Packaging innovation is a great consumer buzz generator—just ask Andy England

Bulldog Reporter   Aug 11, 2021 | Marketing, Public Relations   “The marketer who steered Coors Light’s ‘cold’ ad messaging for years is now taking the same approach to vodka,” according to AdAge and other recent trade news. “Andy England—who was chief marketing officer at MillerCoors from 2008 to 2015—is now CEO at Phillips Distilling, a Minnesota-based spirits marketer that under his watch is about to flood the market with new innovations, packaging and campaigns.” AdAge’s article caught our eye because Andy England is an advocate for the power of word of mouth. His innovations with packaging while at MillerCoors were a powerful example of how to generate word of mouth in a category where differentiation is often difficult. At MillerCoors, and again with his new vodka brand Cubist, innovative packaging is the conversation spark. Cubist packaging uses thermochromic technology that turns the bottle blue when its temperature drops to zero degrees Celsius or below. We know that packaging plays a role in people’s word of mouth conversation. Our offline WOM data shows that the beverages (6.68 percent) is the most likely category where people talk about product packaging when they talk about brands. Offline, word of mouth conversation data referencing product packaging is also above average for beauty and personal care with 6.52 percent of the chatter, followed by children’s products (5.24 percent), household products (5.1 percent) and food/dining (4.87 percent). As part of a case study in our CEO Ed Keller’s book, The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, England discussed his philosophy about the one-two punch of product innovation and strong advertising to get people talking.     Read the full Bulldog Reporter article, here.
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Study: Today’s podcast audience is a WOM powerhouse

Bulldog Reporter   Jul 16, 2021 | Public Relations “Even before COVID-19, the podcast industry was seeing rapid growth, with monthly listeners reaching 645mn globally in 2019 and advertising revenues growing at a double-digit rate; industry revenues are poised to more than double by 2024,” according to PwC’s Entertainment & Media Outlook 2020-2024. Good news for podcast advertisers: we have strong evidence that the podcast audience is a word of mouth powerhouse. They talk more about brands across a variety of categories—in fact more so than the audience for any other medium including social media. And they are richer in word of mouth influencers, as well. Given the important tie between word of mouth advocacy and sales, they are a marketer’s dream audience. According to newly released Engagement Labs data, heavy podcast listeners, who on average listen to 1 or more hours of podcasts per day, engage in more than 100 offline conversations per week about products, services and brands. This compares to 76 weekly conversations for the general public—an increase of 34 percent. At 102 weekly WOM conversations, these heavy podcast listeners are at the top of the list versus other media.  Heavy social media users and heavy radio listeners are tied for second, both close behind at 99 offline conversations per week, with heavy TV viewers at a distant 67 conversations per week.     Read the full Bulldog Reporter article, here.
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How To Become A Word-Of-Mouth Maven

MediaPost   In a recent Marketing Daily post, “Disrupting A Once-Staid Category, Kotex Builds A ‘Menstruation Machine,’Sarah Paulsen, senior global creative and design director for Kimberly-Clark’s adult and feminine care brands said, “The goal is to demystify periods to help reduce stigma. And we wanted a fun way to show how little people know about the way menstruation works.” Kotex has been hard at work creating conversations about menstrual health for over a decade. It has helped to dispel a myth I often hear about word-of-mouth marketing: that it works only (or best) in “exciting” categories. Not true. Word of mouth also works for everyday products and brands in categories like children’s products, beverage, and beauty products — as well as women’s personal care products. Starting an Unlikely Conversation In 2010, Kimberly-Clark launched a new tampon brand, U by Kotex, and made a bold decision to change the conversation about this traditionally staid — and quiet — category. Advertising and marketing in the category had long been based on breezy images of snow and euphemistic language about “freshness” and “protection.” Kimberly-Clark executives believed that society’s unwillingness to talk honestly about vaginal health and menstruation was a serious matter, with the potential to lead to bad health decisions and outcomes by teenagers unable to get the information they needed.  So the company decided to change that. “Right from the start, we believed it was about word of mouth,” Kimberly-Clark’s Jay Gottlieb, vice president of adult and feminine care marketing told me and my co-author when we profiled U by Kotex in “The Face-to-Face Book.” The strategy worked commercially, as well as achieving its goal of starting a conversation that lasted a decade, as Kotex continues to engage young women to make menstrual hygiene a talkable and shareable subject.     Read the full MediaPost article, here.
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America’s changing brand buzz since COVID-19—who’s winning?

Bulldog Reporter by Engagement Labs | May 6, 2021 | Analysis, Covid-19, Public Relations The COVID-19 pandemic has brought countless challenges to Americans over the past year. From the everyday issues of social distancing, sickness and childcare, to the financial issues of concern over jobs / personal finances and understanding the stimulus – the past year has altered everyone’s way of life. But has it impacted how we talk about brands? This analysis looks at trends in brand WOM since the pandemic to reveal the impact of COVID-19 on how Americans talk about brands.

