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The shape of brand conversations


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This deck summarises some of our research into the "shape" of conversation maps (i.e. interaction networks) on Twitter. We find that the shape, or pattern, of brand and campaign conversations tend to sit on a continuum from centralisation to decentralisation. The shapes often evolve along this continuum as brands adopt more organic, two-way conversation patterns rather than the one-directional broadcasting techniques so common in traditional channels such as television and radio.

This presentation is based on a paper that won the Best Methodological Paper award at the 2015 ESOMAR Congress conference. You can access the paper here:

Published in: Marketing

The shape of brand conversations

  1. 1. 1 The shape of brand conversations Kyle Findlay Head of Data Science & Knowledge Creation The TNS Global Brand Equity Centre Winner of the Best Methodological Paper award at the 2015 ESOMAR Congress conference in Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2. 2 We connect users that interact with each other into a “conversation map”
  3. 3. 3 We end up with conversation maps that look like this (this is the picture for the market research category on Twitter)
  4. 4. 4 Hub-and-spoke Spin-off Ecosystem Centralised De-centralised We’ve found that the “shapes” of conversation maps tend to sit on a continuum from centralised-decentralised
  5. 5. Brand conversations 5
  6. 6. 6Source: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight (Q1 2015) Sport Center’s account during the Mayweather-Pacquiao is an example of a hub-and-spoke ‘shape’
  7. 7. 7Source: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight (Q1 2015) Shallow calls to actions like these lead to sharing but not two-way conversation:
  8. 8. 8Source: Ford North America footprint (May-June 2015) The following two week slice of converations around the Ford brand give us a good example of a decentralised brand ecosystem
  9. 9. 9Source: Ford North America footprint (June 2015) Ford has an organic ecosystem around its brand made up of multiple distinct constituencies
  10. 10. Campaign conversations 10
  11. 11. 11 B A B Two competing campaigns; one based on a single influencer (B), the other based on an ecosystem of accounts (A)…
  12. 12. 12 Footballer B Musician Campaign account Musician Brand account Music promoter A B A B It’s easier to understand Campaign A’s strategy if we summarise their ecosystem in diagram form…
  13. 13. 13 Bud’s “Lost Puppy” ad from Superbowl 2015 received the most retweets out of all the 70+ Superbowl ads
  14. 14. 14 It is a great example of a centralised, hub-and-spoke shape…
  15. 15. 15Source: Super Bowl (Feb 2015) But if we look at it’s shape, it’s very centralised with little organic conversation around it NOTE: If Bud’s goal was to simply update existing associations with the brand (i.e. a “maintenance strategy”), it likely succeeded. If the goal was to draw in new users and/or change perceptions, it probably could have done more.
  16. 16. 16Source: Super Bowl (Feb 2015) The ad was very emotive and thus was widely shared but it lacked relevance to beer and so did not encourage much organic conversation
  17. 17. 17Source: Oscars (Q1 2015) + = Lego partnered with artists, Nathan Sawayan, to present Oscar winners with trophies made out of Lego
  18. 18. 18Source: Oscars (Q1 2015) The resulting conversation map was very de-centralised, likely due to the campaign’s good mix of novelty, emotion and relevance
  19. 19. In summary 19
  20. 20. 20 Hub-and-spoke Spin-off Ecosystem Centralised De-centralised Conversation maps sit on a continuum: as the conversation becomes more organic, we move from a centralised broadcasting shape to a more decentralised ecosystem of conversations
  21. 21. 21 It’s a balance Centralised messaging controls the conversation BUT also tends to be a bit boring. One-directional broadcasting might help update brand associations Can engaged conversations more strongly affect perceptions? De-centralised creates sustained engagement …BUT too de-centralised makes it difficult to lead conversation Centralised De-centralised Different shapes play different roles…
  22. 22. 22 Tap into enthusiast communities Copy in spokespeople where appropriate How does one create a social ecosystem?
  23. 23. 23 Strategically @mention influencers & spokespeople to access their communities Strategic use of hashtags to bind/extend conversations But, most importantly… [next slide] @ # How does one tap into multiple constituencies?
  24. 24. 24 …spur on two-way conversation Start real conversations Rather than just one-way sharing…
  25. 25. 25 Start real conversations Any model of virality will tell you that emotion/valence/ affective stimuli gets shared…. + …EBUT emotional + relevant content gets shared and talked about organically!
  26. 26. 26 Thank you Ockert Janse van Rensburg Tanweer Fareed Acknowledgements