November last year saw the tragedy of a London man losing his life in a fire thought to be started by a faulty Beko fridge freezer. News of the Beko connection broke on the 8 July and as expected, the brand saw falling Buzz scores as the public became aware of the problem.
Emerging allegations that further household fires may be connected to Beko products have caused far wider coverage of the story than expected. The media reported that the fridge-freezers may have caused several fires, as far back as 2007. In addition, it has emerged that Beko received an official warning regarding the issue from the London Fire Brigade in June 2010. The media attention and accompanying criticism that Beko has not responded fast enough have turned a once marginally known brand into a household name. For all the wrong reasons.
Noise surrounding the Beko brand has increased sharply this week, with Attention scores rising from 5.4 on 4 July to 27.1 by 8 July. Understandably, the huge increase in scores did not mark a surge of positive noise; Buzz scores plummeted from 1.4 on 4 July to -24.2 by 8 July – one of the fastest drops in Buzz for any brand in recent times.
The brand’s overall equity – its Index – has been damaged, with a fall in score of 9.5 points from 4 to 8 July, down to 9.4 on 8 July. As we have seen with other brand crises, such as Sony's PS3 hacking problems, a transparent and open approach can save further drops in a brand’s equity. Beko will need to leave behind the image of cover-ups that the media has portrayed and make sure their approach is as open and responsive as possible in order to help the brand recover.
The Index Score:
Every day, 2000 BrandIndex respondents rate brands either positively or negatively across 7 measures to provide a unique set of measures (Quality, Value, Reputation, Impression, Advocacy, Satisfaction and Buzz) on brand perception. For each one, the proportion giving a negative answer is taken away from positive to give a single score that can range from -100 to +100. All but Buzz (a measure of how positive or negative the “noise” around a brand is) are combined to form an Index score – a comprehensive measure representing a brand’s health.