The Monthly Social Index Spotlight: Lush Cosmetics, Dior, Green Mountain Coffee, J.C. Penney, SonyMarch 15, 2012 By Carolee Sherwood
The Monthly Social Index Spotlight is a new ROI Report column that features a monthly update from Media Logic’s Retail Social Juice Index, a daily ranking of social engagement scores for hundreds of national retailers. Media Logic distills data from Facebook and Twitter daily and turns it into a score which represents the effectiveness of a brand’s interactions with its fans and followers. ROI's monthly column will highlight specific index scores for a given month, along with commentary about the findings.
Nothing delights us more than when brands offer amazing customer experiences. So it's wonderful to see retailers with character scoring high on Media Logic’s Retail Social Juice Index (RSI) in January. LUSH Cosmetics, for example, spent more than half the month in the Top 10 and never fell lower than a score of 15. Yes, LUSH runs promotions, but its consistently high engagement scores come from regular posts that express its distinct personality and tap into the enthusiasm of its fans.
This retailer is edgy and flirtatious. It has fun. It’s a tease. As I write this article, the default tab for the brand says in big and bold letters, “Our products are naked; like us and take a peek.” The brand’s mission, as stated on its info tab, includes this: “We believe in happy people making happy soap, putting our faces on our products and making our mums proud.” LUSH's Facebook wall illustrates the pride it has for its products and people.
LUSH's wall posts include announcements about Twitter and Facebook chats with staff from the manufacturing department (like Reggie, a “product making expert” who poses with grapefruits held up to his chest), photos of LUSH’s office dogs, “good karma tips” like pay a compliment to the next person you see, and promotions like a Memorable Kiss Contest.
Another brand sitting pretty in the index is Dior. The engagement score of this popular retailer is quite volatile — a range of three to 201 for the month. A close look at the brand’s posting habits tells us why.
Since its wall is closed to fan posts, Dior’s engagement relies almost entirely on interactions with brand posts such as beautiful photos posted solo or in albums (both with and without accompanying status updates) and exclusive content (sans promotions and giveaways). Dior doesn’t post every day. In fact, the brand took an 11-day social media vacation during January.
What's more, its RSI scores can dip dramatically between posts, falling off almost entirely during its extended silence. However, its first day back, Feb. 6, Natalie Portman’s eyelashes earned nearly 16,000 "Likes," 360 comments and 812 shares. Does Dior’s absences make fans' hearts grow fonder? Is Dior keeping brand advocates hungry intentionally or posting according to its own whims? Either way, it engages successfully with fans over and over.
Sometimes a brand’s RSI score launches into the stratosphere seemingly out of the blue. Green Mountain Coffee, for example, gave away free hot chocolate in January, which drove record-setting levels of engagement due to the viral effect from the offer being picked up by sweepstakes and giveaway networks, as well as criticism that the promotion’s entry mechanism wasn’t working properly.
After sputtering for a couple weeks just increments above and below the overall RSI average, J.C. Penney spent the last third of the month among our high scorers on account of its “Fair and Square” rebranding. Though not all of the conversations were positive. Fans were venting about the changes to its pricing, the retailer’s TV/radio spots and its new spokesperson Ellen Degeneres. Brand advocates, however, rushed to the company — and Ellen’s — defense.
One fan’s comment sums up the resulting boost in engagement, which accounted for five status updates after the rebranding, more than 23,000 likes and nearly 8,000 comments (in addition to hundreds of fan posts directly on the wall): “Ha ... what's funny is even though 75% of you are COMPLAINING about the commercial ... it got you to buzz about JCP! That drives google searches, google panda and everytime you post it goes on YOUR Page, so everyone you know sees your post then they post and so on and so on...exponential marketing...so you are actually HELPING JCP...the company "you don't like." Think before you FB! Congrats JCP, great ad - its doing the job!”
Unfortunately, Sony’s rocket to RSI stardom had nothing to do with a promotion or rebranding. Hackers flooded Sony's Facebook page with thousands of comments petitioning against its support of the controversial SOPA bill (a bill that called for the expanded ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods). The attacks peaked Jan. 18 and Jan. 19, as decisions from Senate and House leaders neared. Although the comments continued through February, it seemed to be at a trickle and Sony’s engagement scores began to normalize.
Takeaways from this month's social index spotlight include the following:
- No two brands are alike. No two brand communities respond to the same social content. LUSH Cosmetics knows fans want fun and games, some face time with Reggie and behind-the-scenes access.
- Green Mountain Coffee and J.C. Penney gave fans something to talk about — the good with the not so good. For a number of days they had consumer attention in the social space Can they keep it?
- Sony is a great brand, but it's a given that we live in highly political times. Consumers in the social space are never shy about cheering and jeering. Cause marketing and lobbying strategies aside, brands must actively manage their social streams and have a plan for real-time crisis management.