16-month Contract Valued at CAD $272,000Montreal, QC — July 18, 2019 — Engagement Labs Inc. (TSXV: EL) is pleased to announce a new deal in support of its growth strategy with the signing of a key new UK client. The deal is with a major challenger bank in the UK to utilize TotalSocial® as its proprietary data and analytics platform for social intelligence. The total value of the contract is CAD $272,000 (£160,000) over the 16 months. The new client chose Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial platform to help the firm manage and improve its reputation, competitive intelligence and improve brand health. This is a new addition to Engagement Labs’ growing roster of financial industry clients in the UK and US markets. The Financial Sector is increasingly focused on customer centricity, and customer advocacy is increasingly important as a driver of growth in an evolving industry. TotalSocial helps financial services companies to create strategies and monitor performance against this objective. “We are very pleased and excited to add this bank brand to our roster of clients,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs. “Our Client understands well the importance of social influence data and analytics to drive enhanced marketing ROI and effectiveness, and has embraced TotalSocial for the value it can bring in providing a unique perspective on social engagement and its impact on its reputation and brand performance.” “Our Client recognizes the TotalSocial platform’s ability to help achieve its goals, including improved marketing ROI and growth in top line revenue” added Steven Brown, President & Chief Revenue Officer of Engagement Labs. “We have strong experience in the finance sector and I am particularly encouraged by our recent momentum in the UK, which is a strong harbinger for further growth for the company.” ### About Engagement Labs Engagement Labs (TSXV: EL) is an industry-leading data and analytics firm that provides social intelligence for Fortune 500 brands and companies. To learn more visit www.engagementlabs.com Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor IIROC accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. For media inquiries please contact: Vanessa Lontoc / Ed Keller, CEO Engagement Labs email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Offline Conversations Rise, Stay PositiveNike and its spokesman Colin Kaepernick generated only modest social media fireworks over the July 4th holiday when Nike canceled plans to sell a commemorative sneaker featuring the 13-star “Betsy Ross flag.” The company was reacting to Kaepernick’s allegation that Nike’s use of the Revolutionary era flag celebrated a time when black Americans were enslaved. Kaepernick, of course, is the pro-football-player-turned-social-justice-activist who Nike began featuring in advertising last September, lauding him for risking his career in the National Football League to stand up against the abuse of African Americans by the criminal justice system. The launch of the campaign in September prompted a massive, negative reaction in social media, although it ultimately led to rising sales and stock price because the extreme rise in brand engagement was more impactful than the negative sentiment of brand critics.
The negative reaction in social media over the July 4th holidays looks similar to what we measured in the TotalSocial platform last September. Negative comments about the brand during the first two weeks of July completely offset positive ones, leading to a “net sentiment” score near zero. But there is a difference. While the volume of engagement this time around is double the usual discussion about Nike online, last fall the increase was more than 20 times the usual level. Possibly the novelty of Nike’s Kaepernick campaign has worn off and consumers are taking his views more in stride.
Nike’s Sentiment in Social Media Turns Negative AgainIn “real life,” the offline conversation about Nike is following a different pathway, something we often see when comparing online and offline conversation trends. By the second week of July, the volume of conversation about Nike had risen to 108 million conversational “impressions” per week, reflecting the number of people exposed to a face-to-face or voice-to-voice conversation about the brand. That’s up 12% compared to the last week of June and the third highest level in a year. Also, the sentiment about the brand remained highly positive and in line with past year average. Nike’s decision to recall the July 4th shoe does not appear to have turned into a major public relations disaster. On the other hand, the muted reaction probably means there won’t be a lot of upside either, as the company enjoyed when it took the truly controversial step of making Kaepernick the face of Nike.
