Apple dominates ‘most loved brands’ list: Understanding consumer preference

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


Enterprise social media analytics provider NetBase has released its Brand Passion report, with Apple taking home four of the top six rankings.

The iPhone finished top of the pile, with Apple itself finishing third, and the iPad and MacBook Air taking positions five and six. Sandwiched between them were Disney (#2) and boutique online retailer Etsy (#4), while rounding out the top 10 were Starbucks, Netflix, Chipotle and McDonald’s.

The methodology in putting this report together was a tad unconventional to say the least. NetBase analysed English language posts across the public social web looking for terms such as ‘adore’, ‘amaze’, ‘awesome’ and so on. Extra steps were taken to remove red herrings such as bot posts and sarcastic  terms, as can be seen in this American Airlines Twitter fiasco from 2013, as well as ensuring instances where ‘love’ was an insight for the brand, rather than a keyword, went in.

Similarly, certain categories were deemed off-limits by the researchers, including religion, major institutions, locations, celebrities, TV shows, and media outlets. The data was gathered through analysing 24 million posts across one year and 84 countries, between February 2014 and 2015.

“Understanding consumer preference is one part art, and one part science,” the report notes. “It’s about more than measuring the volume of social content or sentiment. It’s also about the intensity of passion and feeling – and that’s information that can drive intelligent brand decision-making.”

The concept of measuring quality over quantity is a prescient one. With an increasing number of platforms available, and an infinitesimal amount of noise, it’s easy to get suckered into producing a ton of content.

But that’s not a winning strategy. Twitter itself has advocated to brands using its platform the need to stick to only two objectives of ‘fun’, ‘information’ and ‘help’. Supporting the entire customer lifecycle is key, as a recent report from Gleanster Research and Act-on Software found; marketers need to treat it as one operation instead of punting customers around between departments.

For Apple however, the key to ensuring brand love is having an iron-like grip on the overall experience, according to Brightcove CEO David Mendels. He told MarketingTech: “You want to control the brand experience so the user’s getting the experience that you want them to get. Apple takes that to an extreme that almost no one else does. That’s a core tenet of any CMO these days.”

If marketers start doing that, then results may start to get a lot rosier. You can read the full NetBase report here.

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