Ford generates most WOM

11 November 2010

NEW YORK: Ford is the automotive brand generating the most word of mouth among American consumers, new figures show.

Keller Fay, the consultancy, assessed nearly 100,000 online and offline conversations between September 2008 and August 2010, taking in the depths of the downturn, which severely impacted carmakers.

It found that a third of US shoppers mentioned either an auto marque or the marketing activities run by specific firms in the sector at least once a day.

This equates to 116m interactions every 24 hours, occurring via mediums ranging from face-to-face discussions to email and text messages.

Approximately 61% of the relevant dialogue was described as being "mostly positive" in tone, and 11% was viewed as "mostly negative".

These scores were broadly in line with the technology segment, where favourable exchanges registered 63% and critical commentary stood at 9%.

Given the antipathy towards many automotive specialists in the recession, which saw GM and Chrysler file for bankruptcy protection, Keller Fay suggested this constituted an impressive performance.

Ford assumed the status as the "most talked-about" individual brand, a position it has retained throughout the period covered by Keller Fay's analysis.

General Motors' portfolio as a whole, however, held the largest "TalkShare" overall on 20.2%, measured against a market share of 18%.

Totals reached 19.2% and 16.7% respectively concerning Ford, while Toyota's ratings came in at 13% and 15.3%.

Chrysler featured in 10.5% of the monitored chatter and posted 10.3% of sales, with Honda referenced on 8.7% of occasions but delivering 10.2% of purchases.

Elsewhere, Nissan was name-checked in 4.6% of cases but holds 7.7% of the market.

Keller Fay noted the similarity between these metrics, and argued that companies effectively stimulating buzz were likely to enjoy significant benefits going forward.

"This comparison gives credence to the marketing adage of the more talkable a brand is the greater its market share," said John Moore, a TalkTrack Conversationalist at Keller Fay.

"Also, when a brand has greater TalkShare than market share, like General Motors and Ford, it bodes well for future sales leading to more market share."

Ford's sales rose by 19% in the US during October, and the organisation asserted its turnaround plans were now yielding meaningful results.

"Our October results show that our focused plan is working, as our four brands continue to grow," said Don Johnson, vice president of US sales operations.

"Our sales are up more than double the industry's increase through October, and we've gained almost two points of market share."

General Motors also recorded $2bn profits in the last quarter, based on revenues of $34.1bn (24.7bn; £21.3bn).

Data sourced from Keller Fay; additional content by Warc staff