Engagement Labs announces most loved brands during pandemic year

by | 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.

Engagement Labs announces most loved brands during pandemic year

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.

This analysis ranks the most loved brands 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) to determine its annual TotalSocial Brand Awards winners.

Engagement Labs announces most loved brands during pandemic year

Why TotalSocial: Offline and Online Conversations Matter

Before consumers make buying decisions, they talk – especially during COVID times. 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. 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. According to Engagement Labs data and analytics 19 percent of all consumer purchases are driven by these kinds of consumer conversations.

“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.”

To learn more about Engagement Labs and how to increase your brand’s consumer conversations in real life and online, reach out at: totalsocial@engagementlabs.com.

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