Brand conversations are vital in the COVID age—which ones are making real connections?

Agility PR   by Richard Carufel | Jun 19, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations   Amid the chaos of the COVID pandemic, the resulting shelter orders and temporary store closings, it’s been easy for brands to slip off the radar—people just have more important things to worry about these days. So for brands to remain vital, they have to connect with their audiences emotionally, and make sure they’re sharing lots of content. New research from social intelligence firm Engagement Labs reveals which brands have been able to make those connections, both online and off.   As consumer priorities and interests have shifted, entertainment, and particularly streaming services, are among brands benefiting the most, consistent with the company’s earlier reports. Their latest TotalSocial rankings—based on a combination of metrics including how much conversation brands earn, how positive, whether consumers are sharing brand content, and how well the brand is connecting with the most influential consumers—examine brand conversations in March-May (the “Covid quarter”). The top brand for offline conversation is Disney+, which zoomed from last place to first since before its November 2019 launch. HGTV also rose remarkably, from 300th to 9th in 12 months, reflecting much more time for watching television, and interest in home improvement among people stuck at home. Indeed, HGTV is the only brand to appear in both the online and offline TotalSocial Top Ten, having risen from 23rd to 6th online. In online conversations, the Food Network moved up to first place, thanks to increased interest in home cooking during the pandemic, as reflected in more positive conversations about the brand online. Media and entertainment brands perform particularly well online, capturing eight of the top ten positions, with big gains for HGTV, Spotify, and the NFL. Notably absent from the Top Ten lists vs. a year ago are Trivago, Audi, and USAA offline, and Disney World online. Declining interest in travel and automobiles during the pandemic explain these declines.     Read the full Agility PR Bulldog Reporter article, here.
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Disney+ surges from last to 1st place in ‘most beloved brands’ this spring

Marketing Dive  

AUTHOR: Dianna Christie  PUBLISHED: June 15, 2020

Dive Brief:

  • Disney+ is the most loved brand in offline consumer conversations, followed by Amazon/Prime, according to Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial study shared with Marketing Dive. The new streaming platform jumped from last place to first — up 410 spots — since 2019, now ahead of the other 600 brands on the list that was measured from March to May.
  • Food Network was the most loved brand in online conversations, followed by Apple and Spotify. The NFL, HGTV and Netflix also ranked on the list as entertainment and media streaming services were among the most popular brands on the list this year. HGTV was the only brand to rank on both the online and offline leaderboards, rising from No. 23 to No. 6 in online conversations.
  • Personal hygiene brands and online drugstores and grocers also benefited from the pandemic as consumers focused on staying clean. Nivea jumped from No. 159 to No. 3 on the offline list and Colgate increased from No. 43 to No. 6. Online grocers Publix and H-E-B made the top 10 as consumers stocked up on pantry staples, per Engagement Labs.

Dive Insight:

The researcher’s latest ranking highlights how consumers’ favorite brands shifted during the early days of coronavirus-related lockdowns to focus on media and entertainment brands, grocery stores and personal hygiene products. The data suggests that people spent their time at home entertaining themselves with content. Netflix, HGTV, Spotify, and the NFL — surprising, given that most sports games were canceled during this time — were all among brands that benefited from this growth. Food Network saw improvements in rankings thanks to two lockdown trends around higher levels of entertainment viewing combined with the spike in home cooking as restaurants were limited to takeout and delivery offerings.       Read the full Marketing Dive article, here.
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Disney+ Is a Leading Brand for ‘Offline Conversation’ (And No, Not Just Because of Baby Yoda)

