The following is a transcript of Ed Keller’s thoughtful acceptance speech at his induction into the Marketing Research Council’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, Keller was also elected to the Word of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). Chartered in 1927, the Market Research Council is the oldest and one of the most prestigious market research organizations in the world. The MRC Hall of Fame annually recognizes outstanding marketing research professionals since 1977 celebrating leaders such as Arthur Nielsen, David Ogilvy and Burns Roper.
Part 3: 28 Brands That Join a Select List, Commanding Both Online and Offline ConversationThis is the final installment of a three-part series on “Conversation Commanders.” These are the select few brands that excel at both offline and online conversation. It’s not an easy feat, but highly beneficial to those that are able to do so. Here we feature those that have risen this year to Conversation Commander status. If you’ve missed Part 1 or Part 2, brands that have been Conversation Commanders last year and this year, give them a quick read! Brands earning lots of positive consumer conversation in social media can’t count on doing the same in everyday offline conversation, as Engagement Labs analytics have proven again and again for more than a decade. We find no consistent relationship between online and offline conversation trends for brands. Nevertheless, 76 brands out of more than 650 measured manage to succeed both online and offline, earning the designation of a “Conversation Commander.” Among these brands, 28 achieved that designation just recently, during the COVID era, replacing 37 brands that have dropped out of the top classification. One key example of a rising brand is the Disney+ streaming service, a brand that is less than a year old, meaning it didn’t have a chance to be a Conversation Commander a year ago. Even so, Disney+ is now one of the strongest leaders both online and offline. On a 0-100 scale, Disney+ clocks in at a 73.1 for offline conversation performance, the highest among the new Conversation Commanders. It also earns a 58.4 for social media performance. The other brand making the biggest leap into the Conversation Commander category also is a media brand: HGTV. Thanks to a dramatic rise in both offline and online net sentiment, reflecting much more positive conversation, HGTV is now one of the strongest conversation brands in Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial® measurement system. The HGTV brand has benefited from the new focus of consumers on home and garden improvement, the focus of programming on HGTV. Outside of the media category, many other brands are gaining thanks to successful programs they have launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. GEICO is a case in point. The brand moved sharply upward into the Conversation Commander quadrant thanks to dramatic improvements—both online and offline—in sentiment and “influence,” meaning well-connected people were talking about the brand. It is the only financial services brand to earn Conversation Commander status. A likely reason is during the pandemic GEICO announced it would rebate 15% of customers premiums due to the rapid decline in auto accidents, for a total of $2.5 billion in rebates. The rebates were promoted in heartwarming, pandemic-themed commercials, including one that has been watched by more than 10 million people on YouTube. Budweiser is the only brand in the beverage category to hold the Conversation Commander status for 2019 and 2020. Samuel Adams is the only other beer brand to move into the Conversation Commander for 2020 while many beer brands—Bud Light, Coors Light, Blue Moon, and Miller—have dropped out of that top right quadrant due to the closure of bars and restaurants where lots of conversations about beer occur. Sam Adams has done it by adapting their “Your Cousin from Boston” series of commercials to the COVID era with commercials depicting Zoom calls among friends. The brand also has launched an economic relief program for restaurant workers unemployed by the pandemic. Although Samuel Adams remains one of the less frequently talked about brands in our TotalSocial system, the conversations about the brand are even more positive than before, especially offline conversations, and more of them are being stimulated by Sam Adams advertising and marketing. Despite steep declines in the purchases of automobiles during the pandemic, Hyundai has become a Conversation Commander by improving both online and offline net sentiment. The company has been especially proactive in offering COVID programs to customers, including its job loss protection program that was first offered during the 2009 financial crises and donations for COVID testing. The brand also gained positive sentiment in April when it launched an Earth Day social media campaign with the K-pop group BTS in support of its new electric vehicles. One impact of the pandemic has been increasing consumer engagement in basic product categories often taken for granted. Some of the fastest rising conversation volumes during the pandemic have been registered for household products such as Clorox and Lysol, and supermarkets like Kroger. Fitting that pattern, the Huggies brand from Kimberly Clark has moved into the Conversation Commander category. The brand has benefited from the new focus on necessities, and the brand has been responsive to the pandemic by donating 5 million diapers and $1 million in funds to economically strapped families. Consumer conversation trends provide brands with an indication of the underlying strength of their brands at a time when consumer purchases are depressed by the pandemic, particularly in non-essential categories. Brands that have responded most effectively to the pandemic through changes in products, messaging, and marketing should be in the best position to rebound once the economy returns to normal. Importantly, brands need to remember that social media alone cannot provide a holistic perspective on their performance, given the lack of correlation between online and offline conversation. A TotalSocial perspective is vital during these difficult times. And knowing that online and offline each drive positive business outcomes such as sales and brand health, it is a strategy that will reward those who succeed.
