Apple is WOM king

3 October 2014

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ: Apple is the most talked about brand in the US, followed by Coca-Cola and Walmart, according to word-of-mouth (WOM) specialist Keller Fay.

An analysis of data from the company's TalkTrack, a system that measures both online and offline conversations about brands, revealed that Apple earned a projected 232m WOM impressions every week for the year to July, with Coca-Cola not far behind at 212m.

After Walmart, in third place, came Samsung, Pepsi, Verizon, AT&T, Ford, McDonald's and Target.

When Keller Fay turned its attention to WOM momentum to identify the ten brands with the largest year-over-year increase in projected WOM impressions, only Samsung of this group made the cut.

The Korean mobile manufacturer had registered a remarkable year-on-year increase of over 2 billion projected WOM impressions to become the brand with the most WOM momentum. Keller Fay noted that spending nearly $11.3bn worldwide on advertising in 2013 had helped the brand become even more discussed among consumers.

The next three WOM momentum spots were taken by more tech brands, including Amazon (+1.1bn WOM impressions), Microsoft (+741m) and Google (+548m), while Sony (+329m) and Netflix (+264m) also made appearances in sixth and eighth place respectively.

Chipotle (+353m) was the leading non-tech brand, followed by Starbucks (+285m), Chase (+255m) and United (+250m).

Keller Fay also identified and tracked a group of "highly engaged and highly connected consumers" who "often lead the way when it comes to brand WOM growth". In most cases these influencers were between three and five times more likely to talk about a brand than the general public. Only in two cases –Starbucks and United – did the public register more growth than the influencers.

A different take on WOM came from Robert East of Kingston University. Writing in Admap earlier this year, he reported that positive WOM is mostly given by current users and negative WOM mostly by past users, thus creating a 'honeymoon' period for new brands which do not have past customers.

Positive WOM can lead to social amplification, he added, whereby a user of a brand who hears positive comments about that brand is then more likely to speak positively about it themselves.

Data sourced from Keller Fay; additional content by Warc staff