Overall, WOM levels held steady during COVID-19 era, but certain categories gained momentum during the pandemic

Overall, offline WOM levels were largely steady (a small decline of 1%) during the COVID-19 era.* So even with social distancing and lock downs, Americans kept talking offline about products, services and brands as they navigated the many changes in their lives, and with it new brand choices that they needed to make. This average includes certain categories that gained momentum during this time, including health/healthcare (+10%), financial services (+4%), beauty/personal care (+3%) and media/entertainment (+3%). At the same time, other categories decreased, some dramatically. Among those declining in offline talk are sports (-13%), as well as travel (-7%), home products (-7%), telecom (-7%), auto (-5%) and beverages (-5%).     Read the full AgilityPR/Bulldog Reporter article, here.
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Word-of-Mouth, Post-Pandemic

 

OPINION & ANALYSIS

Jim Karrh On Marketing
by Jim Karrh
Monday, Apr. 12, 2021 12:00 am   1 min read
What is happening with good ol’ word-of-mouth? This question is vitally important for the growth of nearly any business. Word-of-mouth tends to drive your reputation and consumers’ choices far more than do other communication channels. But because mouths have often been behind masks during the past 12 months, it makes sense to examine whether the nature of WOM itself has been altered. A couple of years ago, when I began updating research for my book, I found multiple credible sources revealing that more than 90% of word-of-mouth happens offline. The research generally defined “offline” to include face-to-face conversations as well as phone, email, texts and video chat (in other words, communication channels other than social media posts). And within that large category, face-to-face dominated. For an update, I turned to a 15-year review from the firm Engagement Labs. (I have no connection to the company, but its data seems reliable and it is consistent with what I see in practice.) Its review, released in January, has several important takeaways for your business: ► Face-to-face (remarkably) still dominates. A few years ago, nearly three-quarters (74%) of all offline WOM was happening face-to-face. Today — yes, through a pandemic — a strong 66% of WOM is still face-to-face. The proportion by phone is holding steady at 17%, texts and IMs have risen to 8%, with the remainder spread across video chats and real-time social media communications. ► One side often feeds the other. You might reasonably ask, “Isn’t there overlap between the things people post and see in social media, and the things they talk about in real time?” You would be right. These days nearly a quarter of offline WOM includes people talking about things they see in digital media. The implications I see for business growth include 1) making sure your team knows what is being posted in social media, and 2) equipping your team to extend the conversation.
    Read the full Arkansas Business article, here.
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Which Brands Were the “Most Loved” Last Year?

MarketingCharts   March 26, 2021   Trader Joe’s tops the list of most loved brands offline, while Great Value is considered the most loved brand online in 2020. Here’s how other brands fared in an analysis [press release] of top brands by Engagement Labs. In its analysis of more than 650 US consumer brands across various industry sectors and categories, the rankings of the most loved brands are “based on net positive conversations happening online (via social media) and offline (via face-to-face conversations as well as phone, emailing, texting, IM’ing, video chat – in other words, via any channel other than posting on social media)” from Engagement Labs’ proprietary TotalSocial® data. Trader Joe’s climbed 11 spots to become the brand with the largest gap between positive and negative conversations in 2020. Carter’s also jumped up 13 spots to get to #2, while 2019’s most loved brand offline, Nintendo Switch dropped two spots to #3. Oreo leapt 21 places to #4 on the list, with Dove (up 6 spots) and Minecraft (up 59 spots) share the #5 spot. The bottom half of the offline top 10 list saw one very impressive jump in position and another tie: LEGO — #7 (down 3 spots) Lipton — #8 (up 15) Dove Men + Care — #8 (up 1) Nivea — #10 (up 113)   Read the full MarketingCharts article, here.
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Engagement Labs announces most loved brands during pandemic year

Bulldog Reporter   by Bulldog Reporter | Mar 22, 2021 Trader Joe’s, the American neighborhood grocery store, and Carter’s the retailer of children’s apparel rocketed up the list of brands most positively talked about in offline conversations, ahead of more than 650 brands across all consumer categories, to take top “most loved” honors in Engagement Labs’ fourth annual TotalSocial® Brand Awards. Meantime, Great Value, a Walmart brand, and American Family Insurance earn the top positions (as they did last year) for the most loved brands in online talk. Unilever’s Dove claims special notice as the only brand to rank among brands both online and offline during the COVID era – an important achievement given the importance of both offline and online in driving business performance. Dove’s improvement in online brand love grew more than any other top 10 brand. This reflected Dove’s focus on The CROWN Act and #BeautyBias campaigns that resonated to women everywhere and providing a platform for impactful conversations on social and racial justice in America. Dove has a long tradition of campaigns that are engaging both online and offline since its provocative landmark Real Beauty campaign, and 2020 was no exception. Consumer conversations changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic with everyday categories such as beauty and personal care, video games, and household cleaning products taking on new importance and shifted consumer needs as time spent at home surged and amid quarantine mode for many Americans.   Read the full Agility PR – Bulldog Reporter article, here.
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The Vast Majority of Word-of-Mouth About Brands Still Takes Place Offline

