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If Trust was a Symbol, This Would Be It

If Trust was a Symbol, This Would Be It

By Jeff Youngs, March 05, 2012
J.D. Power and Associates award trophies appear in the advertising and promotional efforts of companies in various industries around the world. These trophies have been touted by automakers, financial services providers, telecommunications companies, hotels, and companies in other industries that want to share their outstanding accomplishments in product quality or customer satisfaction based on their performance in J.D. Power studies.

In recent years, recognition by J.D. Power has come to represent one of the highest achievements in creating highly satisfied customers. Why? This particular recognition is based on independent and unbiased research of verified owners of the products and services.

J.D. Power and Associates, which is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., is known for its global marketing information services. Each year, J.D. Power surveys millions of customers worldwide to better understand their opinions about a variety of products and services in more than a dozen industries. Although providing research and related services is its core business, perhaps the company's most highly visible activity in the public arena is awarding trophies to companies, products, and services that rank highest in its industry-wide quality or customer satisfaction studies.

J.D. Power began a steady climb to recognition following its founding in 1968, and helped to create an entire industry of customer-satisfaction research. During this time, U.S. industry as a whole was paying little attention to what made customers happy, or unhappy, about the products and services they purchased. Although the federal government had passed the Consumer Bill of Rights, manufacturers at that time essentially determined which products they would make and how they would make them, and with little direct input from their customers and potential customers.

What does a J.D. Power Award Mean?
The advertising claims serve as positive reinforcement to top industry performers, sets benchmarks for all other industry participants to achieve, and provides feedback to consumers that their voices are being heard. The awards represent an aggregated and accelerated form of word-of-mouth advertising.
J.D. "Dave" Power III helped tilt the balance of power in favor of consumer interests in corporate decision-making and, thus, played a key role in the rise of consumerism that continues to this day.

Massachusetts-born Power, who had risen through the corporate world in various market research roles, determined that some companies had very little concern regarding their own customers' satisfaction with their products. In 1968, he founded J.D. Power and Associates in Los Angeles, California, with an eye toward understanding what customers thought about products and services they purchased. His plan was to provide manufacturers with findings based on the information he gathered to aid them in making more informed decisions, creating higher-quality products, and achieving customer satisfaction.

By the early Seventies, Power self-funded his company's first study of customer opinion. At the time, Mazda 's rotary-engine technology was unique to the global auto industry, and so appealing that a number of other auto manufacturers were evaluating its value for use in their own models. So, Power queried the first 1,000 buyers of Mazda's new rotary-engine-powered model, the RX-7. In many ways, the resulting study changed the industry.
While the study was meant to be confidential to the 14 automakers that purchased it, one of Power's clients leaked the results to the media. Within a week, articles about the rotary engine appeared in newspapers around the world. Over time, Mazda refined its signature rotary engine technology, which created more highly satisfied buyers down the road.

After product quality and reliability were identified in the Seventies as areas of vulnerability for some manufacturers, based on the results of the studies J.D. Power conducted, and following the introduction of Japanese import brands that changed the dynamics of competition, the entire industry began looking for ways to launch significant improvements in product quality and customer satisfaction. J.D. Power's studies and the company's emphasis on assisting manufacturers in identifying and implementing improvements were instrumental in raising the bar for quality for all auto manufacturers.

J.D. Power and Associates became recognized as a credible, independent, and unbiased source of customer satisfaction information. During the ensuing decades, the number of customers surveyed has expanded to more than 2 million annually and includes customers in various countries around the world.

In order to focus on the positive, J.D. Power not only publishes highly detailed, industry-wide studies that are provided to clients, but also shares topline findings via press releases to the media and via the ratings and information contained on this website.

Over time, as a result of clients' interest in citing their standings in J.D. Power studies in their advertising, the company began to allow the use of its award trophy and certain predetermined award claims for the highest-ranked companies, products, brands, or services. The company has established guidelines regarding the use of its brand in advertising, and monitors such use on an ongoing basis to ensure that study performance and related information is correctly represented. Click here to learn which companies are currently advertising their performance in J.D. Power studies.

J.D. Power expanded its customer satisfaction research to other industries as well, based on the impact in the auto industry. Companies in many industries around the world now rely on J.D. Power studies and analysis to improve their operations.

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