According to new research from Engagement Labs, Ferrari and Regions Bank earned top distinction as the brands most successful with everyday influencers—those friends, family and colleagues who frequently give recommendations and maintain large social networks—both online (via social media) and offline (via face-to-face conversations).

The firm’s Brand Awards series is based on its proprietary TotalSocial data, which continuously measures the four most important drivers of brand performance: influence, sentiment (having more positive than negative conversations), brand sharing (the extent to which people are sharing or talking about a brand’s marketing or advertising), and volume (a measure of how much conversation a brand is getting).

Earlier this month, the company released its ranking of the Most Loved Brands based on sentiment, and over the next several weeks, Engagement Labs will announce awards for the highest scoring brands in each of the remaining TotalSocial categories. The brands that were most successful with everyday influencers are those with the highest online and offline influence scores in 2017.

Which brands most successfully activate consumer influencers?

“The winners in our analysis have tapped into a lucrative marketing strategy that greatly magnifies their presence in the market by prioritizing influencers who have above-average social reach and make frequent recommendations,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs, in a news release.

“Everyday influencers are also the nation’s most trusted consumers, and their words carry considerable weight in their large social networks,” he added. “They have approximately four times the ‘social value’ as other consumers. It stands to reason that brands, such as Ferrari, that understand who their everyday influencers are and what topics drive them, are going to be successful in inspiring conversations about their products.”

Indeed, Ferrari, a brand already closely associated with speed and luxury, played into car aficionados’ desires by unveiling a new convertible that tops out at 199 mph. The new engine revved consumer conversations among offline influencers, accelerating the brand into first place in this category.

Likewise, Regions Bank tapped into consumer conversations by engaging with key influencers online. The brand recently started a “Piggy Poetry” campaign on Twitter, where it is already active and where many consumers post tweets praising the bank’s customer service.

CVS, named as the number two brand with the most influencers among the people talking about the brand online, also has its finger on the pulse of key influencer concerns. For the last several years, the brand has put a greater emphasis on health in its marketing, a move that consumers have embraced. In January, it announced it would stop airbrushing photos used for the beauty brands it sells in its stores. In addition, its offer to buy Aetna for $69 billion—a deal with the potential to reshape the healthcare industry—contributed to even more discussion about the brand. Some analysts believe the merger could help reduce health care costs and make healthcare more manageable. The brand also won second place in Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial Award for Most Loved Brands in online conversations last month.

Which brands most successfully activate consumer influencers?

Meanwhile, Puma scored the number three position for offline influence as it tapped into a well of consumer conversations with its celebrity brand ambassador program. The brand’s financial results are proof that engaging key influencers works. In 2017, sales increased 15 percent leading to a whopping 92 percent gain in income. The brand has partnered with celebrities that are current, trendy and already have huge followings. Big Sean, The Weeknd, Cara Delevingne, Kylie Jenner, Rihanna and most recently, Selena Gomez, have been Puma ambassadors.

Analyzing more than 500 U.S. consumer brands, Engagement Labs selected winners based on the extent to which this influential audience represented a large proportion of those people who talk about and recommend the brands offline and online.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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