Word of mouth is powerful stuff—and even in this digitally driven age, it remains a brand’s best friend. It’s pretty simple: before consumers make buying decisions, they talk with friends, family, and coworkers. These conversations play a crucial role in the decision-making process—and according to new research from Engagement Labs, they drive an estimated 19 percent of purchases.

One of the best ways for brands to increase their revenues is to create marketing and advertising that stimulate conversations, whether they happen in offline, face-to-face conversation, or via online social media. With the decline of ad-supported television, it is becoming even more important for brands to use marketing messages that stimulate sharing, making it possible to reach more consumers with more persuasive content.

Who’s driving the most WOM buzz?

Engagement Labs reveals the brands that were the most successful in driving consumer conversations with advertising and marketing in 2018. Three financial brands, including Allstate, GEICO, and TD Ameritrade, were the best at driving offline conversations, while PlayStation, Red Bull, and Nintendo were best at driving online conversations in social media.

In a recent analysis of nearly 500 consumer brands* from a wide variety of categories, the firm ranked those with the most talkworthy marketing campaigns. The rankings are based on the extent to which people are sharing or talking about a brand’s marketing or advertising content either online (via social media) or offline (via face-to-face conversations), as part of its TotalSocial® Brand Awards series. The results were published in the MIT Sloan Management Review.

2019 Most Talkworthy Brands

The awards are based on the company’s proprietary TotalSocial data, which continuously measures the most important drivers of brand performance, online and offline. These are:

  • Brand sharing—the extent to which people are sharing or talking about a brand’s marketing or advertising
  • Sentiment—having more positive than negative conversations
  • Volume—a measure of how many conversations mention a brand, and
  • Influence—the extent to which an influential audience is talking about a brand

The Most Talkworthy Marketing Award is given to brands with the highest brand sharing scores online and offline in 2018.

PlayStation pwned the top spot in the online ranking

This is mainly due to its big game ad for Marvel’s Spider-Man on NFL’s opening night, and ‘God of War’ advertising campaign that helped make it the fastest-selling PS4 exclusive. Finishing in second place is Red Bull, whichunveiled its new Aston Martin carfor its flagship Formula One team Red Bull Racing. The energy drinks giant reported a $10.3 million profit in 2018 directly from F1. Red Bull’s branded entertainment production of Liquid Scienceseries on Red Bull TV and Netflix has helped the brand gain online brand sharing with Wu Tang’s GZA episode.

“PlayStation and Red Bull are on top of their game when it comes to giving consumers content that’s worth talking about. Our “Online Brand Sharing” metric is a test of the shareability of content online.   Both brands are producing exciting video that also feature highly shareable partner brands like Marvel and Aston Martin,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs, in a news release. “Both brands understand the value of telling stories that excite fans, and they are good at execution, too.  Nowadays, brands need to be prepared to invest in effective storytelling.”

Nintendo took third place for online brand sharing with its continued success with Nintendo Switch compared to the preceding console Wii U. To keep up with, and counter the success of Sony PlayStation’s Spider-Man release, Nintendo forked over an estimated $6.2 million in advertising spending in August 2018, and increased total spend to promote the popular Fortnite title on its Switch console. The video game community took notice, making Nintendo Switch 2018’s best selling gaming platform.

Allstate is in good hands with new CMO Elizabeth Brady, claiming the number one spot of the most talkworthy marketing in offline conversations

The brand refreshed its tagline with “Now that you know the truth, are you in good hands?” with Dennis Haysbert, who has appeared in Allstate marketing since 2003. In recent years the brand has also run an edgier “mayhem” series of commercials with the actor Dean Winters, who plays bad cop to Haysbert’s good cop. With the dual campaign, Allstate increased overall marketing investment in 2018, achieving first place on the Engagement Labs ranking for most talkworthy (offline) marketing.

Runner up for second place for offline brand sharing is rival GEICO that spent the most money on advertising than any other insurance company in the U.S. estimated at $1.2 billion in 2018. The insurance provider’s lovable gecko starred in co-branded marketing tie-ins with Avengers: Infinity War and got more than some of the sweet Avengers halo effect. In addition, the “Longest Goal Celebration Ever” meme and talkworthy commercial is rated one of the top 10 soccer ads for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. According to Adweek, the 10 best ads of the biggest soccer event touted an accumulated 125 million minutes of watch time and 83 million views from June 1 through 20, 2018.

TD Ameritrade, in third place, has earned conversation from a campaign about conversations. It’s “green room” series of ads portray honest conversations between everyday people and a TD Ameritrade advisor who listens well, and cares.

“Our research and analysis lead us to believe that one of the most important tests for advertising is whether people talk about it,” said Keller. “Strong creative is talkable, and those conversations amplify the message and encourage purchases. Allstate, GEICO, and TD Ameritrade are examples of brands that are extremely effective at generating conversations with their advertising, and this is a key factor in their success in the marketplace.”

Read more about the winners and the program here.

* Categories included automotive, beauty and personal care, beverages (alcohol and non-alcoholic), children’s products, consumer packaged goods, dining, financial services, food, health, household products, retail and apparel, supermarkets and grocery stores, technology, and telecom.

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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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