Yahoo! News   by: Stephen Silver … Engagement Labs’ The TotalSocial rankings are based, the firm said, on “a combination of metrics including how much conversation brands earn, how positive, whether consumers are sharing brand content, and how well the brand is connecting with the most influential consumers.” “I can’t think of another brand that literally went from zero to number-one so fast,” Engagement Labs CEO Ed Keller said of Disney+. “The combination of a great brand, a successful holiday season release, and then a pandemic keeping people at home has provided the perfect storm for Disney+ plus to succeed in the streaming marketplace. It’s also notable that while the social media conversation curve quickly flattened for Disney+, the offline curve has plateaued at 40 million conversations per week.” Another survey earlier this week, from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), found that Disney+ had the largest satisfaction score of the major streaming services, with 80, placing it ahead of Netflix (78), Hulu (77) and Amazon Prime (76.) Disney+ will debut the movie version of Hamilton the week of July 4. The service will premiere “Artemis Fowl,” the adaptation of a popular book, on Friday. The movie, which was originally set for theatrical release, has gotten negative early reviews.     Read the full Yahoo News article, here.
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Disney+ Is a Leading Brand for ‘Offline Conversation’ (And No, Not Just Because of Baby Yoda)

The National Interest   by: Stephen Silver Disney+, since its launch in November, has been a huge success, earning fifty million subscribers as of Disney’s last earnings release in early April. And people aren’t only watching Disney+—they’re talking about it. According to a report issued this week by Engagement Labs, over the course of the March-May period- which the firm calls “The COVID quarter”- Disney+ was the top brand for offline conversation. Amazon/Prime was second, Nivea third, Netflix fourth and Adidas fifth. They were followed by Colgate, Chick-fil-A, Dove Men+Care, HGTV and Samsung. Disney+, Engagement Labs said, beat out Netflix and Amazon thanks to “the high share of people talking about the brand being socially-connected influencers.” Of brands for online discussion, Food Network was first, followed by Apple, Spotify, the NFL, and WWE. HGTV and Netflix also made the top ten on the online side, as did HGTV, Netflix, the pharmacy H-E-B, Twitter, and Publix. Engagement Labs’ TheTotalSocial rankings are based, the firm said, on “a combination of metrics including how much conversation brands earn, how positive, whether consumers are sharing brand content, and how well the brand is connecting with the most influential consumers.” “I can’t think of another brand that literally went from zero to number-one so fast,” Engagement Labs CEO Ed Keller said of Disney+. “The combination of a great brand, a successful holiday season release, and then a pandemic keeping people at home has provided the perfect storm for Disney+ plus to succeed in the streaming marketplace. It’s also notable that while the social media conversation curve quickly flattened for Disney+, the offline curve has plateaued at 40 million conversations per week.”     Read the full The National Interest article, here.
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Disney+ Surges from Last to First in Offline Conversation Amid Pandemic

MarTech Series  

Nivea and Colgate, Also Gain Offline; H-E-B and Publix Gain in Social Media; HGTV Gains Online and Offline

The impact of the 2020 pandemic is being strongly felt in online and offline consumer conversations as consumer priorities and interests have shifted. Entertainment, and particularly streaming services, are among brands benefiting the most, consistent with earlier reports from Engagement Labs. The TotalSocial rankings are based on a combination of metrics including how much conversation brands earn, how positive, whether consumers are sharing brand content, and how well the brand is connecting with the most influential consumers. The top brand for offline conversation in March – May (the “Covid quarter”) is Disney+, which zoomed from last place to first since before its November 2019 launch. HGTV also rose remarkably, from 300th to 9th in 12 months, reflecting much more time for watching television, and interest in home improvement among people stuck at home. Indeed, HGTV is the only brand to appear in both the online and offline TotalSocial Top Ten, having risen from 23rd to 6th online. In online conversations, the Food Network moved up to first place, thanks to increased interest in home cooking during the pandemic, as reflected in more positive conversations about the brand online. Media and entertainment brands perform particularly well online, capturing eight of the top ten positions, with big gains for HGTV, Spotify, and the NFL.       Read the full MarTech Series article, here.
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Word-of-Mouth Sentiment Of Biden Soars, President Remains Mired In Negative Territory

