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BizReport : Search Marketing : May 03, 2010

How important is total conversation to brand?

A new research project from Visible Technologies indicates that the overall conversation - the social media conversation and the search conversation - is incredibly important to brands. The problem? Many brands aren't managing the conversation correctly, which can harm brand in the long run, especially considering the long-reaching arm of search engines.

by Kristina Knight

visibletechnologies.gifBut search marketing is different than social marketing? Actually they are more linked than many marketers believe, especially now that most social conversations are being indexed by search engines. This can give either added lift to a brand or bring one small incident into the national consciousness.

"Your search reputation is a huge facet of your brand's reputation," was written in the report. "Managing it is extremely important in today's online society." Visible Technologies evaluated how 120 websites/brands were being seen by consumers in the search realm. Just over 60% of the conversations were positive, one-third (33%) were neutral and only about 5% of the comments found through search were negative.

That isn't so bad? Those are the results for brands as a whole, for specific products the results were quite different.

For example, they compared results for "Toaster Strudels" and "Pop-Tarts". The bulk of the positive comments were for "Toaster Strudel" pastries. Pop-Tarts were mentioned more often (a good mark) but Toaster Strudel's line received comments such as "Remarkable" and "Better" than Pop-Tarts. Pop- Tarts also received comments about being too sugary or not as nutritional as the competing brand.

And another example pitted Doritos against competitors such as Sun Chips and Chex Mix. Doritos had the highest brand awareness and had mostly positive comments, but were also noted to be 'the kind of food while watching TV'. Comparatively, the conversation about Sun Chips and Chex Mix focused on the nutritional benefits of each product and the 'greening' of Sun Chips' compostable bag.

Although brands cannot remove potentially harmful comments from the online universe, it is important to hear everything being said about a product because then brands have direction when planning campaigns. For example, while Pop-Tarts were seen as not as nutritional as Toaster Strudel, many consumers prefer them for the variety. This is an indicator that Pop-Tarts can continue to be a force in the pastry space by continually innovating new tastes. They could even, potentially, push farther into the space by developing more nutritionally-conscious lines of the snacks.

Tags: search conversations, search funnels, search marketing, social conversations, social marketing, social media, Visible Technologies

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