Can an algorithm know what love is? Or at least what a loved brand is?
Todd Grossman thinks so. He has a specific definition of what a loved brand looks like. Grossman, CEO of the Americas for social media analytics platform Talkwalker, defines it as a brand that builds a strong emotional connection between company and consumer.
What does a loved brand look like in practice? Talkwalker has tracked 1,228 global brands across the internet in social media, news, blogs, forums and more to identify which ones people angrily critiqued less, joyfully connected to more and simply said they loved. Then, Grossman and his team ranked those brands based on their performance and how they compared to the standards all other brands were setting.
“Brands that built these strong connections were dedicated to finding out where their customers congregated and being active in those spaces by starting conversations and joining existing conversations,” Grossman says.
The results of Talkwalker’s analysis are telling. Grossman explains three ways any brand can cultivate love among its customers based on the data his team collected.
Use Influencers Strategically
Among the top 50 loved brands, beauty and fashion dominate, making up nearly a third of the list. Huda Beauty took the top spot followed closely behind by M.A.C. Cosmetics in third, Benefit Cosmetics in fourth and Urban Decay in sixth.
Sure, it’s easier to generate adoration when you have products designed to evoke emotions, which are ideal to create snackable content on social media. However, these brands stood out mainly because of their savvy use of influencer marketing that connected with their customers. They didn’t succeed on social media thanks entirely to happy accidents. Indeed, beauty influencer Huda Kattan, who founded Huda Beauty in 2013, stepped down as CEO in September to focus more on content and products to grow her company.
“It’s about working with the right influencers to share the right message with your customers,” Grossman says.
Understand Your Customers and Create Content Accordingly
Consumer brands aren’t the only ones that scored well on Talkwalker’s love algorithm. Business-focused brands were able to stand out through thought leadership and great stories.
The CoStar Group, a world leader in commercial real estate analytics, increased discussions about the changing state of retail that drove connections to more customers and earned a rank of 15th on Talkwalker’s list.
Capgemini was 19th on the most loved brands list. The French management consulting firm generated measurable customer appreciation with its World Wealth Report, which examines high net worth individuals around the globe.
“Many of the companies in our most loved brands report thrive by being customer-centric,” Grossman says. “They understand what matters to their customers and embody that in the content they produce. They create the types of story that pull emotional levers.”
Corporate Social Responsibility Sets Loved Brands Apart
Content marketers walk a fine line between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and opportunistic pandering.
Brands that strike an authentic balance between doing well and doing good can win over customers. Moulinex, a French kitchen appliance manufacturer, rode the lockdown trend of baking at home with compelling cooking videos while growing engagement with a CSR commitment through its parent company to sustainability and fighting climate change. The combination propelled Moulinex to second on Talkwalker’s most loved list.
Similarly, Tefal (a sister brand of Moulinex) emerged as the top cookware producer and fifth overall on Talkwalker's most loved list. They provided essentials to hospitals and hospices, demonstrating how a company can make a difference during a crisis.
“CSR initiatives connect to devoted communities,” Grossman says. “It is one way content marketers can build a positive relationship that looks optimistically toward the future.” It’s also a reminder that, when a company has something genuinely good to share, the content marketer’s job becomes a whole lot easier.
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