Consumer conversation about brands
Usefulness, customization, relatability and authenticity all play key roles in generating consumer conversation.

NEW YORK — What gets consumers talking about a brand? The answer is different depending on where the conversation takes place — on-line or face-to-face — but both are important, according to Engagement Labs.

Based in New York, Engagement Labs tracks on-line and word of mouth conversations about brands to compile its TotalSocial rankings, which examines how food brands have performed socially over the past six months. The company continuously measures the most important drivers of brand performance in terms of social media and word of mouth conversations.

Ed Keller, Engagement Labs
Ed Keller, c.e.o. of Engagement Labs

“What’s important about this is that it does integrate on-line and offline, and there’s almost no correlation between those two,” said Ed Keller, chief executive officer of Engagement Labs. “What gets talked about on-line is quite different from what gets talked about offline, which is one of the reasons why we think it’s so important for people to look at both.”

Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial rankings are based on four components of conversation: volume, influence, brand sharing and sentiment.

Engagement Labs TotalSocial ranking of food brands

“The best performing brands here all have really high positive sentiment — that’s a testament to the fact that people feel comfortable recommending it to others,” Mr. Keller said. “Marketing well-executed will make its way into consumer conversation. We’ve seen that upwards of 30% of brand conversations can be sparked by paid marketing, but that requires the brand to really think about — what is it about my marketing that will get people talking? When they’re creating it, maybe when they’re testing it, is there a simple story here that somebody will be willing to share with somebody else? If so, it creates a huge and positive ripple effect. At that point you’re not just reaching a consumer, you’re reaching a consumer with a message that has cultural relevance that they will in turn share with others. When you do that, you’re getting a very powerful one-two punch.”

Read on for three ways to generate brand buzz: