The way to build and improve buzz is no secret: Make sure positive sentiment among consumers outweighs the negative. Of the brands that have been able to improve their buzz the most over the first six months of the year, those practices have been commonplace.
The list of the brands with the most buzz (as determined by YouGov BrandIndex’s practice of subtracting negative things people may have heard about a brand from the positive feedback, for the six months of 2012 is a varied list that includes newer brands like Amazon, Google and YouTube, along with stalwarts such as Cheerios, Subway and Ford. The mix of brands is indicative of how to remain venerable after many years (Cheerios has been building buzz through successful line extensions) and the newer realities of commerce, says Ted Marzilli, senior vice president and managing director of BrandIndex.
“Three of the top buzz brands are brands that didn’t exist 10 years ago,” Marzilli tells Marketing Daily. “It’s a trend of life and commerce increasingly moving online.”
Among the brands with the top buzz scores so far for 2012, Subway leads the list, thanks to consistent advertising, marketing and new-product introductions. The brand has topped the buzz list for the past three years. Other brands that continue to score well include the aforementioned Ford, Cheerios and Amazon (boosted in part by its popular Kindle Fire) , media networks History and Discovery Channel; and home improvement retailer Lowe’s. Olive Garden makes its first appearance in the top 10, perhaps boosted by an 85-year-old’s enthusiastic review of the restaurant in the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald that went viral in March. (Netflix and UPS, which were on the buzz list last year, fell out of the top 10.)
YouTube also makes its first appearance in the top 10, cementing its status as a top online destination for entertainment. “More and more people are getting used to watching videos online,” Marzilli says. “It’s becoming a part of more people’s lives as opposed a niche group of people who viewed and made videos.”
Meanwhile, 10 other brands are showing strong increases in buzz, mostly by virtue of having been in poor positions last year, Marzilli says. Brands like BP, Toyota and Taco Bell have all improved their buzz scores by outlasting, respectively, environmental disasters, massive recalls and a highly publicized lawsuit about marketing. Other brands on the improvement list (such as Aflac, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dockers and PBS), however, are there simply because they are able to maintain positive feelings among consumers over a period of time.
“The improvers, about half of these brands, are all sort of in recovery mode, but the other half are healthy brands that continue to improve,” Marzilli says.