Farshad Family, Managing Director, Nielsen Media, India talks to Dipali Banka about the Nielsen-McKinsey Social Media Brand Equity Ranking (SMBER) index and how it was arrived at
NM Incite, a Nielsen-McKinsey launched Social Media Brand Equity Ranking (SMBER) index, says telecom and automotive sector brands have been most successful in generating social media buzz and positive online public sentiment. In the top 20 list of the SMBER index, eight telecom brands (Samsung mobile phones, LG Electronics, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Docomo, HTC) and six automotive brands (Ford, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Volkswagen India, Hyundai Motor India, BMW India) find place. Surprisingly, only one FMCG brand - Nestle’s Maggi - figures in the list, and on media brand, Channel V. The SMBER analysis covers the social media buzz from January 1 to December 31, 2011 for 400 brands in India.
Q] How have you gone about this entire study?
We looked at five main components. The first was the kind of following that each brand had on Facebook and Twitter. However, everybody following the brand is not always engaged with the brand. So then we looked at how many unique members are talking about the brand. Then we looked at the buzz level, which includes the volume of conversation around the brand on Facebook and Twitter. On the more qualitative side, we looked at what sentiment is being generated by all these conversations, whether it is positive or negative or neutral. The fifth one was about the breadth of coverage that a brand has on social media. The brands that feature among the top 20 have a high aggregate across these five parameters.
Q] What were the key factors that you observed for brands in telecom and automotive sector that brought them in the top 20 of the index?
These brands have done a better job of figuring out how to engage with people who are online. So they clearly generated a lot of discussion around their brand like about products of the company, television advertising, etc. Social media is really about interaction. It is a platform for a discussion, interaction and these companies have done it better than those who are not in the top 20. Amongst the auto brands, a lot of people who are engaged on social media are not only current car owners of the brand but also prospective buyers or enthusiasts.
Q] The index also builds on Nielsen’s globally used proprietary tools for measuring brand equity and brand health in the off-line world. What are these proprietary tools?
There is Nielsen’s proprietary brand equity model that we use to rank brands and strengthen their equity in the Indian market. We’ve been doing that for several years. We look at a lot of drivers behind how brands are measured in terms of equity in the offline space. And we said that we should bring in some of the elements, if not all, in the online index because brand owners and managers have a common way of thinking about brand equity and we wanted this to be helpful for them.
Q] Could you tell us which of the ‘off-line’ measuring tools you have used in this particular study, and why?
The Social Media Brand Equity Ranking model is inspired by the winning brands model, which considers brand awareness and likeability. Taking off from that, we conceived parameters specially to gauge these in the online space. Thus devised ‘buzz volume’ and ‘presence across platforms’ components as a measure of awareness, while using ‘sentiment’ and ‘number of authors’ to measure likeability for the social media platform. No offline tools were used.
Q] Channel V is the only media brand figuring among the top numbers. Why?
Channel V has a steady stream of updates on topics related to movies, sports, fashion, celebrities and music videos. They share a lot of common facts and people get very active discussing these. There is also a fair amount of video and photo upload, which is also a big draw for Channel V.
Q] There is only FMCG brand that figures in the top 20 list. Why so?
Maggi is probably one of the key brands in FMCG space that has generated a steady stream of buzz in the online world. They have a wide range of people who engage with them in conversations. They talk about Maggi as a midnight snack, time saver, life saver, etc. There are people who share Maggi recipes. There is a lot of connection with the brand. And Maggi does well across most of the platforms and not just Facebook.
Q]Telecom and Automotive are high involvement sectors, which explains the high level of buzz around these brands. However, there are also other high involvement sectors like travel, financial services, etc which do not figure in the list...
Though they have a decent amount of interaction online, a lot of conversations are negative. People have complaints about customer service or the product. That generates a negative score for them.
Q]What were the key challenges that you faced while putting this study together?
The one challenge was compiling a list that reflects the entire universe of brands in India. We decided to focus on brands with a strong B2C focus, and hence restricted the list to 400 companies across sectors.