In today's fast-paced and highly competitive business environment, making data-driven decisions is essential for marketers and business leaders. The current economy is highly dynamic, with rapid technological advancements and changes in consumer behavior, making it increasingly challenging to predict market trends accurately. With data-driven insights, marketers and leaders can make informed decisions that drive growth, increase profitability, and stay ahead of the competition.
Engagement Labs research and data have debunked a common myth that a brand's online popularity among fans correlates with positive real-life conversations. Across a list of nearly 600 brands we measure continuously in the US, we find that net sentiment—positive conversations minus negative ones—are barely correlated to each other on a week-to-week basis. The trend correlation is about zero, on average, as we have reported in the MIT Sloan Management Review. At the same time, these two data streams both matter, because together they drive 19% of consumer purchases, on average. With this in mind, brands need to invest in data and strategies that drive positive sentiment in both spheres.
Data-driven decision-making is not only important for managing risk and staying ahead of the competition but also for driving positive sentiment towards a brand. Here are four tips for using data-driven insights to drive positive sentiment:
Brands need to focus on both real-life and social media conversations to capture the whole marketing picture. Real-life conversations or offline WOM drives 10% of sales while online social media drives 9% - ignoring either one is a missed opportunity. Listening to both spheres helps identify brewing issues and signals that indicate a shift in strategies.
Brands need to deliver an exceptional brand experience to motivate consumers to talk positively. Upwards of 25% of all offline conversations now include people talking about what they see in digital media, and a brand’s website is the number one digital driver of conversation. Just as consumers move seamlessly between their offline and online worlds, brands must do so as well.
Pay attention to key audiences
Brands should focus on their two most important audiences: customers and employees. Hiring employees who embody the brand's values and engage with them leads to dedicated and committed employees, who, in turn, provide exceptional service. "Brands need to understand the value that connecting with consumers have. It's not just a one-off conversation. When building a relationship with people and consumers, you want to hear what they have to say, because what they have to say will impact how they feel about your brand, which will impact whether they're engaging and sing your brand," PepsiCo's Kevin Moeller has said it best in Kantar's Future Proof podcast.
Learn from competitors' crises
Brands can learn from their competitors' mistakes and take steps to avoid similar outcomes. Take steps to avoid negative outcomes and conversations. As a marketer and business leader, avoid over-relying on popular social media listening tools for verdicts on marketing campaigns and public relations crises. While these tools can enable important two-way dialogs between brands and consumers, they don’t necessarily reflect mainstream opinion. Track and check your online and offline sentiment and holistically other key metrics and performance indicators such as volume, brand sharing and influence that can indicate the need for investing in strategies that generate positive consumer conversations in both spheres.
Marketers have a significant influence over consumer sentiment by listening to both real-life and social media conversations and developing strategies that spark positive talk about their brands.
Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial platform combines four types of metrics to calculate brand success in both online and offline conversations. Those metrics are the volume of conversation, the net sentiment (positive versus negative direction), the extent to which the brand is being talked about by the most socially connected people, and whether the brand’s advertising, marketing and social content is being shared and discussed. That’s why we recommend a holistic measurement approach that is available in TotalSocial.
In closing, data-driven decision-making is critical for driving positive sentiment towards a brand. By thinking TotalSocial®, aiming high, paying attention to key audiences, and learning from competitors' crises, brands can use data-driven insights to create positive consumer conversations and build a sustainable business for the future.