's second-place finish, at least in part, to its struggles over the last 18 months, including a drop in stock price and criticism that it had dulled its innovation edge. "Apple's lost a little bit of its [brand] luster," Stokes contended even as she pointed out that Apple has recently countered with strong emotional brand advertising and the emphasis on luxury, the latter evidenced by the hiring of Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts.
"This is something Samsung should be thinking about, too," said Stokes. "I'm hard pressed to know what the Samsung brand actually stands for."
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