John Lewis has been crowned the best UK retail brand at engaging with its customers both offline and online, by a new analysis tool which measures the most important drivers of brand performance in social media and word of mouth conversations.
According to Engagement Labs TotalSocial analysis, John Lewis’ top rank is driven by its strong offline (word of mouth) performance, with exceptionally high sentiment in real-world conversation, strong volumes and high brand sharing performance, which is the sharing of branded content by consumers on social media.
Online scores are also above-average, with the #BusterTheBoxer Christmas ad helping to drive high brand sharing in this channel.
The other top performers include Topshop, Boots, Amazon and Superdrug, although discount chain including Home Bargains and B&M.
The study says this is because discounters have strong social capital, with positive sentiment and a sense of relevance to all – they are easy brands to recommend to friends regardless of their personal circumstances and budgets.
B&M’s social feeds are also driving high levels of online brand sharing. Further down the rankings, Ikea scores well ahead of other furniture and décor retailers. As with the discounters, Ikea’s mass relevance helps drive good volumes.
Engagement Labs UK managing director Steve Thomson said: “We know that TotalSocial scores are predictive of future sales, and this strong performance by discounter brands helps to explain strong commercial performance while many retailers are struggling. We will keep a careful eye on the trends, but from what we have seen over the past year, there is plenty of reason to believe that analysts’ projections for continued growth are on the mark.”
One major retailer that is notably missing from the top performers list is Marks & Spencer, despite driving a large volume of consumer conversations.
The analysis claims that the main problem is that M&S “talkers” are mainly older, meaning the brand is just not on the radar of younger people. However, a secondary issue is that sentiment dips among the 40-49 age group, a target group which should be accessible to M&S.
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