New Data Shows Offline, Word of Mouth is Key to Dominating the Consumer Conversation in an Industry

American Express, BMW, Dove and Gatorade Among the “Category Crushers,”
According to a New Engagement Labs Report on the Leaders in Social Influence

NEW YORK, NY (February 28, 2017) – Brand marketers are always developing strategies that influence purchase intent. For the last decade or so, these marketers assumed that social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are driving consumers to engage with brands and make purchase decisions. Social media continues to grow at a rapid rate; daily active users for Twitter increased 11 percent year-over-year, and Facebook’s increased 18 percent during that timeframe. But, the reality of the situation is much more complex. Most consumers continue to look to their peers for face-to-face advice and recommendations about their favorite brands, impacting their purchase decisions.

While consumers use social media for a variety of reasons, face-to-face word of mouth recommendations among family and friends remain a vital force in consumer purchase decision-making. It is perennially cited as the most trusted source of information by consumers. The volume of real world conversations about brands continues to dwarf the conversations that take place on social media, often by a factor of five to one, according to Engagement Labs’ word of mouth tracking data. And the impact on sales from offline conversation is greater than the impact of social media.

In a new, first-of-its-kind analysis of combined online and offline consumer conversation data, Engagement Labs uncovered a group of “Category Crusher Brands,” which are brands that outperform their competitors in social media performance and offline word of mouth recommendations. Included among the Category Crushers are American Express, BMW, Dove and Gatorade. The full list can be found in the chart below or in Engagement Labs’ newly released e-book, “Lessons from the Leaders of Social Influence.”

“You don’t have to be a hot tech company like Apple or Amazon to excite people about your brand and generate consumer conversations that drive sales. But a ‘total social’ approach to consumer advocacy is a must for success, as we see reflected in this data analysis. The Category Crushers cited in our report understand that ‘social influence’ goes beyond a screen – and the consumer conversations they generate and amplify in-person can make a bigger boost to their overall social performance than those occurring exclusively on social media,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs.

Lessons from the Category Crushers Leaders: American Express, BMW, Dove, and Gatorade

Engagement Labs’ new e-book spotlights these four brands and provides details on the creative applications, messaging and strategy that helped them rise to their Category Crusher status. Among those lessons:

  • American Express holds a close relationship with its cardholders, treating them as more than just customers. From its Small Business Saturday program, American Express’ Blue Cash everyday credit card to providing its members with special access to events – American Express uses a strategy which often leads to loyal customers who will advocate for the brand. (TotalSocialTM Financial Industry Average Score: 43; American Express: 52)
  • BMW’s strategic marketing to luxury consumers and key sponsorships helped the brand transcend as one of the highest performing U.S. brands in face-to-face word of mouth marketing. (TotalSocial Auto Industry Average Score: 41; BMW: 58)
  • Dove defines itself outside of its personal care products by promoting positive self-image and self-worth for women. (TotalSocial Facial & Body Industry Average Score: 51; Dove: 60)
  • Gatorade produces sports drinks, but the brand goes beyond that to foster engagement by encouraging people to participate in spirited conversation about their favorite sports teams and sharing motivational content that pertains to athletic performance. (TotalSocial Beverage Industry Average Score: 40; Gatorade: 55)

The new analysis from Engagement Labs is based on continuous tracking of more than 500 U.S. consumer brands using its TotalSocial data and analytic solution. The full e-book, “Lessons from the Leaders of Social Influence: Brands that Crush their Category and Have Consumers Talking” is available for download.

TotalSocial (patent pending) is the world's only data solution that combines social media listening metrics with the measurement of offline conversations into a single dashboard to allow marketers the ability to measure performance, diagnose areas of weakness and opportunity.

To learn more about Engagement Labs or TotalSocial insights and how to increase your brand’s word of mouth in real life and online, reach out at:

About Engagement Labs

Engagement Labs (TSXV:EL) is the world's first TotalSocial™ company, offering intelligent data, analytics and insights for marketers. We are leaders in tracking, measuring and benchmarking the impact of conversations happening around a brand and industry – both online and offline. Consumer conversations are a proven driver of critical business outcomes, including sales. The patent pending TotalSocial data solution provides brands with unique insights and powerful analytics to understand online and offline social impact and drive business results. TotalSocial demonstrates to marketers how their online and offline conversation compare and contrast and helps identify areas of competitive opportunity or significant emerging threats. TotalSocial is an “always-on” proprietary scoring system, based on the most important drivers of brand performance: Volume, Sentiment, Brand Sharing and Influence. TotalSocial was built on the pillars of Engagement Labs’ patented social media measurement tool and the world’s only offline word of mouth tracking system for brands and tracks 500 brands within the U.S. across 17 major industry categories, and 350 brands in the UK.

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