MarketingCharts   Word-of-mouth (WOM) has long been a major player when it comes to learning about brands and making a purchase decision. While total offline WOM impressions have modestly increased since 2007, something hasn’t changed: the majority of all WOM is still done face-to-face. This is per new data from Engagement Labs. Marking 15 years of measuring offline WOM – defined by Engagement Labs as conversations taking place face-to-face, by phone, emailing, texting, or any channel other than posting on social media – the study finds that WOM in the US remains majority (66%) face-to-face, just as it was at the start of the study, despite this share decreasing from 74% in 2007. Also between 2007 and 2020, the share of WOM accounted for by phone conversations has remained steady at around 17%, while among online channels the share of conversations attributed to instant message/text message has increased from 3% to 8%, and email’s share has dipped from 3% to 2%. WOM has clear benefits for brands: research from Bluecore finds that despite the rise of influencer marketing WOM still tops the list of channels that most influence online shoppers’ decision to try a new brand. And, Marketing Charts’ US Purchase Influencers Report indicated that recommendations from friends and family were US adults’ biggest purchase influencer.

WOM Impressions

The study looks to emphasize that rather than compromise offline WOM, as social media has developed, offline WOM has actually increased. In 2007, there were an estimated 13.2 billion weekly offline WOM impressions about brands, with that figure climbing to 14 billion per week in 2020.   Read the full MarketingCharts article, here.
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Beauty and Personal Care Brands Sweep Most Loved Brands

BeautyMatter  
By Kelly Kovack  Posted March 1, 2021 In Trend
Before consumers make buying decisions, they talk. But what do they talk about and how has that changed? Online and offline—through social media, product reviews, face-to-face or via Zoom, by text or IM, or via whatever channel—Americans seek recommendations, feedback, and validation in our choices of entertainment and products. According to Engagement Labs data and analytics, 19 percent of all consumer purchases are driven by these kinds of consumer conversations. Dove excels as the only brand among the top 10 in both online and offline sentiment.
“COVID-19 changed our lives during 2020. The brands on our ‘most loved’ brands list reflect the change in brand landscape as exhibited in those that earned the most positive recommendations from consumers during the pandemic,” said Engagement Labs CEO Ed Keller. “We see dramatic change for Nivea, Minecraft, Oreo and Lipton offline, and Dove and Fabuloso online, as well as home appliance brands KitchenAid and Frigidaire. And congratulations to Dove for once again leading the way in both offline and online conversation with relevant, talkworthy content as they have consistently done for many years now.” “Even with the pandemic and everything it brought with it, along with the polarized political climate, consumers continued to talk about brands. To be successful in this new era, marketers must be part of the consumer conversation, which is predictive of long-term brand value, in addition to sales,” Keller noted. “Marketers need to have unique strategies for positive engagement and consumer conversation online vs. offline to drive better brand and business outcomes.”
 
  Read the full BeautyMatter article, here.
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10 Most Loved Brands of 2020

Global Cosmetic Industry Magazine  

TotalSocial has curated a list of the top 10 brands that are most loved by consumers, both online and offline, during 2020.

This analysis ranks the most loved brands based on net positive conversations happening online (via social media) and offline via any channel other than posting on social media. Unilever’s Dove is the only brand to rank among brands both online and offline during the COVID-19 era. Dove’s improvement in online brand love grew more than any other top 10 brand.

Most Loved Brands Offline

  1. Trader Joe’s
  2. Carter’s
  3. Nintendo Switch
  4. Oreo
  5. Dove
  6. Minecraft
  7. Lego
  8. Lipton
  9. Dove Men+Care
  10. Nivea

Most Loved Brands Online

  1. Great Value
  2. American Family Insurance
  3. Kirkland’s
  4. Dove
  5. Garnier Fructis
  6. KitchenAid
  7. Clean & Clear
  8. Frigidaire
  9. Clinique
  10. Fabuloso
Engagement Labs CEO Ed Keller said, “Even with the pandemic and everything it brought with it, along with the polarized political climate, consumers continued to talk about brands. To be successful in this new era, marketers must be part of the consumer conversation, which is predictive of long-term brand value, in addition to sales. Marketers need to have unique strategies for positive engagement and consumer conversation online vs. offline to drive better brand and business outcomes.”
Read the full Global Cosmetic Industry Magazine article, here.
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About TotalSocial® Want a better understanding of the online and offline conversations around your brand? Are you a journalist who wants to use real data to measure the brands you’re reporting on? Are you a company who wants to gain further insights into your brand’s marketing strategies to develop effective campaigns to reach your audiences?