Part 2: Five Brands that Excel at Both Online and Offline Social EngagementLast week we talked about the 45 brands that achieved strong performance both offline and online, placing them among the top 10% of all brands we measure. Their ability to activate consumer engagement via both channels is powerful and drives millions of dollars to their topline. These brands that command consumer conversations achieve “social success” through a variety of methods. To illustrate that point, we’ve selected five brands that were “Conversation Commanders” before the pandemic and remain so in 2020.
Amazon: Commanding the Conversation, Online & OfflineAmazon gets a lot of attention for dominating the retail landscape, particularly during the pandemic. It also is a commander of the American consumer conversation. Amazon is the third most talked about brand offline—behind only Apple and Walmart—and the seventh most talked about online. Since the pandemic struck, Amazon’s volume has risen both offline and online. The chart below shows scores of between 0 and 100 on four dimensions—volume, net sentiment, “brand sharing,” and “influence.” Each of those dimensions is measured in offline conversations and in online social media. The scores are derived to compare a brand’s performance on a metric to nearly 650 other brands performed. A score of 100 is the maximum, 50 is about average, and 0 is the lowest possible score. Despite Amazon being a brand of the digital economy, it performs more strongly in everyday, offline conversations than it does in social media, with an overall offline score of 75.2 and an online score of 56.4. This pattern is particularly evident when it comes to the net sentiment of conversations, for which Amazon scores much higher offline (70.2) than online (44). Indeed, for every dimension measured, Amazon’s offline score is higher than the corresponding online score, despite the brand’s enormous online footprint. This is consistent with a pattern we have seen throughout the growth of the digital economy. Increasingly, consumers talk offline about the things they see and experience online. It’s long past time to think in terms of two separate worlds, digital and analog. Powered by mobile technology, the two worlds are almost fully blended now for consumers; they should be for brands, as well.
Vans: A Beloved Youth Brand Earning Conversations with ContentSeveral athletic shoe brands are Conversation Commanders, including Nike and Adidas, thanks to highly successful efforts to make themselves the centers of conversation and the larger culture. We have written previously about Nike, in particular. The Vans shoe brand has also achieved Conversation Commander status while being deeply imbedded in a more niche culture: youth skateboarding. As proof of the brand’s targeted focus, a recent commercial includes the comment, “Everything is so much better when you are like, young.” They’ve remained a youth brand despite being around for more than five decades, having achieved notoriety in 1982 when a young Sean Penn donned a pair of Vans in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The focus on youth means the conversation is really limited to people under 30 years of age, producing relative low “volume” scores for Vans, in contrast to Amazon or Nike. It’s difficult to generate a lot of conversation when you are just speaking to a slice of the consumer market. But, those who talk about the brand love it. The brand has extremely high net sentiment scores for conversations occurring both offline (72.6) and online (72.9), with an 18-pt increase in online sentiment, compared to last year. One thing that has changed in recent months is the amount of “brand sharing” related to Vans. Consumers talking offline about Vans are increasingly likely to talk about advertising and other brand content they have seen, particularly digital content they talk about offline. The consequence is that the offline brand sharing score has jumped from the mid-range of 40-60 points up to a score of about 90 since early May, as shown in the chart below. The rise corresponds with pandemic and social-justice initiatives of the brand, including a campaign called “Foot the Bill” that has empowered 80 small businesses to generate revenue while closed during the pandemic by designing and selling custom Vans products.