MediaPost   by Joe Mandese @mp_joemandese Net sentiment about Democratic challenger Joe Biden has improved dramatically in recent weeks, moving the presumptive nominee close to a net positive sentiment and increasing the margin with the incumbent to 38 points. While both candidates have remained relatively close — and well under water — since early March, the President’s net sentiment remains mired at -44, according to a weekly tracking study by Engagement Labs. “Conversations about politicians generally are more negative than positive, the opposite of the pattern we see for consumer brands,” notes Engagement Labs CEO Ed Keller, adding, “Yet net sentiment for Biden among all Americans is just barely negative now, at -6, compared to -44 for Donald Trump. “Differences of this kind around word-of-mouth sentiment have been shown to be predictive.  In the last days of the 2016 election a sharp trend in Donald Trump’s favor preceded his narrow victory over Hillary Clinton.” The margin was likely spread in recent weeks due to the President’s handling of multiple crises, especially his militaristic response to civil protests that sprung up nationwide in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. In contrast, Keller says Biden’s “basement strategy” is “producing positive conversations and positive results.” If the sentiment trending truly is a predictive indicator of election outcomes, Democrats should be in a good position for both House and Senate races this fall, as the margin of net negative sentiment between Democrats (-22) and Republicans (-53) currently is 31 points.     Read the full MediaPost article, here.
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Conversations About Trump Turn Increasingly Negative, Even Among Base

MediaPost   The gap in sentiment between social media conversations about 2020 candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden expanded to 34 points after the first week of protests related to the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, marking the largest gap since Biden became the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party.  Both candidates ended May in net-negative territory, but Biden was at just -12 versus -46 for Trump. The net sentiment of these every day, offline conversations is important because the defeat of Hillary Clinton was predicted when her net sentiment dropped below Trump’s after the release of the James Comey memo prior to the 2016 election, as reported in the Huffington Post and in Clinton’s book, What Happened.  Whereas social media conversation is of questionable predictive value because it is “totally unrepresentative of America,” according to the New York Times, word of mouth is far more representative and predictive.   Republican Sentiment Turns More Negative The shift against Trump in late May was driven mainly by Republicans, whose net sentiment for Trump fell from +49 to +28 the last week of May. Although traditional polling continues to show high enthusiasm among his base, the shift in Republican conversations  are a potential precursor to changes in voting intent, and thus represent an early warning sign for the Trump team. Even prior to the Floyd killing, and its aftermath, the President’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was driving Republican criticism of Donald Trump. For the eight weeks ending May 31, a majority of Republicans talking negatively about Trump (66%) were sheltering at home due to the pandemic, a larger share than Republicans nationally (52%) who reported staying completely or mostly at home. Also, 29% of Republicans talking negatively about the president were from the Northeast—the region hit hardest by the pandemic—much higher than the share of Republicans overall living in the Northeast (19%).     Read the full MediaPost article, here.
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These Were the 10 Most “Talkworthy” Marketing Campaigns in 2019

MarketingCharts AARP and Playstation made waves with their marketing campaigns last year in terms of conversation offline and online, respectively, it seems. New data from Engagement Labs shines a light on the brands whose marketing campaigns accounted for the highest share of consumer conversations about the brand in 2019. Marketers and advertisers know that consumers are highly trusting of product or brand recommendations from friends and family, and frequently discuss products on social media. This word of mouth, whether online or offline, remains highly influential amid the rise of digital marketing and increasingly targeted advertising. Engagement Lab’s rankings are derived from a list of more than 600 brands, and are based on the percentage of conversations about a brand in which people were talking about the brand’s marketing or advertising. Offline, AARP climbed 6 places from 2018 to take the #1 spot (89.3%) with its “Saving for Retirement” campaign. AVON rose by 2 places to #2 (87.5%), replacing GEICO which dropped a spot to #3 (83.4%). Some brands in the top 10 had significantly more “talkworthy” campaigns in 2019. At #4, Toshiba jumped 65 places (82.7%), while Hasbro rose by some 217 spots to #5 (80.2%) and CoverGirl by 44 places to #6 (76.9%). In terms of online discussion, technology and video gaming dominated social media buzz. Playstation stayed at the #1 spot with 73.5% of social media conversations about the brand referencing its marketing and advertising. Playstation was followed by Nintendo at #2 (70.6%), with Xbox at #3 (70.3%) and Pokemon at #4 (69.3%). As seen in previous research, the video game industry has a strong foothold in the US, with 65% of US adults playing video games. Marketers in this industry have the passion of gamers on their side when it comes to creating buzzworthy campaigns, as demonstrated in Playstation’s big-budget 2019 campaign “It’s Time to Play”.       Read the full MarketingCharts article, here.
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The most talkworthy brands—which ones are generating the most jabber online and off?

Agility PR   by Richard Carufel | May 21, 2020 | Public Relations   Word of mouth has always been the best marketing a brand can get—nothing beats authentic advocacy from the people you trust the most: family and friends. So the real achievement for brand marketers is to get regular consumers to do the talking for them—online, offline, social media, dinner talk, smoke signals, it all works.   Which brands are leaders in generating jabber among these frontline crusaders? Social intelligence firm Engagement Labs honors the most talkworthy marketing campaigns online and offline every year, and just announced its 2019 TotalSocial Brand Awards winners.   PlayStation, the video game console, and AARP, the advocacy organization for the 50+ population, grabbed the top spots of the brands most successful in driving consumer conversations with advertising and marketing. PlayStation bested in social sway for online (via social media) and AARP for the role of paid and owned media in driving offline buzz (primarily via face-to-face conversations).   Nintendo stands out among 600+ brands as the only one to place in the top 10 both offline and online. Nintendo moved from third to second place for the most talkworthy marketing campaigns online, while Nintendo Switch ranked number 9 for offline brand sharing. Driving the brand’s charge to the top of 2019 were its kickoff marketing of Animal Crossing, successful sales of video games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Pokémon Sword, to eSports tournaments and events.  

Advertising and marketing is a great conversation starter

It reminds people why they like the brand, or what is new and worth checking, thus providing a trigger for conversations and recommendations. Media and marketing plays a significant role in driving conversation, which in turns play a crucial role in the decision-making process, driving an estimated 19 percent of purchases, according to the firm’s analytics published in the MIT Sloan Management Review. About half that impact comes from offline conversation and the other half from social media—making it important for brands to master both.     Read the full Bulldog Reporter/Agility PR article, here.
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The ‘Superspreaders’ You WANT To Meet

MediaPost   by Ed Keller, Columnist   The global pandemic has justifiably given a bad name to “superspreaders,” the term for those people who tragically and efficiently spread the virus that causes COVID-19. But there’s another type of superspreader that marketers should seek out today: the one in 10 most influential consumers, who are the most efficient for spreading ideas and advice about brands. As our nation prepares to tackle the next phase of our economic and health care response to the coronavirus, these everyday consumer influencers are ahead of the curve. These most socially connected people have always had twice as many consumer conversations as the average person, but the gap is growing. The number of consumer conversations among influencers has grown by 16% during the lockdowns, while declining 2% for everyone else. They are exploring and discussing the brands that will be part of their new lifestyle, and then the lifestyles of the nation. How are they doing it? As always, the vast majority of their conversations happen offline, whether over the backyard fence—with social distance—or through private digital channels such as email and private messages.  During the pandemic they are jumping out ahead of other consumers and now represent 35% of video call conversations, despite being just 9% of the total population, 4x the expected share. They are outgoing, social people who refuse to be socially disconnected while socially distanced. Another important characteristic is their embrace of new technologies, and video calls—particularly the meteoric rise of Zoom since the pandemic.     Read the full MediaPost article, here.
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