As the opening of the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) dawned in Las Vegas, consumer technology firms pitched their innovation wares. Forrester’s latest TRUE brand compass research shows that innovation is a key to successfully building a sustainable consumer technology brand, but that innovation alone is not sufficient. 
In August 2013, Forrester conducted Consumer Technographics® research with 4,551 US online adults to uncover the drivers of a successful 21st century consumer technology brand. This research is part of Forrester’s TRUE brand compass framework designed to identify which brands are winning the battle for consumer mindshare and to help marketers build a brand that is trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential (TRUE). This framework has two core components: 1) An overall TRUE brand compass ranking gives a snapshot of a brand’s resonance — the emotional connection a customer has with a brand, and 2) the TRUE brand compass scorecard reveals a brand’s progress along each of the four TRUE dimensions.  
In a surprise upset, Microsoft trumped Apple and Samsung in the TRUE brand rankings. In fact, Microsoft was the only brand in the survey to achieve the coveted trailblazer status— indicating that the Microsoft brand is “at the forefront of brand building with a unique and distinct brand identity that sets it apart from other brands.”  Both Apple and Samsung achieved leader status.
All three brands were seen as innovative by consumers, so what elevates Microsoft to Trailblazer status? Our research proves that the emotional dimensions of being a trusted brand and an essential brand are the primary influencers of brand resonance – and that’s exactly where Microsoft scored well. Trusted brands create an emotional connection with consumers while essential ones are integrated into their lives. And Microsoft has achieved this consistently across generations. The very ubiquity that perhaps renders it uncool turns out to also be its strength.  

To learn more about how other consumer technology brands fared, check out my report “Innovative Consumer Technology Brands Win The Battle For Mindshare.”