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The Q Score is a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a brand, celebrity, company, or entertainment product (e.g., television show) used in the United States. The higher the Q Score, the more highly regarded the item or person is among the group familiar with them. Q Scores and other variants are primarily used by the advertising, marketing, media, and public relations industries.
The Q Score is a metric that determines a "quotient" ("Q") factor through mail and online panelists who make up representative samples of the population. The Q score identifies the familiarity of an athlete, brand, celebrity, entertainment offering (e.g., TV show), or licensed property, and measures the appeal of each among people familiar with the entity being measured. Other popular synonyms include Q rating, Q factor, or simply Q.
The Q Score was developed in 1963 by Jack Landis and is owned by Marketing Evaluations, Inc, the company he founded in 1964. Q Scores are calculated for the population as a whole as well as by demographic groups such as age, education level, gender, income, or marital status.
Q Score respondents are given the following choices for each person or item being surveyed:
A. One of my favorites. B. Very Good C. Good D. Fair E. Poor F. Never heard of.
The score is calculated by dividing the percentage of respondents who answer A by the total percentage of respondents who are familiar with the subject (the sum of A through E) times 100.
Other companies have since created other measures and metrics related to the likability, popularity, and appeal of athletes, brands, celebrities, entertainment offerings, or licensed properties. Marketing Evaluations claims the Q Score is more valuable to marketers than other popularity measurements, such as the Nielsen ratings, because Q Scores indicate not only how many people are aware of or watch a show but also how those people feel about the entity being measured. A well-liked television show, for example, may be worth more as a commercial venue to an advertiser than a higher-rated show that people don’t like as much. High emotional bonding with a show means strong viewer involvement and audience attention, which are important indicators for the quality of the show's advertising environment. Viewers who regard the show as a "favorite" have higher awareness of the show's commercial content.
Marketing Evaluations regularly calculates Q Scores in eight categories:
- Brand Attachment Q rates brand and company names
- Cable Q rates cable television programs
- Cartoon Q rates cartoon characters, video games, toys and similar products
- Dead Q rates the current popularity of deceased celebrities
- Kids Product Q rates children's responses to brand and company names
- Performer Q rates living celebrities
- Sports Q rates sports figures
- TVQ rates broadcast television programs
Cable Q and TVQ scores are calculated for all regularly scheduled broadcast and cable shows.
Other Q Scores are calculated to order for clients who want to research public perception of a brand or celebrity. For example, in 2000, IBM hired Marketing Evaluations to calculate the Q Score for Deep Blue, the supercomputer that defeated chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue’s Q Score was 9, meaning the computer was as familiar and appealing at the time as Carmen Electra, Howard Stern, and Bruce Wayne. In contrast, Albert Einstein’s Q Score at the time was 56, while Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy each received a Q Score of 6.
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