There’s a disconnect when comparing consumer reports and surveys against consumer sentiment. And brands need to pay close attention to it!

In this article we’ll explore:

  • Surveys vs. sentiment and why they both matter to the reputation of your business
  • Why it is that despite low ratings for Tesla on a recent report, their brand passion still ranks high
  • How today’s news is not tomorrow’s news, and how that was proven with a recent Whole Foods fiasco

Here are some facts to spark your interest:

  • Up to 50% of people lie when taking a survey
  • Survey response rate is low, sitting at 33%
  • B2C response rates are ~12% lower than B2B surveys

Surveys vs Sentiment

Consumer Reports, formerly Consumers Union, is an American nonprofit consumer organization dedicated to unbiased product testing, investigative journalism, consumer-oriented research, public education, and consumer advocacy.”

Consumers can visit Consumer Reports, amongst many other places, to view (and review) how a product is rated and how it performs based off customer reviews. But as a business owner, you shouldn’t rely on these numbers as the only source of information influencing your brand/product reputation and credibility.

Here’s an example of mattress ratings. You’ll see that ratings are custom and related to the product being reviewed.


Understanding the safety and performance of a product is important to consumers. And it’s equally important for you to understand consumer sentiment and brand passion. It’s be best way to ensure your brand is hitting all the relevant marks with your audience. And to define what those relevant marks are!

That’s why it’s important to not solely rely on surveys alone. However, when surveys are used strategically, paired with other consumer and market intelligence tools like NetBase Quid, they can be a powerful way to give your business a leg up in the market and against your competition.

In fact, many businesses are already focusing on consumer surveys to create their reports, like JD Power, and comparing it against consumer sentiment to see which carries the most intuitively correct weight. And to vet those results over a period of time.

But why is this important? Well, because with surveys, people can lie. And they do. Often.

  • Up to 50% of people lie when taking a survey
  • Survey response rate is low, sitting at 33%
  • B2C response rates are ~12% lower than B2B surveys

This is why sentiment analysis is important to cross-check information. Because sentiment analysis is an unbiased capture of unfiltered emotions, experiences and real time conversations.

For example, we have two recent reviews to explore, that *maybe* aren’t capturing the entire brand picture . .

Tesla Got a Talking To

Tesla recently received low survey rankings on JD Powers’ Consumer Report survey. There were reports of 250 issues per 100 vehicles, exceeding the automotive industry average of 166 issues per 100 vehicles. And these issues ranged from minor things like paint issues to more severe, like dangerous battery packs.

Here’s the catch though: These scores are not a standalone representation of the brand and its cars. In fact, JD Powers even said that Tesla’s score wasn’t an accurate representation because JD Powers wasn’t given full access to survey in all 50 states, reducing sample sizes of participants.


For the prices tag of a Tesla, consumers expect the best of the best. Having these poor scores could absolutely damage a company’s long-term reputation. That’s why it would be wise for a company like Tesla to create their own statement of sorts that acknowledges this score, but shows that while yes, there are improvements to be made, they are still winning with customer love. And that there’s good reason for it!

Take a look at social sentiment in NetBase. It’s clear that the positives far outweigh the negatives.


And the brand passion is much larger when compared to two of Tesla’s top competitors, too.


And it’s not just on social media. Tesla also appears to be doing pretty well in the stock market:


They even seem to be doing pretty well in the news as well! And you can bet this company has its share of critics, so this is telling:


But Tesla wasn’t the only company up against a fine line when it comes to brand reputation due to a damning report. Let’s see what Whole Foods was up against.

The Whole Foods Story 

Whole Foods Market has come under fire with reports citing serious concerns over bottled water (Starkey Spring Water) being sold in stores with a “concerning” level of arsenic. And although the levels were high enough to raise a concern, as they do meet FDA standards for heavy metal, this fact alone is enough to turn some people away.

But not all people.

The social mood around Whole Foods is overwhelmingly positive, with many people feeling joy and trust in their favorite grocery retailer.


While others aren’t afraid of speaking out about their feelings for the discovery made about this particular water brand.



And what we’re going to show you next is a perfect example of why you should be monitoring your brand, industry and business as part of an ongoing process. And you need to do that over time, as seen below:

Notice how the bottled water fiasco only appears in June, and is never brought up again, before or after? One may jump and base marketing decisions based off that one month, and that could be a mistake. While you should implement your crisis communications strategy when something like this happens, it’s critical to look at the bigger picture at hand.

And of course, we can help with that! If you want to learn more about NetBase Quid and how we can help monitor the health of your brand, reach out for a demo and let’s get started.

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