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Global brands Facebook and YouTube more relevant for India within social media: Golin’s Study

Golin’s global research focused on three categories that touch billions of lives every day: social media, personal banking and automotive. The one dimension that is currently driving relevance across all categories is popularity – being talked about and recommended by others

Fred Cook

Social media is a highly relevant category in India with Facebook and YouTube ranking at the top in relevance, says a study by Relevance India, GolinOpinion’s first marketing product. The study indicated that the local channel Hike is less relevant in India compared to the global channels.

GolinOpinion, the PR division of PointNine Lintas, released the study recently. Fred Cook, Global Chairman, Golin, unveiled the Relevance framework, which is being rolled out globally. The research was conducted in 13 markets, including India, covering over 13,000 respondents. The survey population encompassed millennials (18-34), Gen-x (35-54) and boomers (55+).

The first round of data from the study indicates that in the battle for relevance, truth is having a moment of truth. Golin’s global research focused on three categories that touch billions of lives every day: social media, personal banking and automotive.

The one dimension that is currently driving relevance across all categories is popularity – being talked about and recommended by others showing that talkability trumps truth.

Speaking about the findings, Cook said, “Relevance is what attracts and keeps people paying attention to what brands have to say and moves them to act. This is something that we, as marketers and communicators, can directly impact. We’ve been studying, and perfecting the art of analysing relevance for years because we understand that it is the most important measurement of a brand. Our research indicates that despite people being continually let down by the perceived trustworthiness and truthfulness of brands, they continue to buy their products and services.”

For the India market, within the three categories studied, it was found that in the social media category, people don’t need truth; they want to be entertained. People prefer local banking over global – and since all banks are under-delivering on the ideal, unique relevance drivers in this category have emerged. And the automotive category struggles to have a breakout relevance brand leader.

An ideal banking brand in India is trustworthy, effective and transparent. As with other categories, respondents scored brands very similarly to one another, though SBI scores higher against the ideal and exceeds expectations on essential and popular. No other bank in 12 other countries, where the research was done, scored so high on trust.

The automotive sector, which covered global brands, shows Honda as a clear relevance leader in India, followed by a close competition between Toyota and Ford. Nissan has low relevance, while Fiat is barely known. In India, an “ideal” automotive brand is trustworthy, effective, authentic and innovative. However, there is little difference in how consumers score each brand.

The study includes India and the data has been mapped across 13 countries, throwing up some interesting similarities and anomalies. GolinOpinion has taken the research framework and customised it to a dashboard for brands to monitor their health on the 15 parameters of relevance. Clients in India can subscribe to relevance to add their product category and brands to the Relevance dashboard.

Vikas Mehta

Speaking of the India launch, Vikas Mehta, CEO, PointNine Lintas, said, “Finding a unified metric that can measure the impact of multiple marketing initiatives is one of the biggest challenges today’s marketers face. In Relevance, I believe GolinOpinion has found a viable choice that replaces data analysis with data analytics. It’s a great way for any brand to find out where they stand versus competition, locally or globally.”

Developmental work is being done in Chicago and Mumbai, to further improve functionalities of the tool, including real-time data integration.

Ameer Ismail

Ameer Ismail, Chief Growth officer, PointNine Lintas and President GolinOpinion, said, “As the landscape changes rapidly and as brand managers or communication professionals it is extremely important to have data-based insights to decide the interventions that are important for the brand and its agency partners. This is tool is designed to give brands an edge.”

Conducting a brand audit, or an ongoing consumer track, is a tedious and expensive way for brand managers to find out the health of their brand, making it a luxury only the bigger brands can indulge in. Relevance is fast, robust and yet, easy to use.

Mehta adds, “Today we have access to tools, talent and technology to replace periodic data collection with real-time data. Most brand tracks today are like an annual health check a brand does. They tell you everything in hindsight. Our vision for relevance is foresight. We want to make it the FitBit of brand health that every brand manager can access.”

Some more interesting aspects:

People around the world believe that their ideal brand would deliver on being trustworthy (ethical, moral, honest and truthful). However, according to the research, the reality is different. Of the most relevant brands studied, 0 per cent met the ideal when it came to being trustworthy; leading brands aren’t seen as relevant. 91 per cent of the most relevant brands studied exceed the expectation when it comes to being popular. This is a part of a major shift.

Having lost faith in brands and institutions, people are looking to each other, to their trusted tribes – friends, family, advocates and influencers – for validation in the choices they are making. Popularity isn’t a frivolous, fleeting dimension. Talkability means putting a premium on the people who will vouch for and recommend your brand.

Macro global trends included:

Screens win out over people: Social media (59 per cent) and television (57 per cent) consistently ranked first and second above “word of mouth from friends and family” (45 per cent) as the most relevant sources of news and information. Word of mouth from friends and family is more relevant to women (50 per cent) than men (39 per cent).

People are drawn to pragmatic and funny: The top characteristics of information people found relevant were useful/practical (54 per cent), informative (53 per cent), and funny (35 per cent), beating out others like inspiring, shocking and exciting.

The relevance fingerprint

Using a proprietary methodology, Golin was able to uncover and understand the relevance landscape and fingerprint for each of the three categories they studied – including which brands have higher than average enthusiasm in their category. “We selected three industries that are powering the global economies of communications, finance and transportation in order to get a wide-ranging view of how consumers relate to relevant brands and categories,” said Neal Flieger, Managing Director of Golin’s Washington, D.C. office and head of GolIntel, Golin’s dedicated research team. “In the coming years, we will examine additional categories of business and industry in order to continue to paint a broad picture of what makes a brand relevant.”

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