Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Famecount - keeping tabs on social media efforts

As we enter the end of the group stage of the World Cup finals in South Afirca. It's not just teams like England. Germany and Portugal who nervously await their fate, the lack of progress into the knockout stages will have serious financial and status implications. The financial gold-mine that is the World Cup is also a vital time for many of the world's biggest brands. Will there huge investments to become FIFA partners pay off? Brands such as McDonald's and Hyundai have spent 100s of millions of US$ to be part of the world's biggest sporting event over the last 10-12 years.

Another brand looking nervously at its investment is Adidas. As official sportswear partner of the World Cup finals, Adidas gets a huge boost at every finals - from player and team endorsement through to pitch-side perimeter boards and sponsored TV coverage in certain territories. However there is a dark spectre making Adidas very nervous, and that is its old rival Nike. Nike have continued their policy of become official partner of the FIFA event, but they stick to their 'ambush marketing' strategy plus massive sums paid to individual players and football federations to supply kits.

Nike have already claimed to be the winner in this mammoth head to head of the sports giants. This seems a little premature but Nike feel they are winning the battle of the buzz. According to Nielsen Buzzmetrics, Nike have achieved a 30.2% of the brand buzz around South Africa 2010, while Adidas trail with 14%. Time will tell but it does throw up interesting questions about how brands track and quantify their social media efforts.

One interesting tool that came to are attention a little while ago is Famecount http://http// a free service which creates a % Famecount or index for brands by aggregating their performance across Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Topping the Famecount brand charts right now is Starbucks, mostly due to its 8 million Facebook friends and near 1 million Twitter followers. Starbucks embraced social media some time ago, so they have been adding friends and followers in a gradual organic manner, hence their Famecount of 68.8%. In second place sits uber-brand Coca-Cola with 52% and Pepsi nowhere to be seen. Coke's closest category rival in the social space appears to be Red Bull, thanks in part to more You Tube channel subscribers. Clearly a reflection of the original content Red Bull as a brand prides itself on and which indeed its brand DNA is built on.

What is interesting is that few of the top 20 brands in the survey are doing particularly well with their You Tube strategy. While Famecount assigns the lowest value to You Tube (25% vs 45% for Facebook and 30% for Twitter), a well executed You Tube channel can be incredibly powerful for brands. Hence the virtually unknown outside of social media, Blendtec, achieving a position of 39th, just behind Pizza Hut and ahead of Blackberry. All on a spend in the region of a few $100,000 versus $100,000,000. The Blendtec channel, "Will it Blend" is a cult success, with brand owner Tom Dickson blending everything from golf balls to an I Pad. As of mid June 2010, the brand has received over 117 million views on You Tube.

Famecount certainly does illustrate how smaller brands can and are outwitting their bigger spending rivals with smart social media strategies. Both Jet Blue and South West Airlines are 2 smaller US airlines with Famecounts in the top 20. In part this is due to their long-held customer service principles but also their novel use of the this newer media space. Southwest have games imbedded into their Fan-page that encourage the user to share with their Facebook friends. Easy, simple tactics that more brands should try to emulate.

And so back to Adidas and Nike. Well according to this slice of social media life, it is Adidas who are trumping their Amercian rival. Adidas Orginals has a score of 37.8% driven by its 3 million Facebook friends. As a follower of this myself, I know its good rich and engaging content, not just ads. This week for instance, we had the chance for a live chat with Adidas-star Snopp Dogg. I'm sure he'd love to know his famecount before he re-negotiates his next contract, well now he can use this great tool to find out.