Coke, Apple lead WOM charts

13 December 2010

NEW YORK: Coca-Cola and Apple are among the few global brands generating substantial word of mouth among consumers in Australia, the UK and US.

Consultancy Keller Fay conducts regular research covering the companies and products stimulating the most buzz among consumers in these three nations.

It reported that food and dining generated the highest amount of interest in each country, followed by the media and entertainment sector.

Within this, some 43% of Americans agreed they "closely followed" the food and dining category to find out "what's new", as did 38% of their peers in Australia and 37% in the UK.

Technology delivered a 40% score on this measure in the UK and 38% in Australia, compared with 34% among the American panel.

Media and entertainment also posted 38% in the UK, 35% for the Australian sample and 34% in the US.

Overall, Keller Fay found that the majority of conversations relevant to specific brands were essentially positive in tone.

Scores on this measure reached 66% in the US, 62% among Britons and 61% concerning Australians.

Indeed, Keller Fay's analysis suggested less than 10% of discussions where companies, goods and services are name-checked directly could be described as "primarily negative".

At present, only 7% of WOM is generated via the internet, while almost 80% occurs face-to-face.

The telephone held a 14% share of American chatter, measured against 11% in the UK and 10% in Australia.

Marketing and advertising also featured in nearly 50% of interactions regarding brands, be it in the form of a reference to a TV spot, coupon, website, in-store promotion or similar alternative.

Some differences do exist, however, as shown by separate analysis conducted by Keller Fay and Universal McCann concerning the travel segment.

For example, Australian and British consumers usually mention travel brands over four times a week, compared with approximately 2.5 times among their American counterparts.

Despite this, the US audience recorded a net advocacy rating of 47% when speaking about travel brands, falling to just over 30% in the other markets.

Elsewhere, little consistency was observable regarding brands, with Coca-Cola and Apple the only two members of the top ten "most talked-about" offerings in each nation.

Keller Fay suggested Telstra, number one in Australia, and Tesco, assuming the same position in the UK, achieved their respective positions as a result of factors such as penetration, adspend and ubiquity.

"Differences in the word of mouth performance of individual brands around the world is a key reason that marketers must depend on research to guide marketing strategies," said Brad Fay, Keller Fay's chief operating officer.

"But when it comes to larger question of the role of social influence in consumer marketing, we find there's much more that unites our planet than divides it."

Data sourced from Keller Fay; additional content by Warc staff