Nationwide Building Society, the venerable British mutual bank, continues to have the strongest consumer conversations among financial institutions in the United Kingdom, based on our TotalSocial® platform that monitors both online and offline consumer conversations about brands. But upstart First Direct, established in 1989, has moved into second place, replacing Barclays Bank, which traces its roots to the late Seventeenth Century. Every year Engagement Labs releases TotalSocial rankings of the top brands in the U.S., by category, based on consumer conversations that happen both online and offline. Now in partnership with Kantar Analytics in the United Kingdom, we are presenting the UK brands Top 10 Ranker, beginning with beauty and personal care and now moving on to financial brands. The ranking is based on TotalSocial data and analytics, which continuously measures the most important drivers of brand performance in both face-to-face and social media conversations. The brands in the Top 10 have earned the highest TotalSocial scores in the category for the last six months, compared to its previous ranking for the same period in 2018. As a category, financial brands perform well below average for brands overall, mainly due to low scores for “Net Sentiment,” which is based on the percent of positive conversations minus negative ones. Yet it is Net Sentiment that helps the leaders stand out in their category. Nationwide, which has an overall score of 55.9, earns a 71.2 for the Net Sentiment of offline conversations, higher than any of the other traditional financial companies. First Direct, which earns a 54.4 TotalSocial score overall does even better, at 84.8, for offline Net Sentiment. The TotalSocial system scores all brands on a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 being average across all categories for any metric. Previous number-two brand Barclays has plummeted to number eight on the list with a score of 42.2. The decline is a result of Barclays advertising being less effective at generating conversations, and because fewer online influencers are talking about the brand, which dates back to 1690 when influence was limited to a ruling class. The other major declining brand is Aviva, a modern sounding bank that dates back nearly as far as Barclays, in 1696; Aviva has dropped 5 positions on the ranker, from fourth to ninth. Modernity, however, is not a guarantee of relevance in contemporary conversations among consumers. In addition to First Direct, the rising brands on the list include traditional brands NatWest and Halifax—in third and fifth place, respectively, as well as the modern banking brand Virgin Money, ranked seventh. Competitors would do well to study how the two leading brands have earned such positive conversations in a category that often invites disapproval. Since its founding, First Direct has earned consumer love it by explicitly running against the category as an “unexpected bank” that has “no branches.” In recent months, much of the positive online conversation about First Direct has been generated by the bank’s sponsorship of the Northern Ballet’s Victoria and Dracula. Nationwide’s gains come from a more traditional source. The bank enjoyed a net gain of more new customers in the first three months of 2019 largely due to offering high interest rates on bank deposits. Engagement Labs has entered a partnership with Kantar Analytics that provides rights to sell the TotalSocial® platform in the UK. To learn more about Kantar and TotalSocial and how to increase your brand’s word of mouth in real life and online, request a complimentary briefing and demo.
Yet Offline Conversation Remains Immune to Online DramaWe’ve been writing about the large differences between consumer conversations that happen online and offline, as measured by the Engagement Labs TotalSocial® platform. It’s hard to find an example more extreme than the Twitter “beef” involving the Perdue Chicken brand that erupted in late June between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus. For the week ending July 7, Perdue still had an impressive offline sentiment score of 85.7 (out of a possible 100) versus an online score of 0, one of the biggest sentiment gaps we’ve seen between conversations online and offline. As part of a long-running feud between the two pop stars, Minaj name-called Cyrus a “Perdue Chicken,” the precise meaning of which remains unclear. The result was a dramatic rise in online media mentions of the Perdue brand to nearly 15,000 per week versus the usual of fewer than 100. Unfortunately, the tone of those conversations was rather negative.
Minaj’s Name-Check Prompted a Surge in Perdue’s Online ConversationsTrying to make the best of things, Perdue’s marketing team gamely interjected “thanks for the mention @NICKIMINAJ, but we don’t know nothing about beef.” Despite the clever reply, onlinenet sentiment for the brand sank for two consecutive weeks. But importantly, offline net sentiment did not seriously veer off its steady upward march dating back to early January. In fact, Perdue’s online net sentiment has been volatile for an entire year—hitting stratospheric heights this spring and last summer, while hitting a sharp low in January, during a major recall of Perdue Chicken Nugget products.
