For the last several years, we at Engagement Labs have received a lot of attention in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications, for our innovative Total Social® platform and our ground-breaking research that proves that consumer conversations—online and offline—drive almost 20% of consumer purchases. TotalSocial’s data and analytics gives brand marketers a cutting-edge tool that is predictive of sales trends starting about eight weeks prior to purchase, and pinpoints which levers brands can pull to improve their business performance.
This week I am delighted to share the news that Engagement Labs has signed a major partnership deal that is based on the knowledge that consumer conversations also predict long-term brand value, in addition to short-term sales. The partnership is with Kantar, the second largest player in the market research industry, and by far the leader in the field of brand equity measurement. Our TotalSocial platform will now be offered to brands in the United Kingdom on an exclusive basis by Kantar Analytics, which is part of the Kantar Group and WPP, the £15 billion British conglomerate of advertising and public relations agencies.
Kantar UK and Engagement Labs signed our partnership deal following several in depth analytics studies we conducted on behalf of Kantar clients in the UK and the US, in which their analysts found that up to 50% of brand equity is predicted by the conversations and recommendations that consumers have with each other about brands, through social media, at the water cooler, and over the kitchen table. This is an important new validation of the power of TotalSocial as a system for evaluating marketing success and predicting future business results. Going forward, Kantar UK will be integrating TotalSocial data into other products and services, starting in the UK, but hopefully extending to other markets as well.
I am especially proud to be associated with a company as fine as Kantar Group. Through many years in the market research industry and the social data and analytics space, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of the excellent people at Kantar, including Matt Dodd, Managing Partner of Kantar Analytics in the UK and Ireland; and in the US, Nigel Hollis, EVP and Chief Global Analyst of Kantar Millward Brown; Tim Wragg, CEO of Kantar’s North American Insights; Bill Pink, Head of Brand Guidance Analytics in North America, and Diane Laura, SVP and Head of Corporate Marketing, North America, among many others.
Matt Dodd, the key driver behind this phase of the relationship, explained in a recent statement, “I have long been impressed with the innovative work from the Engagement Labs team, and find TotalSocial to be the best solution to incorporate into Kantar Analytics’ toolkit. I’m excited to be working with Engagement Labs on behalf of Kantar and its clients,” which I appreciate very much, and the sentiment is mutual.
He went on to say, “It’s important for businesses to understand how they are discussed and represented online but we shouldn’t be blind to other data sources. Good performance online doesn’t mean that your product is the one being talked about around the kitchen table. Brands need to build a complete picture and this partnership will help our clients to integrate both their online and word of mouth strategies.”
I couldn’t agree more. Since before my first book, The Influentials in 2003, I’ve been studying and writing about the power of consumers influencing each other, the most powerful driver of purchase decisions even before the invention of Facebook. Now we have a social ecosystem that combines online and offline communications channels, which have near-equal power in determining the decisions we make in the marketplace.
By combining TotalSocial with Kantar’s analytics suite and its expert brand guidance systems, marketers will have better tools than ever before to prosper in our highly connected marketplace.