- off-the-court generosity toward the family of a teenager killed at the Parkland, FL shooting
- supporting a family that lost everything in a house fire
- helping a young woman who needed help with college tuition
- being a role model to a young man who needed it
- sticking by his mother while she spent time in prison for “going down the wrong path”
ONLINE MENTIONS OF BUDWEISER HIGHER THAN DURING RECENT SUPER BOWL WEEKEven more impressive, Budweiser’s online net sentiment—positive minus negative comments about the brand online—rose to the highest level ever measured for the brand we have ever measured. In fact, for the week ending April 14, 2019, Budweiser had the highest online net sentiment we have measured in a year for any beer brand! In social media, Budweiser’s tribute to Dwyane Wade generated remarkable levels of brand love.
BUDWEISER’S ONLINE SENTIMENT AT HIGHEST LEVEL IN THREE YEARSThe reaction on social media has involved incredible levels of content sharing, much greater than what Budweiser experienced during the recent Super Bowl. On YouTube the Wade commercial has been viewed nearly 5 million times by late April. Engagement Labs has a metric called brand sharing, which measures the degree to which people are sharing the brand’s content on social media or talking about the brand’s advertising in offline conversations. Both the online and offline brand sharing metrics have shot up to their highest levels in three years, suggesting the Wade video has been an enormous driver of engagement.
BUDWEISER ‘BRAND SHARING’ LEVELS AT RECORD LEVELS, ONLINE AND OFFLINEAll of this matters for Budweiser because, as we’ve written in the MIT Sloan Management Review, research shows that both online and offline conversations drive purchases. But to achieve success in driving those conversations, brands need to think beyond paid television advertisingand tell compelling stories, as Budweiser did with Dwyane Wades’ assist. What’s Dwyane Wade going to do after his basketball retirement? We suspect he’s taking more than a few meetings with the nation’s leading marketers. SIGN ME UP TotalSocial Briefing
TOXIC MASCULINITY CAMPAIGN DROVE GILLETTE’S NEGATIVE SENTIMENT ONLINE BUT NOT OFFLINESimilarly, after Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would stop selling assault rifles and restrict other gun purchases, the reaction online was very negative while the company received a much more positive offline reaction. Across a list of nearly 600 brands we measure continuously in the US, we find that net sentiment—positive conversations minus negative ones—are barely correlated to each other on a week-to-week basis. The trend correlation is about zero, on average, as we have reported in the MIT Sloan Management Review. At the same time, these two data streams both matter, because together they drive 19% of consumer purchases, on average. For the most recent 12 months, many brands in our database have extremely different rankings among nearly 600 brands tracked, depending on whether the conversation is happening online or offline. For example, the Golden Corral restaurant chain is ranked very high in terms of positive offline conversation sentiment, at number 45, putting it in the top 10% of the brands measured. At the same time, Golden Corral is ranked in the bottom 10%, at number 528 in social media, due to having quite negative online sentiment, as indicated in the table below. What accounts for this big difference? In face-to-face conversations about the brand, the consumers primarily talk about the quality of the Golden Corral customer experience—the food, the buffet, the enjoyment, and so on. But the online discussion is mostly related to Golden Corral being an advertiser on the Fox News Channel, and to related criticism and boycotts by a small but digitally vocal slice of consumers. As The New York Times has reported, these social media users are not representative of the broader population. The difference can also be shown graphically in the chart below, called a TotalSocial® TalkScan, revealing very strong offline sentiment compared to very low online sentiment. The opposite situation is found for the American Family Insurance brand. For this brand, the net sentiment online is ranked number 3 among all 574 brands—the top 1%—while offline net sentiment is ranked at number 481, placing it in the bottom 20% of all brands. Why? The low offline sentiment performance of American Family is quite typical of insurance companies, including GEICO, Aetna, MetLife, Allstate. Generally, the insurance category is at a disadvantage—a lot of insurance conversations happen when somebody is sick or injured or made homeless by a disaster—and thus conversations are not particularly positive. Indeed, insurance is about spending money on a product you hope you never use. Yet American Family has been very successful in driving positive online conversations in response to its philanthropic efforts, particularly its Dream Foundation grant program and a related #DreamFearlessly hashtag. These efforts have dominated the positive online discussion about American Family insurance. Many other brands, including Pillsbury, Kaiser Permanente, Body Shop, Windex, Frigidaire, and Ruby Tuesday all have very different sentiment results online versus offline, reinforcing the idea that brands can’t just focus on readily accessible social media trends to understand the health of their brands and reputations. The answer is not to ignore social media, which we have proven is often an important driver of business results. But we can’t generalize from social media to the population as a whole. Rather, marketers and corporate communications professionals need a holistic approach that considers both the digital and the analog consumer reaction that together drive 1 in 5 purchases. As we like to say, the goal for optimizing business performance is to make every conversation count! SIGN ME UP TotalSocial Briefing
