The Centre for Brands Analysis has just published the results of its 2011 Superbrands index of Britain's favourite brands. For those of a telco persuasion, I'll summarise: nothing. Not a sausage. None of the top 20 are telcos. No BT, no Virgin Media or Mobile (Atlantic's in there though at #17), no Vodafone, no O2. No Nokia. And before you ask, no, this isn't limited to British companies. #1 is Mercedes.
The interesting thing from a telecoms industry perspective is that the unholy trinity (as I shall start to call them...I expect you to follow suit) of Google, Microsoft and Apple are in there at #5, #6 and #9 respectively. That's right kids, Apple is less popular than Microsoft. All of you who thought that Stephen Elop's decision to hitch his horse to the Windows Mobile bandwagon was a case of an increasingly uncool brand buddying up with an already uncool brand were wrong! Of course I'm not party to exactly the definition of popularity used in the survey.
It is interesting that as far as telecoms is concerned, hardware and carriage are nowhere (except for Apple making the devices they sell, but the hardware ain't why people buy Apple, see the whole rigmarole about the death pinch). Software is king. Five to ten years down the line those three firms will account for 90% of the smartphone market. They've won the hearts and minds of the public and they've won the battle of the value chain.
NB - BA is a strong #8 which surprised me. I've flown with BA three times in the last fortnight and there's been some kind of screw up on every flight. It can't last surely.