Budweiser: Commanding Conversation, Even Without a Bar SceneBudweiser is the only beer brands that was a Conversation Commander one year ago and has remained so. Bud Light, Coors Light, Blue Moon, and Miller Beer have all dropped out of the Conversation Commander quadrant, while Samuel Adams has moved up. Budweiser performs most strongly on the online dimensions of brand sharing and sentiment, and the offline dimensions of sentiment and volume. The erosion of word-of-mouth for beer brands has occurred primarily in the offline conversation metrics, likely due to the loss of public bars and restaurants as places where people consume and naturally talk about beer brands, and also due to the sharp reduction in professional sports during the first few months of quarantine, which normally provide powerful advertising opportunities both on television and in arenas and which in turn drive conversation. Why has Budweiser retained its position? The main reason is that the brand’s offline sentiment has improved in recent months, rising to the top score among all beer brands during the first six months of the pandemic at 77.8. More recently, in July and August, the brand reached an offline net sentiment score of 89.3. The improvement is driven by its core demographics: affluent and middle-aged men. To what do we owe this love of the Budweiser brand? One part may be its association with the pandemic efforts of parent brand Anheuser-Busch, which converted some production to making hand sanitizer. The brand itself also reprised its 9-11 themed commercial in support of a nation dealing with a global pandemic. But another possibility may be that the pandemic has brought on a sense of nostalgia for the lifestyles and brands of days-gone-by, including the “king of beers” that in America dates back to the 1850s.
Food Network Rebounds with Renewed Focus on Home CookingMedia brands have a built-in advantage over other brands when it comes to driving conversations, because they are platforms for distributing engaging content that is meant to generate water cooler conversation and attract families to watch programs together. This is evident in the fact that media brands usually have high “brand sharing” scores, both online and offline, because of conversations generated by their content. The Food Network is an example of a media brand that has retained its status as a Conversation Commander—thanks to the pandemic. Over the prior year, the brand’s offline conversation levels had been steadily eroding, hitting a low point in December 2019. The fact is, Americans have been forced to rediscover their kitchens, making programming related to food and cooking relevant in a way it hasn’t been for at least a generation. The Food Network’s strongest measure is online “brand sharing,” ranking among the top 20 among all brands with a score of 80.6, thanks to its enormous popularity on Facebook. The brand also enjoys a lot of love offline (sentiment score of 77.9) and online (73.7). It also scores very well among everyday influencers with lots of social contacts, both offline (78.4) and online (75.8). Food Network’s only below-average score is offline conversation, an area that has improved recently, but could easily return as a problem once lifestyles change again.
Sephora: A Consistent Top Performer in Beauty but with Cautionary SignalsSephora has been a standout performer in the retail and beauty categories, as evidenced by the brand’s performance in TotalSocial over the years. The brand was and remains a Conversation Commander, but that status may be at risk. In the last six months, the brand performed enormously well on offline metrics such as offline sentiment (69.5), offline influence (69.2), and offline brand sharing (67.3), meaning consumers like to talk about its marketing and advertising content. Yet the brand’s offline sentiment has started to erode quite sharply toward the end of August, falling from consistent scores of nearly 80 to below 50. The drop in offline sentiment follows months after several sharp drops in online sentiment in the wake of large scale layoffs that produced embittered employees and negative publicity. The biggest declines in sentiment have occurred among younger, lower income, and non-white consumers who may be the most likely to relate to Sephora employees. Yet another factor may be shifting needs, with work-from-home trends during the pandemic reducing the relevance of beauty products. The decline in sentiment was more than 50 points among those “completely” staying home due to the pandemic. While we often see online and offline trends operate independently of each other, Sephora may be a case where initial negative sentiment online foreshadowed what was to come in offline conversations. We hope you will return to read the final installment of this series with brands that have risen to Conversation Commander status in 2020 that were not there a year ago. We will profile what is driving these rising stars.
