Bose, Dell, Sony, Panasonic, and Hewlett-Packard are the technology brands that score the highest with US consumers, according to a new survey by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). Forrester’s Technology Brand Scorecard evaluated 22 of the best-known consumer technology brands, based on the responses of more than 4,700 consumers.

Forrester’s third semiannual survey ranked consumer electronics and personal computer manufacturers on consumer trust, brand usage, and future purchase intent. A sample of the rankings:

  • Highest-rated companies: Bose, Dell, Sony, Panasonic, and Hewlett-Packard.
  • Lowest-rated companies: Toshiba, Hitachi, Microsoft, Gateway, and LG.

A top finding: Americans’ trust in consumer technology companies is eroding. Forrester believes that the decline in trust from 2003 to 2005 is due to ubiquitous technologies like PCs, HDTVs, and MP3 players reaching more price-conscious, mainstream consumers. That’s a major challenge for tech companies that must now sell to tech-averse customers who demonstrate little brand loyalty.

“Trust is a powerful way to measure a brand’s value and its ability to command a premium price or drive consumers into a higher-profit direct channel,” said Forrester Vice President Ted Schadler. “A decline in trust causes brand erosion and price-driven purchase decisions, which in turn correlates with low market growth.”

Additional highlights include:

  • Apple and TiVo are the only brands that enjoyed an increase in consumer trust between 2003 and 2005. But the results show a disconnect between the “Apple Computer” brand and the company’s wildly popular iPod. In our survey, iPod owners did not appear to identify with the “Apple Computer” brand, which could impede the so-called “halo effect” that iPods might have on Macintosh sales.
  • Bose is a gem to be mined, with 10 million regular users today but more than 17 million consumers who aspire to use the brand.
  • Despite brilliant growth in the past two years, Korean manufacturers such as Samsung and LG engender low consumer trust.

“The 2005 Technology Brand Scorecard” includes profiles of each brand’s regular users and aspiring users, data that holds lessons for marketers seeking to reach new customers. The Forrester report is available to WholeView 2™ clients and can be found at