But in social media, beverage brands are merely 1.8% of all conversations. The share of conversation online is just 11% of the share they get offline, the worst ratio of any category measured.Other categories with big shortfalls in social media are household and beauty products, supermarkets, health, and food, all categories that receive in social media less than 30% of the attention they earn in face-to-face conversations. One key reason for this is that three categories—technology, media, and sports, get massively larger shares of social media discussions as they do offline conversations. Sports—teams, leagues, etc.—get eight times as many conversations online as offline. Media brands—TV shows, networks, movies, etc.—get seven times the share online as offline. And technology brands—such as Apple, Samsung, and Sony—get 41% greater share of conversations online compared to offline. The surplus of sports and media category conversations make sense because social media, after all, are media, and increasingly platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become distribution systems for news and entertainment. Every other category, including retail, travel, finance, telecom, and restaurants, get a smaller share of conversations online compared to offline. While people love widely sharing family celebrations and cute household pet videos, consumers are less motivated to share personal finances, favorite condiments, and preferred supermarkets—the ordinary stuff of our lives as consumers. These are conversations more likely to occur face to face or voice to voice. Research by Engagement Labs recently published in the MIT Sloan Management Review shows that both online and offline conversations are important drivers of purchase. On average, 19% of all purchases are driven by conversations, including 10% driven by offline conversations and 9% by online ones. For beverages, the total impact is higher, 22% driven by conversations of both kinds, but the ratio is 13% offline to 9% online. Despite big volume shortfalls in social media, online discussions still an important role in driving purchases even for categories like beverages where the share of online conversation is tiny. The reason is that social media give conversations can be seen by hundreds and sometimes thousands of consumers, whereas offline conversations are usually just among a few close friends or family members. Thus, brands in every category must have a TotalSocial® strategy that includes both offline and digital brand engagement. But too many brands are focusing exclusively on social media to spur social engagement and recommendations for their brands, and that’s a one-sided strategy unlikely to succeed, particularly for grocery staples that are more often talked about over a kitchen table than on Facebook or Twitter. Academic research has found that offline conversations about brands are principally about “emotional sharing,” and focus on everyday products and services. By comparison, social media discussions tend to be about “social signaling,” or wanting to demonstrate one’s superior knowledge and expertise about exciting new products or services. For marketers of packaged goods, that means it’s very important to be stimulating and listening to the conversations that happen in the relative privacy of our homes, automobiles, and workplaces. Every marketer should be thinking beyond social media, but that’s especially true in the categories for which social media discussions fall short of the share that occurs offline. Our advice to marketers: Mind the gap between online and offline conversations.
ONLY FACEBOOK FAILS TO QUALIFY AS A “CONVERSATION COMMANDER”Consequently, Facebook falls into the “Whisper Brand” category due to the very negative sentiment of both kinds of conversation, making the largest social media platform a more attractive target for aggressive oversight. Though Amazon and Facebook perform very differently in consumer conversations, they have one thing in common. Both brands suffered extreme declines in positive conversations in April 2018. Facebook’s online conversations became much more negative and less positive as it was revealed that the company allowed the marketing agency Cambridge Analytica access to private data on some 50 million Facebook users, as part of the 2016 Presidential Election. Soon after, President Trump drove down net sentiment for Amazon by criticizing on the company over its ownership of the Washington Post and the deal it struck with the US Postal Service for delivering Amazon packages.
FACEBOOK CONSISTENTLY HAS THE LEAST POSITIVE CONVERSATIONS IN SOCIAL MEDIAFor Amazon, the negative downturn was short-lived and confined to social media. For Facebook, however, both online and offline conversations suffered, and both streams of conversations have remained quite negative since.
ONLY FACEBOOK HAS SUFFERED A DOWNTURN IN OFFLINE CONVERSATION SENTIMENT
The pattern recently repeated itself for Amazon, as social media conversations have soured since founder Jeff Bezos revealed he was in a battle with the publisher of the National Enquirer over salacious photos related to an affair and resulting divorce. Offline conversations have stayed highly positive, a common pattern we’ve seen in our politically charged era. Why has Facebook consistently under-performed in conversations against its big tech rivals? One factor is simply being the biggest social media platform, and thus a lightning rod to criticism. But Google is the biggest in Search, and Amazon is the biggest in eCommerce. Consumers are not automatically against “bigness,” which is something for political candidates to bear in mind. Besides its market dominance, Facebook has been repeatedly in the news for failures to protect data, for a lack of candor over its impact on the 2016 election, and, most recently, for allegedly criminal behavior in its sharing of private user data with big business partners. Thus, Facebook is really in a different category than other “big tech,” companies, and consumer conversations reflect that fact. If Senator Warren gets her way and a big-tech break-up materializes, Amazon, Google, and Apple will have reason to blame Facebook as the black sheep of the four horsemen of the digital economy.
Eric Reynolds, the Chief Marketing Officer of Clorox Company, is imagining a very different future for marketing—where marketing campaigns rely on “getting the right people to have the right conversations.”Continue reading “Clorox CMO Advocates for Conversations at the Center of the Future of Marketing”
Amazon has been dominating holiday shopping—and the holiday shopping conversation—for years. But this year might be different.Continue reading “Amazon Is Vulnerable This Black Friday”