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Sentiment Analysis Study – Capturing the Military Segment on Memorial Day and Beyond

Every holiday is an opportunity for brands to shine, but holidays can also be a little stressful. Every high impact opportunity online is fraught with social misstep potential, particularly if brands aren’t sensitive to cultural and social norms and aren’t paying close attention to real-time sentiment.

The way to approach each holiday is decidedly different – and we’re here to help you not step in it! So outside of the cookouts, sales and barbeques, here’s what we’re seeing for social sentiment about military this Memorial Day weekend, as well as tips to inform your future planning around targeting this (and any other) segment next time around.

Deciding Who Before What

Memorial Day, a time to honor those who lost their lives while serving their country, is a holiday where brands must tread lightly. A sales pitch isn’t necessarily the way to go on this day, but offering consumers savings is expected, so it’s a fine line to walk. Many a Memorial Day brand sale will do just fine offering 10% off and not mentioning military at all.

But others interested in capturing the military market, and their loved ones, can take a winning approach by focusing on honoring the fallen. And it’s a significant segment to capture the loyalty of, with 2.1 million military personnel, 200,000 of which are deployed overseas.

military deployment

And that 2.1 million figure doesn’t account for personnel’s families, so we can add another million on to that number and still be conservative. Any brand would do well to win them over.

So, what does the sentiment of this segment tell us to support this effort?

Finding the Sentiment of Your Selected Segment

It’s a constant struggle for veterans to feel supported, physically and emotionally. And although this holiday is about “honoring those” who’ve died, making mention of the struggle many veterans have to stay alive matters. The Sentiment Drivers support this:

military social sentiment drivers

When making sense of a word cloud display, you’ll see top items that surface depending on the display option selected:

  • Attributes displays the top positives (likes) or negatives (dislikes) expressed.
  • Emotions displays the top positive emotions (love) and the top negative emotions (hate).
  • Behaviors displays the top positive behaviors (buy) and the top negative behaviors (avoid)
  • Things displays frequently occurring objects of sentiment—locations, brands, people, and other items.

And here, with another way to approach it, using Storyscope, we can see that the negative sentiment is around the “disgraceful” way military personnel are treated – and a variety of terms that allow for further digging to find concepts that resonate for your brand. The inner circle items show the distribution of insight, with the outer circle sharing the conversations’ key terms grouped by insight:

Memorial Day social sentiment Storyscope

And exploring further into the sentiment, we see that while there’s a significant negative sentiment online, there’s also a solid neutral segment that could be won over. That group may offer an approach you’ve yet to consider, or give you incentive to tactfully tackle sensitive topics your brand may have shied away from in these politically charged times.

Military Neutral Social Sentiment

It really comes down to what makes sense for your brand and viewing your specific goals in light of the relevant sentiment driving a topic’s conversation. And a good social analytics tool, powered with Next Generation AI, acts as your compass on this journey.

Preparing to Move the Needle

The same insights will not work equally well for every brand, and digging deeper beyond your initial search is necessary, but understanding overarching topic sentiment points you in the right direction and helps you plan ahead for important holidays – and segments.

Exploring Popular Posts for Memorial Day, we see more than a few items that have had good engagement this past month, and exploring a few would show if the sentiment you’ve been uncovering (around “honoring” rather than “selling”) pans out:

Or could take a look at a random stream of posts containing filtered keywords (Memorial Day and Military) and rather than recreate the wheel, improve someone else’s:

Memorial Day Social Sentiment Stream

 A focus on female warriors to commemorate the day, for example (as seen above), could mesh well with many brands:

Memorial Day Women Warriors

Taking the info you find and refiltering your search to see if it jibes with what your audience is interested in isn’t hard to do. And if it is, you’re using the wrong tool.

Hitting It Hard

Probably the biggest draw this weekend though, and doing a great job at capturing its crowd, is the  NASCAR/Coca-Cola partnership for the Coca-Cola 600, with both brands benefiting from racing fans’ passion for patriotism:

Memorial Day Race Joey Logano reflects on what the Coca-Cola 600 weekend means to him and the importance of thanking our military for giving everyone the opportunity to be here.”

Happening at Charlotte Motor Speedway, there are lots of brands participating in this monster event – like GEICO:

Memorial Day Camaro

And some fun and interactive competitions driving the audience into a participation frenzy:

Memorial Day Contest

Participating in the Coca-Cola 600 may be out reach for some brands’ budgets, but there are plenty of other relevant opportunities online. Extremely viral ones as well! Another top trending item, for example, that wouldn’t break the bank by any stretch, is around “rolling thunder” – a motorcycle event in DC for veterans:

Memorial Day Military Word Cloud

Brands sponsoring veterans participating in the event can expect lots of engagement this weekend – both in-person and online.

Keeping Intent Front & Center

Honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice is clearly a great way to get your brand a little love in return, but doing so appropriately is the challenge. The solution clearly hinges on understanding the larger conversation and having the ability to drill down and find your niche, while avoiding any appearance of insensitivity. Sentiment analysis takes care of each piece of that puzzle. And then some.

Many brands may have missed the opportunity to interact meaningfully this year if they haven’t been monitoring sentiment around upcoming holidays – and it’s really just important to do regardless.

How else can you possibly commemorate the day in a way that leaves competitors wondering how you pulled off such a masterfully tasteful promotion? You can’t – not in time for this holiday at least. But you can for the next one!

For a personalized demo, reach out and we’ll walk you through our tools using your brand as an example.

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