New research released today (15 November 2011) reveals the latest winners and losers in terms of brands’ online reputations, along with new insights into the impact that Facebook has on purchasing behaviour. Lumix comes out top overall in the study, with Morrisons, Lenovo, Weetabix and usual favourites Virgin Atlantic winning the sector battles.
The Kaizo Advocacy Index, a bi-annual audit of online reputation, has analysed digital news and social media outlets to rank UK household names including; supermarkets, cameras, airlines, breakfast cereals and computer manufacturers.
For this study the qualitative results were cross-checked with some new quantitative research, to both qualify the methodology and also look at the importance of online recommendations in terms of actual purchasing behaviour.
Between 31% and 38% of people say their purchasing behaviour is affected by what they see on social media – especially Facebook. And, for the majority of us, good news travels fast, as over a third of Facebook users are more likely to share positive news about a brand compared to 22% who would share negative news. In the new research we also found that 28% of Facebook users had posted a negative comment and 40% a positive comment in the last six months.
Rhodri Harries, managing director of Kaizo, commented:
“Lumix came out top overall and in the camera sector which was an overwhelmingly positive category, with reviews influencing strongly what is covered and what people share. The key to this research though is looking at how a brand compares against its competitors, so Morrisons’ rise up the supermarket rankings and Virgin’s continued dominance of the airline sectors should be admired.
“The brands that are faring well are the ones that take recommendations seriously and do all they can to influence them. Whether creating a consistent positive news flow, focusing on review sites, being creative and visual, and ultimately, involving customers and commentators, there isn’t a one size fits all approach. To win recommendations, brands need to be involved in consistent ‘conversations’ as well big bang campaigns.”
From advocacy to intent
Research of 2,000 UK residents conducted by OnePoll found that for 67% of the UK, Google is the first place they go to search for information about brands; this is followed by online media and Facebook directly.
And, the public is caring and sharing more than ever about brands online, over a quarter (26%) post on websites and blogs about brands every month – with 13% posting every week and 4% posting every day! For Facebook and Twitter users these percentages, perhaps not surprisingly, increase with nearly 40% of Facebook users and nearly 35% of Twitter users posting about brands every month.
Perfect picture for cameras online
The camera sector is buoyant online when it comes to recommendations, with all the brands we reviewed scoring very positively primarily down to reviews and news. Twitter proved a strong channel for customers sharing positive experiences and opinions in this category.
In an overwhelmingly positive group, Lumix Panasonic was ranked first (60%), closely followed by Fujifilm (53%), Olympus (52%), Canon (47%) and Nikon (42%) with Kodak ranking last with 30%.
Lumix scored strongly due to the quality of its products and its feature rich approach. With research conducted prior to the recent corporate issues, Olympus scored very positively in news search. Negative comments posted against brands were typically in response to competitive comparisons and, in the case of Kodak, corporate news.
Consumer research found that a comment on social media and Facebook about a camera will influence 38% of people in terms of their decision to buy or not.
Morrisons takes top spot as Waitrose suffers customer dip
Morrisons was the big winner amongst supermarket brands this time thanks to news on business performance being picked up across multiple channels and the announcement of its forthcoming e-commerce business.
Morrisons climbed from third place ranking last time to lead the way with 34%. Whilst second ranked Waitrose (12%) saw its score drop substantially, followed by ASDA (4%) and Tesco (0%). Bringing up the rear, Sainsbury’s (-6%) is the only supermarket to have a negative score and saw its position topple from second in the last Advocacy Index. Most brands suffered online from news and comments about poor customer experience either online or in store, with Waitrose the biggest losers here. Other issues ranged from labelling concerns to Christmas simply coming too early for some (a favourite with the ‘Twitterati’).
As might be expected this sector is very news rich with each brand providing a steady flow of announcements from products, such as Asda’s Quest E-Reader, innovations such as Waitrose’s new QR code and Tesco’s satnav app!
A strong anti-Tesco’s lobby against store expansions once again impacted the supermarket’s score, whilst Sainsbury’s lost both Jamie Oliver and its positive score due to a whole host of customer issues.
In new consumer research, we also found that a comment on social media and Facebook about a supermarket will influence 36% of people in terms of their decision to buy or not. Brands maximising their growing communities and social media news flow are those that will see the biggest financial benefits.
Virgin flies high online as industrial disputes ground BA
Virgin Atlantic once again was the most admired airline online with its inflight experience and new routes sited by many on Twitter and news sites, despite a relatively poor showing on Facebook and on general web searches.
Although Virgin Atlantic leads the way with 20%, the surprise winner this time around was BMI (17%) who saw its ranking rise thanks to positive media reviews, despite the initial rumours of the trade sale.
Negative scores caused by poor customer experience and industrial action were posted by British Airways (-10%), easyJet (-16%) and of course perennial bottom ranked brand Ryanair (-69%)
In this sector, the positive news typically came from news services, new routes and vocal social media fans. But as in previous studies, strikes, service disruptions, and inconsistent customer experiences were evident across all the brands.
Ryanair once again stole the negative headlines with removing toilets to create more space for seats, the latest announcement to incense the public and media alike.
New consumer research also showed that a comment on social media and Facebook about an airline will influence 36% of people in terms of their decision to buy or not.
Weetabix’s dancing teddies take brand to top online spot
In the cereal category above the line activity made a strong connection, with the public generally loving and sharing adverts including the Shreddies Knitting Nanas and the new street dance advert from Weetabix.
Recipes were also well covered, commented on and shared, whilst on social media, topics relating to healthy eating and allergies were more widespread.
Weetabix with 31% was best rated in the category with the other four brands researched scoring very similar levels; Kellogg’s Cornflakes (11%), Shreddies (10%), Shredded Wheat (8%) and Special K (8%).
Weetabix’s score was influenced by the new TV advert featuring dancing teddies and a little girl, as well as parents choosing Weetabix as the winner of the Children’s Foods Awards/Better Breakfasts.
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes score was balanced by cause-related marketing campaigns and issues with the Muslim community and ingredients.
Lowest ranked brand Special K saw a backlash to its diet, with people criticising it for ‘leaving you hungry’ and helping you to lose weight that you will pile back on after returning to normal eating.
A comment on social media and Facebook about a cereal brand will influence 31% of people in terms of their decision to buy or not, according to additional new consumer research.
Tablet talk boost Lenovo’s online brand
Lenovo was perhaps the surprise winner in terms of online recommendations in the PC sector, with reviews dominating the category featuring strongly on Google, News and on Blogs.
The rise of the Tablet was the most significant theme, even without featuring Apple in the study. Which company had the best, the newest and the fastest tablet was top of mind for many in traditional and social media.
Lenovo came top with 38% followed by ASUS (34%) and Acer (31%) with big hitter Dell lingering with 15%. HP brought up the rear with -49% following the announcement of its exit from the PC business and the corporate fall out that this created.
In new consumer research we also found that a comment on social media and Facebook about a PC brand will influence 38% of people in terms of their decision to buy or not.