Fujitsu brand health plummets following the broadcast of Mr. Bates vs. The Post Office
January 31st, 2024, Stephan Shakespeare

Fujitsu brand health plummets following the broadcast of Mr. Bates vs. The Post Office

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the effect ITV’s Mr Bates vs. The Post Office had on the Post Office in this column. But the reputational impact of the Horizon scandal – which saw over 900 subpostmasters wrongly prosecuted – has also had a significant impact on Fujitsu. The Japanese technology company (whose subsidiary, ICL Software, developed the Horizon accounting system at the centre of the controversy) has seen its brand health plummet following the drama’s broadcast on 1 January.

YouGov BrandIndex data shows that Index scores, a measure of brand health calculated by taking the average of several metrics, crashed from 7.2 to -17.3 (-24.5) between 1 – 28 January. Looking more closely at the metrics underpinning this movement reveals the extent to which Fujitsu’s standing has fallen among the British public following the drama’s broadcast.

Firstly, the public have certainly noticed the story: Buzz scores, which measure whether people have heard anything positive or negative about a brand in the past fortnight, deteriorated from 1.0 to -31.2 (-32.2).

But Impression scores, which measure general sentiment, also fell from 9.7 to -29.4 , a decline of 39.1 points, while perceptions of Fujitsu’s quality have deteriorated 24.6 points from 10.5 to -14.1 in the wake of ITV’s programme. Consumer Recommend scores, a measure of whether the public would suggest a brand to their friends or colleagues, fell 26.5 points from 4.2 to -22.3.

The scandal may also have implications for Fujitsu’s hiring: Reputation scores, which measure whether consumers would be proud or embarrassed to work for a brand, plummeted from 12.8 to -26.6(-39.4). In the past few weeks, the firm has seen former executives leave government roles, increased scrutiny of its current public sector contracts, and its bids for future contracts have been put on pause – and more may well be done in the effort to restore its brand. The impact of Mr Bates was perhaps no surprise; the question now is how long it will take for the public’s attitude towards Fujitsu to settle.

This article originally appeared in City A.M.