Retailers and technology brands lead the way when it comes to the brands Australian consumers love online, according to the first ‘Brand Love List’ produced by NetBase for the Australian market.

While US giants Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Apple took out top positions on the list, local retailers such as Woolworths, Coles, Myer, Bunnings, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Big W all made the cut.

NetBase is a US-based technology platform that allows brands to monitor how consumers are interacting with their brands online, including on social media and through review websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Its inaugural list of the most loved brands in Australia is based on English-language social media posts that originated from Australia, between September 2015 and September 2016. The list is ranked according the the number of positive mentions received by the brands in that period.

Of the 50 brands to make the list, 16% operate in the retail industry and 14% come from the technology sector. Next in line were brands in the social media and SMS space (10%), financial services (10%) and entertainment (10%).

Twelve Australian companies made the top 50, with the local cohort lead by Telstra, Qantas, Optus, Woolworths and Virgin Australia.

This compares to the 22 US companies that make the list. Seven Japanese companies are featured in the top 50, along with four German companies, two from South Korea, and one each from Denmark, France and Italy.

The focus of the NetBase report was brands most associated with expressions of love and the public social media posts analysed by NetBase were filtered for a lengthy list of words that express love, including “amazing”, “awesome”, “cool”, “excited”, “outstanding”, “perfect”, as well as phrases such as “can’t live without” and “obsessed with”.

However, the company said it only included mentions where the consumer was directly talking about the brand, rather than instances where someone happened to use one of the keywords in close proximity to the brand.

Not everyone is feeling the love

The NetBase rankings also provide overall “sentiment” scores for the brands on the list, which measures whether consumers were feeling positive or negative towards a brand, as well as the level of “passion” towards the brand.

For example, in the retail space, Woolworths received the most “love” mentions of the Australian brands but its net sentiment ranking was 3%. Its ‘passion intensity’ ranking was 40.

This compares to a brand such as Myer that received a much lower number of ‘love’ mentions, but recorded a net sentiment ranking of 57% and a ‘passion intensity’ score of 71.

The differing levels of positivity towards many of the brands on the list can be seen in the countless examples of customers using social media to vent their frustration when something is amiss, such as when angry shoppers took to Facebook to complain about changes to Woolworths’ loyalty scheme in December 2015.

Speaking to SmartCompany, NetBase chief marketing officer Paige Leidig acknowledged that all brands receive both positive and negative feedback, but said the focus of this report is on the positive feedback.

“Most consumer purchases are won on emotion,” Leidig says.

“The more passion for the brand, the less the consumer relies on price as the deciding factor.”

It is also hard to escape the fact that the 50 brands on the list are all large businesses, with many large multinational corporations.

But Leidig says the brands are not simply on the list because of their size.

“There are some inherent advantages that large corporates can have with respect to investment and dollars that they could apply to social media,” he says.

“But, we have found consistently that companies, independent of size, that truly listen and understand their audience and further connect with them on an emotional level can significantly drive positive engagement that can impact their business.”

“All the corporates that performed well in our report go out of their way not simply to push their owned content but instead actively listen, [and] connect with their advocates and consumers to develop a connection.”

Australia’s 50 most loved brands on social media, according to NetBase

  1. Instagram
  2. Facebook
  3. Amazon
  4. Twitter
  5. Apple
  6. Snapchat
  7. Pokemon
  8. Pinterest
  9. Etsy
  10. PlayStation/Sony
  11. Telstra
  12. Netflix
  13. Disney
  14. eBay
  15. Qantas
  16. Microsoft
  17. McDonald’s
  18. Ford
  19. Optus
  20. Nintendo
  21. Target
  22. Samsung
  23. Lego
  24. Woolworths
  25. Nike
  26. Toyota
  27. Coke
  28. BMW
  29. Virgin Australia
  30. HP
  31. Visa
  32. KFC
  33. Mercedes
  34. Macquarie
  35. LG
  36. Westpac
  37. ANZ
  38. Canon
  39. Ferrari
  40. Chanel
  41. Porsche
  42. Intel
  43. Vegemite
  44. Westfield
  45. Honda
  46. Myer
  47. Adidas
  48. Delta
  49. Commonwealth Bank
  50. Nissan

This article was first published on SmartCompany.

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