January is the month of New Year’s resolutions – last year we looked at diets and gyms, and this year we’ve taken a look at health food crazes. In keeping with this theme, I decided to round out January with a second Brand Passion Index on the workout gear that is keeping social consumers honest. I’ve never been a big runner, but in the past my sneaker of choice was always Ryka; I have small ankles and a narrow foot and they were always perfect for me. Nowadays, I’ve been hitting the yoga mat, so I’m far from a sneaker expert. Luckily, the newest member of the NetBase Marketing team, Dave Ewart, is both an ardent runner and a triathlete, so I turned to him for a lineup of the biggest names in sneakers, and learned about some new brands in the process. With Dave’s help, we settled on these seven: Skechers, Puma, NikeVibramFiveFingers, Saucony and Reebok.

Some of these brands were really new to me – I’d previously been referring to Vibram with the incredibly technical term of “foot gloves” (did I mention I’m not a runner?) – so the data surfaced by the Insight Workbench was fresh and interesting. Well, mostly fresh. Surprise, surprise: Nike was the buzz winner, with 44% of the overall conversations, though its other metrics were, compared to the other brands, kind of average, with a Passion Intensity score of 63 and a Net Sentiment of 71. Saucony tied with Skechers for the highest Net Sentiment score of 89, and also generated the second highest Passion Intensity with a 70. VibramFiveFingers generated only 6% of the overall chatter, but showed its presence
with the highest Passion Intensity score of 71 and a high Net Sentiment score of 80. Reebok nabbed the second highest volume of chatter with 26% of the conversations, but fell behind with the second lowest Passion Intensity score of 60 and the lowest Net Sentiment score of 57.

In this graphic, the amount of chatter about a brand is indicated by the size of the bubble, while the placement of the bubble shows the intensity of passion.

Verbatim surfaced about Saucony not only showed that online consumers are loyal to the brand because of its incredible and thoughtful
quality, but also surfaced some fascinating insights. As a CMO, I can see a whole campaign unfolding around the concept of sock-less Saucony shoes – and as an English major, I’m loving the alliteration!

Sooo excited to try out my new Saucony Hattori running shoes! They are minimalist shoes (socks optional) but still have wonderful cushioning on the soles

The cushioning of Saucony shoes is extremely well-designed

I now use Saucony Kinvaras, which are light and flexible and I’ve loved them so far

While I don’t think that VibramFiveFingers necessarily rolls off the tongue, the brand is clearly doing something right. Online consumers raved about the “revolutionary footwear” and all of the perks that come with this purist running technology.

Vibram 5 fingers are by far the best 

Vibram 5 Fingers footwear are probably the most revolutionary footwear available on the market today

The Vibram FiveFingers have really helped strengthen my feet and improve my balance/posture

Verbatim about Reebok really demonstrated to me a classic crisis management use case through the very modern lens of social media: how to
respond to your online consumers in the midst of a PR disaster regarding claims of easy toning.

Whew, Reebok got their hands slapped! Hope you didn’t fall victim to the faulty claims they made for these shoes

RT @MyFiveFingers: Spoiler alert: Those Reebok toning shoes don’t do anything (shocker!)

I got a pair of the Reebok Easy Tone shoes and they don’t do anything for me at all 

I got the reebok easy tones thinking that they would be comfortable and they actually hurt my feet! 

My reebok easytone was not good. It was messing up my knee and throwing off my balance with some of the moves 

Which brand are you lacing up these days? Let me know what your experience has been – tweet me @lisajoyrosner