Nike, Nike Run Club

While e-commerce stores continue to earn more than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, retailers must reach consumers on and offline to hit target goals. Engagement Labs, a Toronto-based technology and data company released a report ranking the top brands in customer engagement.

The heavy hitters? Athletic brands such as Adidas, Nike and Reebok. Of the top five retailers, Victoria’s Secret stood out as the only apparel company amongst ath-leisure brands, with Under Armour earning the fifth spot.

Why are athletic brands outperforming other retailers? They provide highly sharable content in a variety of avenues facilitating conversation, an area where most brands are falling short.

Brad Fay, chief research officer at Engagement Labs, remarked on the recipe to online success. “Adidas has done a great job of incorporating their social media approach in their overall marketing strategy. The brand understands their core social audience — who they are, what they like and which sites they visit online — and engages with these consumers by providing compelling stories and first access to new products and promotions that they wouldn’t get elsewhere.”

Brands are excelling at traditional marketing approaches. The apparel industry earns approximately two-thirds of sales from word of mouth, according to Engagement Labs. Retailers might consider quality over quantity when it comes to off-line marketing. “For brands to improve off-line sharing, they must ensure they are creating campaigns that will cause consumers to talk and drive those off-line conversations. It’s important to note that these campaigns should be both off-line and online to drive incremental off-line brand sharing,” Fay said.

The company’s new comprehensive tool, TotalSocial, gathered analytics by combining in-depth social listening data and offline metrics. TotalSocial distinguishes measurements in order to mark growth opportunities and potential risks.

According to Fay, brand performance was scored on factors including volume of conversation surrounding the brand; sentiment of said conversations; the level of brand sharing, and if influencers were engaged with the brand — this was the main driver of Adidas’ edge over Nike. Momentum was built into all metrics, demonstrating change over time. Additionally, the tool employed a patented word-of-mouth tracking system.

A personalized approach is key when it comes to reaching consumers. “In order to succeed, retail brands need to better understand their consumers and create content specifically for them,” Fay said.

Top 10 Total Social U.S. Retail/Apparel Brands

  1. Adidas
  2. Nike
  3. Victoria’s Secret
  4. Reebok
  5. Under Armour
  6. Forever 21
  7. American Eagle
  8. Polo Ralph Lauren
  9. Vans
  10. Puma
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