Tweets about brands are about information, not sentiment

Quite a few brands are probably carefully eyeing twitter trends with reference to their brand name, incase of negative remarks.

Now there is a study looking into how users are actually talking about brands on twitter. At ReadWriteWeb there is a post stating that tweets about brands are more often about information rather than sentiment.

According to the study, which looked at 150,000 tweets, 11.1% of the brand-related tweets were information-providing while 18.1% were information-seeking. The latter of these two is especially useful to companies looking to understand what questions and concerns customers have about their products. However, the large majority of the tweets – 48.5% – were simply comments made in passing which mentioned the brand but whose primary focus was something else.

In only roughly 23% users were expressing sentiment (positive or negative) about brands.

So why is that? Why don’t people express so many negative opinions on twitter as compared to the rest of the web? ReadWriteWeb assumes that it is the easy and quick handling of twitter which results in many more positive or neutral, fact based chatter.

That does make sense to me. People will go through a lot of effort, writing long and nasty blog posts, when they’re fed up. But they won’t do the same for positive or even neutral remarks, unless the brand experience was rather extraordinary.

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Ikea Midsommar Tour through Germany.

Martin, Sarah, Julian and Cornelia are cruising from on Ikea to the next all throughout Germany as part of an Ikea Midsommar Tour, in order to find the best Midsommar bargains in Germany.

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The whole journey is being documented in many (partially live) video shows, blogs of each of the four and a Google map where you can check on their current position. Of course, the four travellers also have twitter profiles.

What I find puzzling is the fact that the blogs neither allow for comments, nor do they offer permalinks. Not really blog-like, if you ask me.

Quite well done is their strategy to reactivate people that were fans of a previous campaign they did almost a year ago: the main character of that campaign – Nils, who back then was „waiting for September“ – started his Twitterfeed again, in order to point users who did not unfollow in the meantime (like yours truly) to the campaign.

The only thing that concerns me: it reminds me somehow of the Fake Walmart Blogger in 2006. Mind you, they do not conceil the fact that this is a campaign for Ikea, so you can’t really compare it…

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„Dinner in the sky“ Sweepstake in Germany

In Germany, bloggers receive presents from time to time, from companies who are probably hoping to stir up conversation about their product.

I have received some presents in the past already, however the most interesting one I got last week: a voucher for a „dinner in the sky“ for one person from mydays.de.

Very nice idea, I have to say. Unfortunately, it’s a little bit useless for me, since I am afraid of heights. Hence I have decided to give it away, via a sweepstake on my German Blog. Since the voucher can only be redeemed in 5 German cities, I assume this really is only interesting for my German readeres. You can find out more about what to do and until what date to enter my own little private sweepstake on my German blog.

For those thinking about it, here are the dates for which you can redeem the voucher (no guarantees given):

21.05 – 24.05.2009 Köln
12.06 – 14.06.2009 Frankfurt am Main
26.06 – 28.06.2009 München
17.07 – 19.07.2009 Berlin
07.08 – 09.08.2009 Hamburg

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New „State of the Blogosphere, 2008“

It seems to me like it’s been a long time since the last state of the blogosphere analysis of technorati. I think the last one must have been early 2007.

In the new publication, they offer much more insight than they used to. They conducted a survey amongst bloggers:

For the first time, we surveyed bloggers directly about the role of blogging in their lives, the tools, time, and resources used to produce their blogs, and how blogging has impacted them personally, professionally, and financially. Our bloggers were generous with their thoughts and insights.

The whole publication is split into 5 daily segments, but I look particularly forward to day 5, when they seem to publish information about brands entering the blogosphere. Here is a breakdown of the 5 segments:

    Day 1: Who Are the Bloggers?
    Day 2: The What And Why of Blogging
    Day 3: The How of Blogging
    Day 4: Blogging For Profit
    Day 5: Brands Enter The Blogosphere
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Vote for marketing memes on the web

I should have known. The chances of having an idea first are really slim. So someone, Alister, to be precise, came up with the idea to block the URL for Marketing Meme first. A URL that could be the meme-tracker of the marketing world, just as techmeme is the meme-tracker of the technology world.