Part 1:45 Brands (Out of 650) Earned Conversation Commanders During 2019 and 2020Before consumers make buying decisions, they talk. Online AND Offline – through social media, product reviews, face-to-face or via Zoom, by text or IM, or via whatever channel – we all seek recommendations, feedback and validation in our choices of entertainment and products. These conversations, reviews and the counsel of our peers have enormous impact on consumer choices and thus on brands in terms of sales, brand health, and other KPIs. At Engagement Labs we have demonstrated that for most brands, there is little to no correlation between what gets talked about online in social media and what gets talked about offline. At the same time, our analytics have also demonstrated that offline and online each contribute about equally to business outcomes. Across a market basket of brands, offline WOM drives 10% of sales and online social media drives 9%. The clout of consumer conversation is real – and it is an imperative aspect of any marketing strategy today. Brands that achieve strong performance both offline and online are in an enviable position. Their ability to activate both offline and online engagement drives millions of dollars to their topline. We call these brands Conversation Commanders because of their commanding position both offline and online. Sadly, only a small percentage of brands really excel. But there is much to be learned from those who do. We have analyzed brands that achieved Conversation Commander status during the six months since COVID-19 hit and consumer behavior took a dramatic turn. We also looked at brands that were Conversation Commanders during the same six month a year prior. There are 45 brands (out of 650 studied) that were Conversation Commanders during both years. They have achieved enduring success and include some of the country’s most notable names that should make all brands aspire to the same position. These are the brands that we want to highlight – and celebrate – in this blog post. In addition, there are 30 brands that have risen to Conversation Commander status in 2020 that were not there a year ago. And 37 brands that were Conversation Commanders a year ago but lost their position in 2020. We will focus on those subsequently.
Brands that are Enduring Conversation CommandersWho are the brands that are Conversation Commanders now and were a year ago as well? They are some of the best-known brands in the country. Amazon is in the top 10, satisfying our shopping needs. So are Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, along with the Food Network and Nintendo, all helping to entertain us. Nike and Adidas too. Toyota. And Avon. Taking a look at the full list of 45, there is a diverse list that is led by media/entertainment brands, followed closely by retail/apparel and technology, but also includes a good representation from food/dining/grocery and beauty. The categories break down as follows:
How Do Offline and Online Performance Compare?Conversation Commanders are brands that are above average both offline and online. Across the full set of 45 that are featured here, performance is about equal both offline and online. But there are some notable differences, in particular brands that are relatively stronger offline versus online. For example, Amazon’s offline performance is +18.8 points stronger than its online performance, representing the largest gap and demonstrating that eCommerce can drive superior offline performance – there are no silos that constrain consumers. This is followed by Adidas (16.5), Toyota (15.2), Sephora (14.7), Nike (14.7), Oreo (11.2), and Apple Mac (10.3). What about the flip side, where online performance outperforms offline? Only Spotify has a double-digit differential, with a 14.3 point stronger online performance vs. offline. The rest of the top 5 that are stronger online are Kindle (9.9), MLB (9.5), NBA (7.5) and ESPN (7.2). The power of media and sports to drive online performance is evident here, remembering that these brands are also strong offline performers. Looked at another way, only two of the Conversation Commander brands earn top 10 honors in both the offline and online lists: Netflix and Food Network.
Change versus 2019: The Enduring Power of Disney World is on DisplayThe power of these Conversation Commanders can be seen in the consistency between 2019 and the very different and much more difficult 2020. Disney World received one of the top honors in our 2019 Most Loved Brands. Feeling the impact of Covid-19 that devasted so many travel brands, Disney World saw the biggest decline in its TotalSocial score, dropping 11.7 points — but it is a testament to its power as the “most magical place on earth” that despite the decline it nevertheless retained Conversation Commander status. MLB declined by 5.6 points, due a sharp decline in net sentiment as players and the league entered into acrimonious negotiations about how to open the MLB season; and Betty Crocker which declined by 5.3 points as a result of a sharp decline in our brand sharing metric, which is likely due to reduced ad spending during Covid-19 when demand for baking goods was high but in short supply. Amazon Prime Video was the biggest gainer among this group rising 6.2 points, followed by Vans (+5.9). None of the other brands that were Conversation Commanders in 2019 and 2020 rose or fell by more than 5 points.