Perdue’s Sentiment More Volatile Online than OfflineThat January product recall incident was the one time when both online and offline sentiment moved significantly in the same direction, while volume also rose. The lesson seems to be that when online brand conversations move sharply in a negative direction due to pop culture dust-ups or politics—as we have seen repeatedly during the Trump era—brands are rarely hurt in a durable way. But when social media outrages are related to a brand’s real-world performance—such as product recalls, customer service errors, or appearing to prioritize profits over people—then brands face more serious risks. As we’ve shown in the MIT Sloan Management Review, online and offline conversations can have a major impact on brand sales, but online and offline are rarely correlated. That’s why it’s so important for brands to mindful of all types of conversations—online and offline—in order to separate the signal from the noise of social media. Find out More, Sign Up for a TotalSocial Briefing
Every year Engagement Labs releases TotalSocial® rankings of the top brands in the U.S., by category, based on consumer conversations that happen both online and offline. Now in partnership with Kantar Analytics in the United Kingdom, we are presenting the UK brands Top 10 ranker, beginning with beauty and personal care. The ranking, which is unique in that it combines offline and online consumer conversations, is based on Engagement Labs’ proprietary TotalSocial data and analytics, which continuously measures the most important drivers of brand performance in both face-to-face and social media conversations. The brands in the Top 10 have earned the highest TotalSocial scores in the category for the last six months, compared to its previous ranking for the same period in 2018. In the beauty category, LUSH is the highest performing brand, with a score of 67, despite a decision in mid-April to shut down its own social media pages in the UK, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. The decision came in the last two weeks of the period covered by this ranking, impacting just the online “Brand Sharing” score for the brand, which is based on owned social pages. LUSH will be challenged to maintain its high ranking in the future, despite extremely high scores for the sentiment of consumer-generated online and offline conversations, as well as the engagement of everyday influencers with the brand. The LUSH brand has generated conversations through sometimes dramatic choices that risk a negative backlash. In 2018 the brand generated negative conversations by using marketing to criticize police for undercover investigation tactics, whereas this year it provoked more positive discussion of a decision to stop using eggs in its products. These choices may reflect a brand keenly focused on the ethical concerns of Generation Z consumers, as we reported last year. Currently, the brand has exceptionally high “net sentiment” scores reflecting lots of positive talk both online and offline, and very few negative conversations (see below).
LUSH Brand Scores Very High on Sentiment and Influence, Online and OfflineThe second ranked brand, The Body Shop, is also very socially conscious. Dropping from first to second on the list, the British beauty retailer has redefined its brand purpose by emphasizing activism part of its brand strategy, as exemplified by pop ups celebrating female empowerment.The campaign that coincided with International Women’s Day featuring free makeovers, facials, massages and hair-braiding. The Nivea brand, also trying its hand at social marketing, made it to the third spot on the ranker. The brand launched a couple of notable campaigns. First, the debut of Mr. Sun mascot in partnership with Cancer Research UK encouraged the use of sunscreen when out and about at home. Second the “The Man Who Changes Mondays” featuring the Euston tube station announcer. The brand unveiled a new strapline, #ShareTheCare, to bring the concept of care beyond its skin products and into the real world. However, the brand also suffered a lot of negative conversations, mainly online, when a young woman criticized the brand for poor product labeling after she suffered a severe allergic reaction to nut oils in a Nivea lip balm.
Nivea Brand Took a Hit in Online Sentiment Over Labeling and a Nut Allergy IncidentThe biggest falloff goes to Simple dropping 13 points and out of the top 10 from previous period, likely related to inactivity on its brand social pages. The brand is now ranked 20th in the United Kingdom for beauty and personal care, down from seventh. Meantime, two Unilever brands, Dove and Lynx, have jumped dramatically up the list, now ranked at 7th and 8th, respectively. Kantar Analytics has a licensing agreement for the exclusive rights to sell Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial® platform in the United Kingdom. To learn more about Kantar TotalSocial and how to increase your brand’s word of mouth in real life and online, request a complimentary briefing and demo.
