Focus on McDonalds, Coca Cola, Intel and Nike: what cyber chat can tell us about a global brand

McDonalds and Coca Cola are in that select group as being two of the world’s leading brands.  The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2011 puts McDonalds as the 4th leading global brand and Coca Cola as the 6th this year in terms of current and potential earnings on brand alone.

What does the Brand Aura: discover tool tell us about the context in which these strong global brands are talked about in everyday conversation?  Looking at Twitter data from 2nd – 7th Sep 2011, we can see firstly that the brand names, in this case ‘McDonalds’ and ‘Coke’ are used regularly in ordinary Twitter conversation.  As would be suspected, this shows they have become part of the everyday vernacular across the world.  Looking at the data in more detail we can see that Coke and McDonalds are both regularly found in context  with a verb –  ‘drink’, ‘get’, ‘have’.  People don’t just have a drink, they have Coke to drink.  You don’t just get a burger, you get a McDonalds.

Other words regularly associated with Coke and McDonalds are social, positive words such as ‘like’, ‘you’ and ‘lol’ (laugh out loud).  Using the brands Coke and McDonalds in cyber conversation with others makes a connection, something that everyone can understand therefore enhancing the online relationship.

Interestingly, what doesn’t come up regularly with either Coke or McDonalds are any negative sounding words.  The Coca Cola and McDonalds brands are strong with a positive aura around them when they are used in everyday conversation on Twitter.  There is little sign of the healthy eating message bringing down their brand in this context.

Nike and Intel are placed 57th and 58th in the same survey.  Although they are both a leading global brand, they are markedly down the list from the likes of McDonalds and Coca Cola.   So, can the Brand Aura: discover tool highlight a noticeable difference in the way these brands are talked about?

The first thing that we notice is the lack of verbs around the both Nike and Intel.  When we look at the words that appear regularly in context with the words Nike and Intel across Twitter data from the 2nd – 7th September 2011 we see a complete lack of verbs.  Clearly, they are different types of product to the likes of McDonalds and Coca Cola, but all the same we can say there is no sign that either company has entered the minds of consumers in the same way as the top brands.

The words that appear in close context to Intel on a regular basis are related to the function of its core product.  Words like ‘cpu’, ‘processor’ and ‘ram’.  These are factual words, with no emotions attached purely describing what it is.  Other words that appear in close context with Intel are ‘notebook’ and ‘laptop’.  When grouped together, it appears that Twitter users regularly use Intel when describing a product, for example I have a netbook with an Intel processor and XX Ram.  What this does show is that Intel processors are well thought of, enough to be mentioned by name.  But what Intel is lacking is the brand good will.  Unlike Coca and McDonalds, where we saw ‘like’ mentioned, there are no positive words used in association with Intel – other than purely technical terms, which require an understanding of what they mean for it to be considered positive or negative.

Nike, on the other hand, can be said to have this notion of brand good will.  The word ‘like’ regularly comes up in context with ‘nike’ in the Brand Aura: discover analysis.  Twitter users regularly use the specific names of the Nike products in context with the Nike name.  Words like ‘air’, ‘pace’ are regularly seen (Nike Air are a trainer product, Nike Pace are a football boot).  The other words used in context with Nike are ‘boots’, ‘socks’, ‘shoes’ and ‘you’.  Again this puts the product and the brand together – Nike boots, Nike shoes, Nike socks.  Twitter users are using the brand name together with the apparel to enhance their status and show their preference.  As you would expect from a clothing and footwear brand, the image is important, what other think is key shown by the use of the word ‘you’.

Overall, the one similarity across all four brands is the status that the brand gives the Twitter user.  Across the differing industries of beverage, fast food, clothing and technology the consumer uses the positive power of the brand to connect with others.  The Brand Aura analysis shows the ability of the brand to enhance the product itself – it’s an Intel processor and Nike shoes.  The most successful brands have achieved this to such a degree that the need for the noun disappears altogether – McDonalds & Coke exemplify this idea.

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One Response to Focus on McDonalds, Coca Cola, Intel and Nike: what cyber chat can tell us about a global brand

  1. This is fascinating. In the context of Facebook apparently wanting to ‘own’ our verbs and adverbs via Opengraph, the whole issue of meaning and sentiment associations is clearly a hot topic. Nouns (laptop, cpu, etc) relate merely to features. In classic Marketing terms Verbs suggest what effect the product / brand is having on the customer, or in other what is ‘does’ rather than what it ‘is’. The trick I guess is connecting pre-dispositional emotions with behaviours that drive the bottom line?

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