Case StudiesBrands that command consumer conversations achieve “social success” through a variety of methods. To illustrate that point and provide insights into pathways to achieve Conversation Commander status, in next week’s blog we will profile five brands that were “Conversation Commanders” before the pandemic and remain so in 2020. This will include Amazon, Budweiser, Food Network, Sephora and Vans. We hope you will return to read this analysis.
A Tale of Two Retail Landscapes, as Pandemic Era Drives Big Offline Conversation Gains for Large Retailers of Necessities and Youth-Oriented eCommerce Sites, as Department and Specialty Stores SufferIt looks like the pandemic is producing a retail industry apocalypse with the bankruptcy and/or retrenchment of venerable retail brands from Brooks Brothers to Lord & Taylor and from Pier 1 Imports to JCPenney. Yet the offline conversation trends suggest we’re seeing a tale of two very different retail landscapes, as discount merchandisers, home centers, supermarkets, drug stores – and especially Amazon – are earning a lot more conversation from consumers. Consumer conversation trends—particularly offline conversations—provide a unique window into what’s happening in the marketplace, as the continuing pandemic has done nothing to reduce consumers’ enthusiasm for sharing opinions with each other about brands. Offline word-of-mouth is always an important part of the consumer decision journey, and especially during these times of rapid transition and change it helps consumers navigate their way through the new retail landscape. Across all brands and in a diverse set of fifteen categories tracked by Engagement Labs, retailers represent one-third of the brands gaining the most offline conversation this year, with Amazon the biggest winner among them. For the weeks between March and August 30th, Americans have participated in conversations about Amazon 137 million times per week on average, up 46 million from the prior year. Only Netflix has gained more conversation volume during the pandemic. Other big retail winners among the top 12 have been Target (up 19 million), Walmart (17 million), and Home Depot (16 million). Rising conversation patterns suggest that the purveyors of necessities such as food, cleaning products, and medicine are benefiting the most, along with “nest feathering” retailers such as Home Depot. Indeed, when you look at what has happened for different types of retailer companies, discount retailers are up the most, followed by hardware and home centers, supermarket chains, and athletic stores and brands, as many Americans have equipped themselves for individualized outdoor exercise and recreation such as bicycling, hiking, running, and walking. Supermarkets and drugstores have joined the upper echelon of word-of-mouth retail brands thanks to consumers’ increasing appreciation for brands that give us our daily bread, our milk, and our sanitizers. Kroger offline conversations are up 10.8 million impressions per week, or 38%, followed closely by CVS (up 8.4 million, 31%) and Walgreens (up 7.2 million, 23%). Starting from lower levels of conversation, the trendy supermarket brands Whole Foods (up 4.7 million, 49%) and Trader Joe’s (up 4.7 million, 36%) are up sharply. At the other extreme, we are seeing enormous declines in conversations about department stores, specialty stores, and apparel brands, consistent with the recently announced bankruptcies and closures of venerable brands such as Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, JCPenney, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Pier 1 Imports. A few retailers are gaining word-of-mouth against type. The China-based fast-fashion brand Shein has enjoyed a 3.8 million increase—fully 221%—in offline word-of-mouth conversation, thanks to an enormously popular eCommerce app favored by the talkative Generation Z. Similarly, the California-based Fashion Nova brand has seen conversations rise of 2.4 million during the pandemic, 160%, by focusing on a youth-oriented eCommerce strategy. And Brandy Melville, in the same niche, rose by 1.9 million conversation impressions, an increase of 275% from a year ago! Kohl’s has fared the worst in terms of offline conversation data volume, declining by almost 6 million weekly conversation impressions versus a year ago. Others losing conversation relevance include Forever 21, Old Navy, Sears, Barnes & Noble, and Hot Topic Music. Providing evidence of the importance of offline conversations, many of the brands enjoying big gains in their social media presence this year are brands that are doing poorly in offline conversations—and in terms of business performance. Several of the brands losing the most offline conversation have improved strongly in social media during the pandemic, including Michael Kors, Hot Topic, Dollar Tree, Forever 21, even the shuttered Toys R Us company. In some cases, the social media performance may be due to nostalgia and regret related to their closing and/or retrenching.
