Engagement Labs scores top brands among offline and online influencers

Ferrari and Regions Bank rank highest among offline and online influencers, respectively.

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It’s not everyday that you see Ferrari, Metlife and Puma in the same sentence.

That’s because those three well-known brands usually have very little in common — except that they were recently named as the brands most successful in activating offline consumer influencers in the US, by social analytics firm Engagement Lab.

It’s part of the latest installment in the Lab’s TotalSocial Brand Award Series, which is also pointing to Regions Bank, CVS and NyQuil as the brands most successful with online influencers in the U.S.

The Award Series measures what the Lab calls “the four drivers of brand performance” among online and offline influencers: the more-positive-than-negative sentiment in conversations, the influence itself, the sharing of a brand’s marketing/ads and the volume of conversation the brand is generating.

Earlier this month, the New Brunswick, NJ-based Lab released its previous TotalSocial ranking for brands based on the first driver of sentiment, and this new announcement pegs the top brands for the second one of influence. Additional announcements are upcoming for the top brands in the remaining two drivers of brand sharing and volume of conversation.

CEO Ed Keller told me that any of the winners could be, say, the 125th most talked-about brand. It’s really about the impact among influencers, whether or not the influencers are celebrities, compared to the impact among the general population. The end results from the 12-month analysis could be completely organic, or they could be the results of the brand’s influencer campaigns, or both.

For online, the Engagement Lab analyzes comments on Facebook, Instragram, Twitter and popular blogs at the accounts of users who have what Keller described as “larger than average amounts of followers.” For offline, the Lab looks to determine the favorites of the top ten percent of influencers, by recruiting and online interviewing panels of users.

And, he added, there is “almost zero correlation between online and offline,” because they are “different universes of people.”

Brand strategies

“Of the three brands that perform best with offline influencers,” he told me, “their performance online is fair to middling with regard to online influencers.” And the reverse is true for online brand winners — they’re only so-so among offline influencers.”

The winning companies, he added, have learned how to magnify “their presence in the market by prioritizing influencers who have above-average social reach and make frequent recommendations.”

The trick for brands, he said, is to figure out how to become talked about, both online and offline.

While celebrity influencers get a lot of attention, Keller said lesser known, “everyday influencers are also the nation’s most trusted consumers, and their words carry considerable weight in their large social networks,” both online and offline. In fact, he said, the Lab has estimated the social value of their recommendations is about four times that of other consumers.

He pointed to specific strategies employed by several of the winning brands:

  • Ferrari, already associated with speed and luxury, pumped up car aficionados’ enthusiasm by unveiling an entry-level convertible that reaches 199 mph.
  • Regions Bank, which is known for its customer service, started a “Piggy Poetry” campaign on Twitter where customers posted tweets about its service.
  • CVS has been pushing its association with health. In 2014, it became the first national pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco products, and, this past January, it said it would put a “CVS Beauty Mark” label on images that haven’t been significantly retouched and that are used to sell its beauty products. Not to mention that the pharmacy chain has agreed to buy the Aetna health insurance giant.
  • Puma has boosted its offline influence through a “celebrity brand ambassador program” that has enlisted Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, Selena Gomez and others. The brand ambassadors create new product lines and wear the products they’re promoting.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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