Not sure when he came up with this, of course, it doesn’t say on the site. All it says is: your vote and support is needed here. And the post behind that link was written in December of last year (so I am probably only 5 months too late – which is a decade in internet terms). Now he is asking us from the marketing community to help him to get the guys from techmeme to setup a special service for the marketing industry:

I’d be happy to see some nice ongoing volume of inbound links from SEM Search, but honestly, I’d really like to see Gabe Rivera over at techmeme.com create a “marketingmeme.com“, that removes SEM/SEO/SMO/PR/etc stuff out of techmeme and puts it under its own “engine”, building off, say, Lee Odden’s list, with some fuzzy logic around that, finding other on-topic blogs as well.

So if you’re interested in having such a service (I am, for sure!), go over to this site and put your vote in the comments!

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Quantitative and qualitative influence in marketing

Over at the Online Spin blog, there is an interesting article about „peers vs influencers„. The question is, of course: who is your ideal target group. It’s the debate of Gladwells Tipping Point theory vs Duncan Watts argument, that there aren’t any network nodes more influential than others.

Joe Marchese says, there are indeed people who are more influential than others. But only in three dimensions – and they can vary according to topic, point in time and other variables for the same person:

–People have a quantity of influence: the maximum number of other people they can reach with a message.

–People have a quality of influence: the amount of influence they exert over those that they reach.

–People have types of influence: categories of “expertise” that other people assign to an individual.

If this is the case (if it is that easy), you can quickly deduct your target audience according to the marketing objective. Is it widespread awareness? Is it consideration? Is it increased sales?

Not sure if it is that easy. But it does sound nice to put these target groups against the typical marketing funnel. Only question remaining: can you always clearly distinguish one from the other these days? (I doubt that.)

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Chrysler listens, Starbucks wants ideas.

There seems to be a concurrent trend. Two companies just announced new projects / plattforms on which they want to listen to consumers, engage them, discuss product development with them.

Starbucks launched the website „My Starbucks Idea“ on which they aks users to provide Starbucks with their ideas:

You know better than anyone else what you want from Starbucks. So tell us. What’s your Starbucks Idea? Revolutionary or simple—we want to hear it. Share your ideas, tell us what you think of other people’s ideas and join the discussion. We’re here, and we’re ready to make ideas happen. Let’s get started.

As you would expect, you can post ideas, vote on other’s ideas, discuss ideas, etc. In addition, there is a blog called „ideas in action“ that covers the project. At the moment, some sources are rather cynical about the project, because people mostly just ask about free drinks, fre Wi-Fi, etc. I am curious to see if there will be some really good ideas with added value resulting from this approach.

Chrysler, on the other hand, will launch a „customer advisory board“ of up to 5.000 consumers chosen of those who will apply through the website to take part. Once they can access the forum, they can submit ideas, get a sneak peak at videos, etc. It will be interesting to see if they can capture the right target audience, to quote autoblog:

However, we’re a little unsure if the tactic will provide Chrysler with what it needs to shape the future of its products and services, considering that the only people likely to sign up are partisan pistonheads who are already married to the Mopar camp or slighted customers looking for a place to vent.

For some companies, this change in dealing with the (online) target group has resulted in successes, as Ad Age writes about the Dell case study:

This sort of online listening post worked for Dell, whose IdeaStorm website resulted in a few concrete product developments and, in turn, helped to turn some of the computer-maker’s fiercest critics. One of them, Jeff Jarvis, went from a state of high dudgeon on his blog to praise the company in BusinessWeek.

In my opinion these approaches should probably work fine, as long as there is added value for both sides. If the consumer ideas and suggestions are crap, useless, unreal or simply silly, the companies might soon stop asking consumers in this fashion. It would then be much easier to go back to the old fashioned model of focus group research, where the noise to signal ratio is much better.

On the other hand, there should be some real improvements/products/ideas coming out of these approaches, making the whole outcome visible to the participating audience, showing them that their little contribution did infact change the way these companies go to market (even if the resulting outcomes were not your own idea, you would appreciate the effort made by the company).

Otherwise we’ll start having similar symptons as you have in German elections nowadays. You feel like your vote is too small to make a difference – and heck, no matter what people vote for, it doesn’t feel like things change much anyway. So why bother.

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