Gap recently offered a discount incentive for shoppers that checked in through Foursquare. The promotion helped catapult the retailer up a new listing of the 25 brands most important to women from No. 44 to No. 17. Brands that leveraged new media and causes were some of the biggest movers.
The brand index, an initiative from NBC Universal, uncovers why women in the study are drawn to some brands over others by social media, word-of-mouth, a particular cause, a new product or other marketing and promotional initiatives. Brands that leveraged new media and causes were some of the biggest movers.
From July to August, three data streams were crunched to analyze 500 brands: search data from ComScore, social media buzz data from New Media Strategies, as well person-to-person conversations tracked by Keller Faye.
Walmart was driven to the top position on the list by old-school word-of-mouth conversations. Target, No. 2, was the most talked about brand in online social spaces among women. Verizon, in the No. 3 spot—also the No. 1 brand on the list people pay for—found success in word-of-mouth and search. It had less of an advantage in social media spaces, according to Tony Cardinale, senior vice president, strategic insights, Women and Lifestyle entertainment Networks, NBC Universal.
Ford, at No. 8, was another brand that benefited from word-of-mouth.
“In its category it had a particular strength in person-to-person communication,” he said. “There are many more people talking about Ford relative to their competitors in old-school word-of-mouth.”
Cause marketing initiatives also helped push brands up the list. Starbucks moved from No. 59 to No. 33, which coincided with their in-store donation program to help rebuild neighborhoods in New Orleans. Olive Garden moved from No. 145 to No. 92 after announcing it had raised $36 million through their “Pasta For Pennies” program in support of the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society.
“What we found is that if a brand promotes the idea that they are involved in these causes and it resonates with consumers there will be additional brand activity,” Cardinale said.
Also pushing brands up the list are annual trends, like back-to-school shopping (reflected in this survey) and new product launches surrounded by marketing and promotion.
The Top 25 are:
4) EBay most searched for
7) Bank of America
13) Dell Computers
15) Dish Network
24) Wells Fargo
25) Home Depot