When you love a brand, you don’t just purchase its products and services—you are more likely to recommend that brand, talk about it with friends and engage with its marketing content, new research confirms.

In a recent analysis of more than 500 consumer brands in a variety of categories, Engagement Labs ranked the most loved brands based on positive conversations happening online (via social media) and offline (via face-to-face conversations), as part of its TotalSocial Brand Awards series.

“While creating a beloved brand is, first and foremost, predicated on having a good product or service, it also requires the cultivation of a passionate fan base that is encouraged to evangelize for the brand,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs, in a news release.

The nation’s most loved brands of 2017 may surprise marketers

“The country’s most loved brands aren’t just big marketing spenders,” added Keller. “In fact, Wegmans, which ranked second, made our list of most beloved brands without a large marketing budget. Wegmans chooses to invest in recruiting and training employees, thus creating the ’culinary theater’ super fans have come to love. The brand has been able to create a positive customer experience that consumers are eager to talk about with friends and family, both offline and online.”

Disney World, the “Happiest Place on Earth,” topped the list of most loved brands offline

This refers to those spoken about positively during face-to-face conversations. Disney World and Febreze, which ranked first and third respectively on the offline list, are big spenders on advertising. In 2017, for example, Febreze launched its “OdorOdes” campaign and debuted its first Super Bowl commercial.

Perdue Chicken tops the list of most loved brands being talked about during online conversations

Perdue’s marketing campaign featuring its multi-generational family business, along with its commitment to animal care, clearly resonated with consumers in 2017. Similarly, when it comes to budget-friendly hotels, travelers don’t have enough good things to say about the Hampton Inn which ranked third for its high sentiment in online conversations.

Keller continued, “Brands need to be aware that you don’t have to be an e-commerce or digital company to have consumers speak positively about your brand on social media. You just have to inspire consumers enough that they want to engage in conversations about the brand, and that is exactly what the brands in our most loved online list did.”

The awards are based on the company’s proprietary TotalSocial data, which continuously measures the four most important drivers of brand performance. These are: 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), volume (a measure of how many conversations mention a brand) and influence (the extent to which an influential audience is talking about a brand). Over the next several months, Engagement Labs will announce awards for the highest scoring brands in each TotalSocial category. The Most Loved Award is given to brands with the highest sentiment scores online and offline in 2017.

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