https://www.quirks.com/articles/the-social-side-of-brick-and-mortar-retail. Click here to open as a PDF. 📄 When marketers today hear the word “social” or ponder what it takes to be a social brand, they usually think about online media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. But America’s physical, brick-and-mortar retail stores are extremely social places, too, and provide marketers with myriad social marketing opportunities. According to data from Engagement Labs, nearly 900 million times every week somebody in America is in a conversation about brands while in a store. That’s more than three times per week for every American adult and these in-store conversations can be pivotal in helping consumers decide which brand they pull off retail shelves, given their proximity to the actual purchase decision. While private homes are the overwhelmingly dominant location of consumer conversations, at 69 percent of the total, over 6 percent of all such conversations happen in stores, nearly as many conversations that happen at work (8 percent). Our firm’s TotalSocial platform has been measuring online and offline consumer conversations and their impact on business for more than a decade. Three quarters of in-store conversations happen face-to-face, whether with a shopping companion, a store employee or stranger. One in five happen over the phone (13 percent) or via text message (7 percent), perhaps reflecting a “phone-a-friend” instinct when faced with a tricky choice in a shopping aisle. Another 4 percent happen by social media or e-mail. Face-to-face conversations are more prevalent among women, while men are more apt to use social media and e-mail while in store. Our analytics, published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, show that 19 percent of all consumer purchases are driven by brand conversations, with the greatest impact in the two weeks prior to purchase. Half of this impact comes from offline conversations and half from online discussions in social media. Given the physical proximity of real-world, in-store conversations to purchase decisions, they are especially valuable to marketers. (TotalSocial incorporates online and offline conversation data on more than 500 U.S. brands. For the analysis presented here, we analyzed data for 12 months ending February 2019. Offline conversation data are collected through a continuous online survey among a representative sample of consumers ages 13 to 69 from whom we measure daily word-of-mouth conversations about brands across a range of categories. The platform also combines these data with social media conversations collected through keyword searches of Twitter, public Facebook posts, blogs, forums and consumer review sites.) Of course, the value of in-store conversations is much greater for those categories that tend to be purchased in physical retail stores. Just four categories account for more than half of all in-store conversations: retail/apparel (17 percent), beverages (14 percent), food/dining (12 percent) and beauty (11 percent). When compared to all other conversations (Figure 1), beauty and apparel conversations are twice as prevalent in-store versus in other locations. Household and children’s products also stand out as getting much more attention in-store rather than elsewhere. Categories like technology, automotive, sports, travel and financial services get far less discussion in-store. Some of these – sports, media, travel, and financial – make sense given how and where purchases occur. But technology brands would probably like to be at the center of more conversations that happen in stores, since retail locations are an important way for people to become familiar with the latest and greatest products. The brands that are most heavily represented in conversations at retail reflect the categories that perform best, with big emphasis on retailers themselves, apparel and footwear brands, beauty and various types of consumer packaged goods. The following brands are three times more prevalent in conversations that occur in-store versus all other conversations: Nordstrom, TRESemmé, Foot Locker, V8 and Dial. More than 40 brands get at least double the conversation in-store, compared to other locations, which means brand managers for these brands – and their competitors – either are or should be designing shopper marketing to maximize the in-store “social” opportunity. One pattern that stands out is that Procter & Gamble owns the most brands with six among the 40 most “social” in-store brands (Table 1), reflecting the company’s long-time commitment to award-winning shopper marketing. The P&G brands punching above their weight in in-store conversations include Charmin, Crest, Febreze, Mr. Clean, Gillette and Old Spice. As an example of P&G’s effective shopper marketing, the company won an Effie in 2017 for a program that featured a wide range of the company’s cleaning products, including Mr. Clean and Febreze, in Walgreens stores in “spring cleaning”-themed aisle endcaps. Unilever is in second place, with four brands among the top 40 – TRESemmé, Dove Men + Care, Axe and Suave – while Johnson & Johnson has three brands and PepsiCo and Nestle each have two.Originally published in Quirk’s June/July 2019 issue:
Influential consumersOne indicator of the value of in-store conversations is that they tend to occur among very influential consumers who have large social networks and regularly make recommendations. Influencers in the categories of food/dining, beverages, media/entertainment, technology and retail/apparel (Figure 2) are commonly found talking in stores about categories and brands, although that doesn’t mean these are the categories that come up in conversation while shopping. Based on our experience, a reason for influencers being prevalent in stores is it is the nature of influencers to be out and about, including at physical retail locations, and they are constantly seeking information including with people at retail settings. Because in-store conversations happen among influential people and close to purchase, marketers should be very motivated to drive more of them. But how to accomplish that at the critical “last mile” to purchase in brick-and-mortar stores? One obvious way is with in-store displays. About one in five in-store conversations (19.4 percent) relate to something they have seen in a store, more than any other marketing touchpoint and three times more frequently than in conversations happening elsewhere.Next most important are product packages themselves (7.4 percent) and coupons (7.1 percent). When designing campaigns, how many marketers are thinking of their in-store displays, packages and coupons as fodder for consumer conversations? Not many, we believe, which means there could be significant opportunity for marketers to drive up these numbers with more talk-worthy messaging (Figure 3). Our advice to marketers seeking to improve their shopper marketing is to challenge their agencies and in-house teams to add a new objective: to drive discussion and advocacy at retail. Thinking about retail stores as social hubs is in line with the trend toward experiential shopping. As e-commerce takes a bigger bite out of commodity-type purchases, the physical retail experience should be both enjoyable and social. Here are some specific ideas first for brand marketers:
- Consider investing more in retail displays. These have always been highly valued because of their proximity to purchase but their value is increased by their ability to stimulate discussion among influential consumers, too.
- Messaging at retail should be talkable, rather than primarily about price promotions. Craft your message with language likely to stimulate a discussion. Is your brand advertising coordinated with your shopper marketing to tell the same story? Extend your story in the aisle and complete the narrative of your marketing, not just to sell products.
- Encourage social media posts by making your display fun to photograph and share.How about a display that makes it Instagram-worthy?
- Find opportunities to stimulate conversations at checkout or point of sale among strangers in line through video.
- Use personalization when possible through digital targeting strategies such as personalized coupons or promotions redeemable in-store only.
- Emphasize “shopping together” experiences. Provide coffee bars with seating and organize “singles” and “couples” shopping nights with special perks for participants. Is there an Instagrammable section at your store to make the experience shareable?
- Create and experiment with spaces at retail by creating community-driven spaces for customers. Why not launch a product sampling and demonstrations with full-blown performances and seating available?
- Use “attention shoppers” audio announcements to generate buzz. Invite the high school drama team to provide an in-store DJ who entertains and engages customers while bringing her friends.
- Train your staff to start conversations, especially about the products customers are buying. They can ask: “Have you tried this before? What did you like about it?” and fellow shoppers who may be listening may try and share too.
- Take some pointers from direct-to-consumer brands and use more digital elements to lure shoppers into the stores.
Tremendously socialNot every idea will be practical for all retailers and marketers but the point is shopping experiences are tremendously social and decisions about what to buy are being influenced by other people around us in the store. Indeed, the social experiences possible at retail could be one of the most important reasons for the relevance of bricks-and-mortar in the future.
The social side of brick-and-mortar retail
Tips for brands that want to boost their shareability on social media.Article ID: 20190609 Published: June/July 2019 Authors: When marketers today hear the word “social” or ponder what it takes to be a social brand, they usually think about online media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. But America’s physical, brick-and-mortar retail stores are extremely social places, too, and provide marketers with myriad social marketing opportunities. According to data from Engagement Labs, nearly 900 million times every week somebody in America is in a conversation about brands while in a store. That’s more than three times per week for every American adult and these in-store conversations can be pivotal in helping consumers decide which brand they pull off retail shelves, given their proximity to the actual purchase decision. While private homes are the overwhelmingly dominant location of consumer conversations, at 69 percent of the total, over 6 percent of all such conversations happen in stores, nearly as many conversations that happen at work (8 percent). Our firm’s TotalSocial platform has been measuring online and offline consumer conversations and their impact on business for more than a decade. Three quarters of in-store conversations happen face-to-face, whether with a shopping companion, a store employee or stranger. One in five happen over the phone (13 percent) or via text message (7 percent), perhaps reflecting a “phone-a-friend” instinct when faced with a tricky choice in a shopping aisle. Another 4 percent happen by social media or e-mail. Face-to-face conversations are more prevalent among women, while men are more apt to use social media and e-mail while in store. Read the full Quirk’s article, here.
