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Hacking Crisis Brings Sony to New Perception Lows

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Fri, 19/12/2014 - 19:07
Ted Marzilli

The Sony Pictures cyberattack – which unveiled controversial insider e-mails to the public -- has brought the Sony brand to its worst consumer perception levels in at least six years.

The last big perception hit for Sony was its April 2011 outage on its PlayStation Network, when about 77 million accounts were stolen.

To put that incident in perspective with the current one, we used our Buzz score, which asks 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?" A score can range from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position.

The PlayStation Network hack drove Sony’s Buzz score down from 28 on March 1st, 2011 to 10 by the middle of that May, representing a 19 point drop.

This year, Sony’s Buzz score has been descending all year long, starting with a 13 at the beginning of the year and slipping to 11 by November 24th, the first sign of the digital break-in. That score held for a week, as five Sony films all of a sudden appeared for download on pirate sites around the world.

The bottom began to drop on December 1st, when the pre-bonus salaries of 17 Sony executives leaked and the salaries of 6,000 former and current employees. Along with the many other revelations since that time, some of them racially-tinged, Sony’s current Buzz score stands at 3.

While this represents about half the drop that Sony experienced when the PlayStation network was hacked three years ago, the brand is now three points below their previous low with more potential impact on the way: Sony just canceled the release of the controversial film “The Interview,” and many celebrities have already taken to social media registering their displeasure with the decision.

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