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Brands Miss Opportunities For Social Advocacy

Aarti Shah  16 Jul 2013

A new study claims the vast majority of satisfied customers are not advocating for brands on social platforms.

Social@Ogilvy analyzed 23 brands across four sectors — coffee, fashion retail, skincare and hotels— in the US, the UK, China and Brazil to learn what drives brand advocacy online. Brands studied included Kimpton, Kiehls, Estee Lauder, Starbucks, Folgers and Gap, among others. Eight feature films were also studied.

“We wanted a reasonably diverse range of brands -- from high to low involvement,” said Irfan Kamal, global head of Data+Analytics and Products at Social@Ogilvy. The study, excluded consumer electronics. 

The study identified seven million “advocacy” brand mentions, which was defined by excluding negative mentions or some amount of neutral ones on any public forum from social channels to message boards. About 15% of all brand mentions were considered advocacy mentions.

Among this set, the survey assessed the advocacy’s passion, ranging from casual to enthusiastic. Overall, consumers were most likely advocate a brand’s features over its emotional benefits, costs, customer service and ads/commercials.

“My sense is that features provide more value if you consider your audience,” Kamal said, adding that features would include information about a hotel room’s size and amenities. “There was relatively little mention of costs or saving, deal-sharing might be happening more privately.”   

Even though social media has become a popular place for customer service interactions, Kamal said it most likely scored lower in this instance because the study did not include distractors that take to public forums to resolve issues. 

“The advocacy driver for one brand might not be the same as the other,” Kamal pointed out. “We found that breakfast was a big driver for Holiday Inn, but the bar and common areas were for Kimpton.”   

Kamal said the methodology will be packaged as a new way for clients to assess their brand advocacy, moving away from metrics such as Facebook “likes” and basic engagement.

“It also lets clients refocus on advocacy as an end goal,” he added. “Lots of data shows that brand advocacy increases reach and lowers cost of marketing -- to the extent that brands can energize their advocates.”

China had the highest frequency of brand advocacy (30 percent) followed by the US (13 percent), the UK (12 percent) and Brazil (six percent). Meanwhile the US were the most passionate brand advocates followed by the UK, China and Brazil. Movies scored the highest on passion, followed by skincare, fashion retailers, coffee and hotels. 


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