The Online Brand Wagon
Research conducted by Immediate Future shows the “top brands” as perceived online and offline constitute two very different hierarchies.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is technology companies that dominate the top ten brands in online conversations - the report collated mentions on blogs, MySpace and bebo and on social bookmarking sites.
The Top Ten in Social Media, according to Immediate Future’s ‘voice rankings’, are heavily dominated by technology hardware, software and internet brands:
This ranking contrasts strongly with the Interbrand top ten from its 2006 survey:
Only Microsoft and Disney appear in both of these rankings.
Some of the biggest jumps in ranking, however, are not among technology companies. Reuters comes in at number 78 in Interbrand’s rankings but soars to eleventh place when it comes to its online score. Perhaps this is because its news reports are distributed online for free under its own name, and so are frequently cited by bloggers. Starbucks moves from number 91 offline to number 23 online. LG and Kraft are also big winners when it comes to online conversations.
Losers include GE which slips from fourth place offline to position 48 in social media. Marlboro is the twelfth most powerful brand offline yet only comes in at position 72 online.
According to Immediate Future, while brands cannot control the online conversation, the jumps and falls in ranking show that companies and brands can gain considerable benefits from joining in:
Brands cannot control the conversation online. Instead, they must provide a reason for people to want to share their experience with others. A brand must excite consumers enough to inspire positive conversation and debate.
Brands should join the conversation. By answering queries and problems directly, it is possible to stem negative comment before it spreads. By sharing exclusive, entertaining and participative content, and by collaborating with audiences, brands can place themselves in the conversation. This positively drives share of voice and creates search engine friendly consumer endorsement that is forever banked online.