How comprehensive is your brand’s “talkability”? If your focus is overly digital—as many brands now embrace in the post-pandemic age—you may be missing the opportunity to engage an entire sector of conversation starters. New research from data and analytics firm Engagement Labs shows how online and offline conversations are distinct from one another and usually have no correlation. Despite both types of conversations having an impact that leads to sales and business outcomes, they do so in different ways—necessitating different marketing strategies.
The firm’s sixth annual ranking of America’s “most loved” brands reveals this distinction. Trader Joe’s, the American grocery store, ranks first while LEGO, the iconic toy manufacturer, moved up to the second top spot of the list of brands most positively talked about in offline conversations, ahead of more than 650 brands across all consumer categories. Meanwhile, American Family Insurance holds the top position for the most loved brands in online talk, while Lush moved to the number two spot.
“The TotalSocial Most Loved Brands this year showcase the enduring, strong emotional bond between consumers and the brands they love. Consumers are passionate about brands, and this generates brand talk,” said Steven M Brown, president of Engagement Labs, in a news release. “Our data reveals the importance of earning positive talk and recommendations from consumers goes beyond connecting with them and delivering great experiences—brands that deliver become beloved. Our work with Fortune 500 brands has consistently emphasized the importance of cultivating brand love to maximize marketing ROI, and this focus will continue throughout 2023.”
- Trader Joe’s is a consistent winner with a sentiment score of 91 and the retailer enjoys a significant competitive advantage. Other supermarkets lag behind at quite a distance, earning scores well below Trader Joe’s, including H-E-B (77), Aldi (68), Food Lion (63) and Publix (61).
- American Family Insurance does a great job engaging with consumers online. The company itself, employees and agents share helpful tips to protect your home and in the company’s words “protect your dreams.”
- Charles Schwab’s improvement in offline brand love grew the most last year than any other top brands with 126 rank change. While Sam’s Club rank change increased by 65 moving up to the fourth position for online most loved brands.
Net sentiment of consumer conversations continues to be positive for everyday categories such as beauty and personal care, children’s products, food and home. Consumers tend to place a significant emphasis on these categories as they directly relate to their daily lives and well-being that generate consumer conversations. Brands that can successfully generate positive conversations and engagement with consumers in these categories are likely to see increased sales and brand loyalty.
The impact of online and offline conversations on business outcomes
The 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 the winners.
“The adjusted lifestyles and return to normalcy in 2022 are reflected in the brands that appear on our ‘most loved’ list, and in the brand landscape of those that have earned the most positive recommendations and talk from consumers,” said Brown. “In the offline space, Olay, Lysol, Doritos, Charles Schwab, and Bath & Body Works have seen the biggest surge in popularity, while Sam’s Club, OshKosh B’Gosh, and Urban Decay have gained the most significant positive attention online. And let’s celebrate and recognize Trader Joe’s, Lego, Dawn, Dove, Dove Men+Care, American Family, Lush, Express, Clean & Clear, TripAdvisor and Clinique who continue to demonstrate what consumers have engaged with and spoken about with great sentiment over the past year and the prior year.”
Marketers aim to achieve more positive conversations, both online and offline, to become “Conversation Commanders,” which are the most successful brands in both conversation arenas. To accomplish this, marketers require two distinct measurement and marketing strategies to ensure that these separate, yet equally important conversations are optimized. By utilizing data and social intelligence, marketers can gain insights into consumer behavior and preferences, which can help drive business goals, such as increased sales and brand loyalty.