The Most Loved and Hated Brands of 2012

by · December 18, 201210 comments

Fan advocacy is an important topic for brands. We all want our most loyal fans to spread the word about how much they love our company. While companies are spending a lot of time and money focusing on “influencer” outreach, I’ve been equally exploring the topic of “fan influencers”. I’ve been looking for opportunities to build strategies for brands that focus on finding your most influential fans and providing them with a platform to amplify their message and we’re doing some interesting testing. As a result, I was curious about how advocates and detractors mention brands online.

I wanted to see if I could find interesting findings in how we display our love and hatred for brands. So I conducted an analysis to see. As you would expect there were some interesting findings, which resulted in a list of the most loved and hated brands online for 2012.

Methodology

The social media insights tool, NetBase was used to conduct an analysis of the words “love” and “hate”, separately, for the period of 12/16/2011 to 12/16/2012 in order to represent a full year of data. The data is limited to English conversations that happened anywhere in the world. NetBase offers a brand tag cloud feature that was used to pull the list of brands. The list was exported and then cleaned for repetitive mentions, i.e. Twitter vs twitter. The mentions for repeated brands were aggregated for the final total you see in the lists below.  While NetBase searches most websites for mentions, there will always be an asterisk next to Facebook data. Facebook data represents public conversations as research tools can’t get behind our privacy settings to view private conversations. That’s a good thing in my opinion and is a consistent limitation in all social media research and monitoring tools. The most hated brand is measured as the brand whose name was mentioned the most with the word hate. The most loved brand is measured as the brand whose name was mentioned the most with the word love.

Frequency

Social media users have a lot of love and hate to talk about. But it is clear social media users have a lot more love than hate, with love being mentioned over 584 million times. That’s not to say we don’t have a lot of hate to share as well, hate was mentioned over 126 million times during the same time period.

But as we know sometimes we also have a love/hate relationship. And that’s no different in social media. When the love conversations were filtered to include the word hate we found that 14.8 million mentions displayed our conflicted feelings.

Sources

When we are feeling the love and displaying the hate in public, where do we go? Twitter. Twitter blew away all other types of websites with 66.3% of the hate conversations and 52.4% of the love conversations. The social networks category which is primarily Facebook conversations comes in a distant second.

 

Domains

So we know Twitter and Facebook have a large share of the conversations, but are there any other websites that pop up as relevant. I thought the volume of conversations popping up on Baby Center and The Bump were interesting. While it’s probably not shocking to all of us Moms, we share a lot of love and hate.

 

Top 50 Hated Brands

These conversations were then analyzed using NetBase’s brand mention feature which searches the conversations for brand names and presents a tag cloud view of the most mentioned brands. After exporting the list and some cleaning of repeated names, the following list shows the most hated brands ranked by the highest volume of mentions.  The list is dominated by Twitter and Facebook, which is interesting because so many of the conversations are happening on Twitter.  So apparently, we go to Twitter to tell the world how much we hate Twitter. Do you see anything interesting? Anything surprising? The thing that is most surprising to me is how quickly to volume drops off once you get past the top 10 brands. For as much complaining I see on social channels I really would’ve expected to see higher volumes for some of these brands.

Top 50 Loved Brands

What about the brands we tell the world we love? Do we freely share our brand love with the world? Apparently not. We don’t share love nearly as often as we are sharing our hate.  Again, Twitter and Facebook take the top slots, but the drop off after Facebook is astounding. Anything surprising for you? Is this what you would’ve expected?

Analysis

When I saw these stats there were a few things that surprised me. Specifically, the difference in conversation volume for brands mentioned with the word love vs hate is staggering considering the total volume of mentions using the word “love” was 584 million vs. “hate” at 126 million. The top two spots for brands we love was a little more than 100k mentions. This shows that while we talk about love and hate online a lot we don’t mention brands very often.  When we do mention a brand, we’re more likely to share our hatred than our love. This is an important perspective for brand managers to understand as they develop their engagement strategies. Customer complaints should be taken seriously, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see a lot of love when your brand has exceptional service or passionate fans.

I think this also opens up a new door for strategy development. Most brands have passionate fans who love them. How can you empower these fans to spread the word? How can you make it stupid easy for them to share how much they love you or share the content you want to get out there? Personally, as I’ve been taking a hard look at fan advocacy I think this will be one of the areas we will see great strides with in 2013.

What do you think? Anything jump out at you from these lists? Are you surprised about a brand on the list? Are you surprised a brand isn’t on the list? Join the conversation and share a comment!

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About Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Social Media Explorer|SME Digital. She is also the author of How to Measure Social Media. Her team helps companies figure out where social media fits and then helps execute the recommended strategy across the “right” mix of social media channels. Do you want to rock the awesome with your digital marketing strategy? Contact Nichole

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.feldmancreative.com/ Barry Feldman

    Q: How can you empower these fans to spread the word? How can you make it stupid easy for them to share how much they love you or share the content you want to get out there? 

    A: It appears the best way is to BE social media.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      True dat, Barry! :-)

  • Charlotte Varela

    Definitely some interesting results in here! Who’d have thought a brand like Pandora would rank 6th in the most hated stakes?

    Most interesting though are the Facebook and Twitter standings in both categories. The way I see it is that, for all their flaws, they’re the only place users can rally the troops and voice their qualms for potentially millions of people and all their closest friends to see. They’re the networks we love to hate and use to hate. You only have to look at the Facebook addiction stats to see how engrossing they are to their most faithful users, whether they like it or not.
    Whatever the haters say, social media is here to stay, and those who ignore any complaints voiced over their chosen networks do so at their own peril.

    • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

      I know, right? I love Pandora. I can’t imagine how you could hate it, but clearly people do. And I think you could be right, our love/hate relationship with Facebook and Twitter could be because we’re waiting for something better to come along. I’m sure a lot of the Facebook stuff is related to new features that roll out. Thanks for commenting!

      • http://twitter.com/LisaMcManusJD Lisa C. McManus

        I was shocked at the haters of Pandora! I listen to it all day – love love love it! Thanks for the interesting lists, Nichole. Good stuff!

    • http://www.feldmancreative.com/ Barry Feldman

      I think you have to take this info for what it’s worth, which is a mystery. Not dissin’ Netbase (a client of mind), but I’m suggesting it’s an imperfect measurement. You could say “I hate when Pandora drops” or “I hate the rap song I just heard on Pandora” and neither is an expression of hatred for Pandora. Right?

  • http://twitter.com/ShareOMarketing Glenn Cressman

    I was amazed by how similar the lists are!  Perhaps this is more a list of the “most mentioned” brands… love ‘em or hate ‘em.

  • http://twitter.com/joey89924 joey

    I was curious about how advocates and detractors mention brands online.
    L7805CV

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