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With summer in full swing, we wanted to take a closer look at the true harbinger of the season: Ice Cream.

We analyzed social sentiment of over 36 million social posts to discover the flavors of ice cream the US likes best.

At first glance you may expect no flavors could measure up against Vanilla or Chocolate – but you’d be wrong! In fact, over 70% of states’ favorite flavor was something other than these two basic varieties.

Take a look at our infographic for an ice cream flavor breakdown by state:

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream 

Though Vanilla and Chocolate are the most mentioned flavors – followed by Cookie Dough, Cookies & Cream, and Strawberry (another core flavor) – social sentiment tells us a different story.

When we account for Net Sentiment (measure of emotions from -100 to +100) and Passion Intensity (measure of strength of emotions from -100 to +100), the top three most beloved flavors are:

  1. Cookies and Cream – Net Sentiment 95, Passion Intensity 100
  2. Moose Tracks – Net Sentiment 89, Passion Intensity 100
  3. Caramel – Net Sentiment 86, Passion Intensity 96

With any social engagement you want to follow the love, so you can connect authentically.

It’s the difference between talking to a coworker in the breakroom about the weather, or about the crazy twist on last night’s episode of Better Call Saul. The former is polite and noncommittal, while the latter builds on a friendship that could last for years.

If you want long and loyal relationships with your customers, appeal to their passion. Always.

Take a Rocky Road Trip

Something like favorite ice cream flavors is one example of a trait you could use to define an audience segment.

This information might be combined with other social insights – like what consumers do when enjoying ice cream. Perhaps they are most likely to eat it at sporting events, while at the beach, or at the end of a leisurely dinner out.

Just as important to this equation is where certain flavors are popular. Would you expect Green Tea to be the flavor ice cream lovers in New Hampshire are most passionate about? Or for Texas to be the state where Chocolate is tops?

With social analytics you must let go of any expectations and follow the data.

So how can knowing where certain flavors are popular help your brand?

Well, obviously, if you’re an ice cream brand, supplier, or vendor this is crucial information to have. Your Vermont restaurant might do well to keep Cotton Candy ice cream on hand. Your Arkansas movie theater should stock Cookies & Cream ice cream for sure.

Knowing a particular city or state loves certain flavors more than others means you can adapt your production and shipping schedules to ensure consumers demands are always met.

What about other brands? Here are some ways you can make use of this geographical data:

  • Flavored versions of other CPG products – like coffee creamer or popcorn
  • Flavored or scented cosmetics
  • Use this info as a way into social conversations with your brand – even if your product has nothing to do with ice cream

And those are just a few suggestions. More ideas are sparked when you look further to Trending Topics and Trending Hashtags. For instance, the Museum of Ice Cream is prominent on both counts. Businesses in New York or San Francisco could offer ticket discounts, or even host local events at the museum.

It’s up to you to look at your specific audience analytics to understand how to use such insights, but ice cream is a very unifying summer topic.

Don’t forget to use image analytics as well. Pictures of ice cream may not include a caption or brand mention. You may only have logo recognition from your brand name on a cup or wrapper to alert you in these cases. But you want to be aware of this part of the conversation.

The Cherry on Top

Social sentiment is like a beacon guiding your brand. Without it, you’re guessing. With it, you have access to an endless list of passions you can use to engage your audience.

If ice cream isn’t their thing, find out what is. Then talk to them about it. It really is that simple.

Want to see a demo of our sentiment analysis tools? Reach out and we’ll customize for your brand!

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