Virgin Atlantic has been rated the number one brand online across four sectors, according to the latest Kaizo Advocacy Index.
The twice-yearly study measures the online reputation of 20 major brands across four sectors – mobile, airline, food and software with Virgin Atlantic scoring 45 followed by easyJet at 9.2.
Other airlines did not fair as well with most scoring negative figures including Ryanair scoring -15.8, British Airways -21.6 and BMI -35.1.
Virgin’s success has been helped by its 25th anniversary campaign and sustaining an active online presence despite some criticism leveled at the airline for dismissing 13 employees.
Kaizo managing director, Rhodri Harries, said: “Virgin Atlantic’s high score demonstrates that customers respond positively to online brand engagement. Getting involved in these conversations will no doubt have a long term benefit, in terms of offline word of mouth and ultimately sales. Our study also shows that negative news can be balanced out with significant positive comments online.”
According to the study, online conversations about easyJet are also generally positive with favourable comments expressed towards the brand’s low cost flights and expansion of routes.
BMI, Ryanair and British Airways all receive negative scores with BMI coming bottom of the entire study across all sectors.
BMI showed a significant decline since the last study in summer 2008 with complaints of lost luggage and flight delays dominating online conversations.
According to Kaizo, BMI could generate more positive comments and balance out these conversations if it were to become more active online.
Ryanair has seen some improvement in the study but is still receiving negative feedback as customers consistently report poor customer service, delays and poor flight conditions.
British Airways negative score is down to criticism of the brands lack of diplomacy regarding racial and cultural issues.
The Winter Kaizo Advocacy Index also demonstrates that the amount of negative online brand chatter has been increasing because of issues relating to the economic climate, with some brands are taking advantage of the opportunities online to boost reputation.
This year’s study also incorporated searches on Facebook Groups and Twitter demonstrating the importance of social networks and micro blogs.