Back in November last year we mused on the possibility that share of social chatter might correlate with current, and predict subsequent, share of market.
Well we have since learned of pioneering research by the Kingston Business School, in particular under the steerage of Professor Robert East, which suggests that it probably does.
A published by Uncles, East, and Lomax, 2010, (see footnote for details) demonstrated how levels of Word-of-Mouth discussion has a 0.8 correlation with market share.
Moreover, shares of positive WOM comments correlate at a level of 0.9, whilst negative correlates at a lower rate of 0.7. This, they explain, is because positive WOM comes mostly from current owners / users whilst negative WOM relates mostly to previous owners.
If you think about it this does make sense.
If a brand has a problem (like the famous Perrier water contamination, or the negative stories associated with Dasani) then volumes of negative chatter will rapidly out-perform market share performance, but market share may well stay low long after the volumes of negative conversations have declined.
Moreover, they quoted in 2010 that First Direct and Waitrose were getting a more positive share of WOM than their market share, whilst Tesco was getting noticeably less.
Looking back now we can see how this has translated into the subsequent fortunes of these 3 companies over the subsequent few years.
Monitoring and managing WOM is therefore a powerful tool for long term brand success.
BUT – you do not get positive WOM recommendation unless you’ve done something to deserve it.
Moreover, Professor East, in work he says is yet to be published, quotes strong evidence he has that ‘satisfaction’ is (not surprisingly) the most important antecedent of WOM chatter about 40% of the time. That is a pretty big single contributory factor.
Our research, as we have indicated before, shows that “Willingness to Recommend” is influenced by the five key drivers of brand preference.
And you can track your performance on those drivers.
And you can pull real marketing levers to manage them in a positive way.
To find out how, stay tuned to Schezzer over the coming months.
Your brand could be seriously richer as a result.
Reference: Uncles M, East R, and Lomax W (2010) Market Share is Correlated with Word of Mouth Volume; Australasian Marketing Journal 18 (p145-150).