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Lately, we’ve been reporting numerous instances of brands being drawn into political controversies and experiencing nasty blow-ups in social media, although online outrage has rarely translated to real-world anger. That’s what makes the social response to Pride Month this year somewhat surprising. By mid-month, none of 16 prominent brands promoting Pride campaigns is experiencing a major backlash, either in social media, or in real-world conversations that happen across the dinner table, at the water cooler, or over a backyard fence. The implication is that LGBT issues may not be as controversial as they once were, now 50 years after the Stonewall riot that sparked the modern gay-rights movement. The recent pattern has been that brands engaging in politically fraught issues such as gun control, black lives matter, and the #metoo movement experience big, negative hits in social media that rarely crossover to real-world conversations. We saw this with Dick’s Sporting Goods, Citibank, and Delta on the gun issue and with Gillette when it took a stand against the “boys will be boys” culture. Nike got beaten up both online and offline for promoting Colin Kaepernick’s “black lives matter” campaign, but ultimately gained from higher brand engagement within the Nike target market. Yet the 16 brands tracked in our TotalSocial® platform that are actively promoting LGBT support for Pride Month are faring well, both online and offline. When we plotted the TotalSocial scores for those brands over the six months ending June 16, the result looks more like a Pride rainbow flag blowing in the wind, as opposed to a consistently up or down trend. Drilling down into the detailed metrics reveals some interesting case studies. Probably the most positive reaction any brand received during Pride month is Smirnoff, the vodka brand, which has organized a multi-faceted campaign involving “LGBTQIA influencers,” limited edition packaging, and plans for a central role in the biggest Pride parade, in New York City. Smirnoff and its parent, Diageo, are touting their perfect 100 score for being an LGBT-friendly workplace. Smirnoff’s offline and especially online sentiment shot upward in June with the launch of the brand’s “Welcome Home” campaign featuring Laverne Cox. Meantime, another beverage brand, Bud Light, has made a major commitment to Pride Month with a special edition aluminum “rainbow bottle.” While positive net sentiment hasn’t changed much, Bud Light has generated much higher volumes of weekly conversations about the brand, reaching 26 million per week the first week of June, versus 19 million before the announcement of the rainbow bottles. Indeed, Pride Month is producing the highest level of conversation about Bud Light since the recent Super Bowl. A third brand, Gillette, may be happy with very little change, either online or offline, in response to a Pride Month commercial that features a father teaching his trans son to shave for the first time. Just a few month ago, the brand was on the receiving end of a social media backlash against a commercial that spoke to men about the importance of being respectful of women. The message to brands is that acceptance of gays, lesbians, and other gender non-conforming consumers does not carry the same level of risk that other politically and social sensitive issues carry. That’s a big change in a short period of time. At age 50, the modern LGBT movement has accomplished a great deal in the spheres of politics, the law, and family life. We can add to that list a significant measure of acceptance in the national conversation, both online and offline.
MONTREAL, Quebec — June 17, 2019 – Engagement Labs Inc. (TSXV:EL) (the “Company”) announces that further to its press release dated June 14, 2019, the Company granted 1,200,000 stock options to two officers of the Company. The stock options have an exercise price of $0.06 per share and a term of five years. ### About Engagement Labs Engagement Labs (TSXV: EL) is an industry-leading data and analytics firm that provides social intelligence for Fortune 500 brands and companies. To learn more visit www.engagementlabs.com Disclaimer in regard to Forward-looking Statements Certain statements included herein constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management at this time, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, Engagement Labs does not intend, and undertakes no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements to reflect, in particular, new information or future events. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. For media inquiries please contact: Vanessa Lontoc / Ed Keller, CEO Engagement Labs email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org