Amazon vs. Walmart vs. TargetThe rivalry among Amazon, Walmart, and Target are revealing to evaluate in the context of the pandemic. A year ago, Walmart enjoyed far more conversation volume compared to Amazon, with about 300 million weekly conversation impressions, versus less than 200 million per week for Amazon. But that gap has been steadily eroding, roughly cut in half. This shift provides a compelling argument for Walmart’s new Walmart Plus membership to compete with Amazon Prime, and Walmart’s courtship of TikTok in partnership with Microsoft. Although Target conversations are rising, the brand’s volume still lags both Amazon and Walmart by large margins. Walmart may still have an edge in offline conversation volume, but Amazon is way ahead in social media, with more than half a million weekly online mentions, roughly double Walmart’s. Yet these social media conversations haven’t risen to the extent that we see offline discussions growing. Besides the erosion of its lead in conversation volume, Walmart has another vulnerability. The net sentiment for Walmart consumer conversations has long been less positive for Walmart compared to either Amazon or Target, both of which are top tier among all retailers. Since the pandemic, that pattern has worsened for Walmart as conversation have shifted in a more negative direction, both offline and online. On an overall basis, retail category conversations are up slightly since the onset of the pandemic, but that shift belies enormous divergences in fortune, depending on the retail category and brand. Generally, discount general merchandisers, supermarket and drugstores, and ecommerce-focused brands are doing the best, while the department and specialty stores that have dominated indoor malls are way down. Yet there are exceptions for fast-fashion companies that have focused on young, app-based shoppers, suggesting that innovation propels brands forward even in the specialty apparel category that is struggling generally. The success these youth-oriented and online-focused brands are having in driving offline conversations also makes the important point that offline conversations will remain relevant and powerful as business drivers for generations to come.
It is August, which means back to school – whether that’s in person, virtually, or in hybrid mode. It is also a good time to see what brands resonate most with today’s young consumers – the so-called Gen Z. Two years ago we issued a white paper about Gen Z and noted that “Generation Z is widely recognized as the next consumer powerhouse,” according to AdWeek, because of their large numbers and because they are assumed to be different from the Millennial generation that proceeds them. We decided it’s time to check back in to see how brand buzz among them has changed.
Still a TotalSocial GenerationIn 2018 we dubbed them the TotalSocial generation, due to their wide-ranging interests, and their desire to share those passions with others, both online and offline. Social media remains a cornerstone of this young generation’s lives. On a weekly basis 65% use YouTube, 50% use Instagram, 41% use Snapchat, 20% use Twitter, and 15% use Facebook. But they are highly likely to talk offline too. In fact, today’s teen talk about brands 14 times each day – that’s 39% more offline conversations compared to adults 21+. And, despite quarantine, they talk offline more now than they did two years ago (+5%). Whether talking face to face (two thirds of offline conversation), or phone, text/IM, or video call, offline word of mouth remains an important – and growing part of their lives. For Gen Z there is no silo between social media and real-world chatter – but what gets talked about online is quite different from what gets talked about offline. Marketers should pay attention to both because analytics by Engagement Labs show the offline and online conversation each contribute about equally to business KPIs.
Most Talked About BrandsTime have changed dramatically, but the most talked about brands remain relatively constant for these 13-20-year olds. Nine of the top 10 in 2020 were also in the top 10 in 2018, led by Apple, iPhone, Nike and McDonalds. Entering the top 5 is Netflix (up from #13, with an increase of 111% in daily offline conversation), consistent with the huge increases we see generally in buzz about streaming services as consumers of all ages were looking for new entertainment choices during the COVID-19 lock downs and quarantine. Amazon and Amazon Prime each joined the youth top 20 list for similar reasons. With Netflix’s ascendancy, Adidas fell out of the top 10, creating further distance between it and rival Nike. Also falling out of the top tier in 2020 are Pepsi, which was #15 two years ago and is now #23, thereby creating a larger gap with its rival Coca-Cola. Android has fallen to #36 from #16, creating more space among these young consumers with its rival iPhone. And Facebook has fallen to #43 from #18 as Instagram (owned by Facebook) and Snapchat take conversational precedence. For all of its media attention, TikTok ranks a distant 49th in offline chatter among teens. There are meaningful differences in the most talked about brands for 13-20’s versus adults 21+. The biggest disconnect is with Instagram – #105 among 21+ versus #9 for 13-20’s. iPhone, Nike and Cherry Coke fall from the top 10 among Gen Z to the teens among older adults. And in the top 20 for Gen Z but far outside it for the adults 21+ are Chick-fil-A (#62), Adidas (#70), Snapchat (#354), Sprite (#56), the NBA (#50) and Starbucks (#33). Some of the more highly talked about brands among adults 21+ that don’t make it into the teen conversation set include Pepsi (#10 among adults vs. #23 among teens, as mentioned above), Verizon (#11 vs. #25), Home Depot (#12 vs. #99), and AT&T (#14 vs. #46). In this COVID-era, Clorox hit the top 20 most talked about brands among adults but is a distant #96 among teens.
Gen Z: Engaged in Issues Related to Schools, the Environment, Immigration and WomenWith an election year upon us there is talk about the heightened engagement of young people, and our data lend support to that. They are approximately 30% more talkative about a wide variety of issues compared to adults. Which issues in particular? Among a diverse set of about 20 issues we track regularly, the most popular daily topic of teens is “schools or education,” and they talk at a far higher daily rate than adults as a whole which makes sense, especially during this Coronavirus period. Other issues where they stand out ahead of adults are: looking for a job or concern about losing one, underscoring that the economic challenges the nation faces have a profound impact on young people; what’s happening in other countries, protecting the environment, racism or racial justice, issues important to women and immigration. Teens also talk somewhat more than adults about gun policy, but it is a decidedly lower tier issue for teens, somewhat surprisingly given how much gun violence has been focused on schools. Methodology: Engagement Labs measures both online and offline conversation as part of our TotalSocial Platform. The offline data is derived using an online survey to measure brands and issues talked about “yesterday”. For this report, analysts focused on the offline conversations of representative national sample of people 13-69 years old, with a focus on 13-20s vs. 21+. The study involves approximately 36,000 people surveyed per year (700 per week). SIGN ME UP TotalSocial Briefing
Public opinion polls show former Vice President Biden with a commanding and consistent lead over President Trump. Word of mouth sentiment, however, tells a different story. On the eve of the Democratic Convention (and just prior to the announcement of Kamala Harris as the Democratic VP nominee), a fascinating word of mouth story has emerged, one that suggests a tightening race. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver noted recently, “It’s Way Too Soon To Count Trump Out” despite his commanding lead in the polls. Our sentiment trend lends credence to that statement. Word of mouth sentiment has proven to be a leading indicator of voter behavior, including in 2016. Both candidates are in negative net-sentiment territory, as is typical for word of mouth about presidential candidates. Biden’s net sentiment is at –19, 5 points ahead of Trump who is at – 24. What is notable is that Trump’s net sentiment has risen by 31 points versus two weeks ago, erasing what had been a very wide gap (50 points at its peak two weeks ago). The gender gap is in clear display, with a net sentiment gap of 24 points in Biden’s favor among women, and 4 points in Trump’s favor among men. For much of May, June and July men were more favorable about Biden and just this week there was a large surge among men in Trump’s favor.