For luxury brands maintaining brand equity is crucial. While affordable luxury and causal styles are growing in popularity, it is important to avoid erosion of your brand’s luxury status. Social listening provides multiple ways to better understand how consumers view your brand, and even measure whether or not your products are maintaining their luxury status. Specifically, by using social listening to track share of discount conversation, brand passion, and share of sentiment, brands like Louis Vuitton put real consumer metrics against brand equity.
For many industries, straight competitive comparisons for volume and sentiment metrics are good grounding points. In luxury, it’s critical to go deeper than that. Starting at the highest level, Gucci does well on volume while Coach does well on sentiment. In some cases, volume of conversation could be about the wrong things and mean brand erosion; sentiment doesn’t matter in luxury if it is missing a strong pull towards the brand.
Looking at these second layer metrics, we can start to understand Louis Vuitton’s success. The first analysis is to consider the share of discount conversation relative to the whole brand. This metric is a good measurement tool for leading fashion luxury brands as a means to measure brand equity. Think of it this way—the more conversation about deals, sales, secondary markets, the less exclusivity for the brand. In this case, we can clearly see that Coach is dragging behind the competitive set, even though the positive sentiment is higher than others (likely driven by finding sales, lower prices—but at the cost of no longer being a luxury brand).
Beyond discount conversation, another key metric for the luxury category is brand passion—do people “like” the brand or do they “love” the brand. We can also judge brand passion by comparing counts of positive and negative conversation. As an example, Credit Suisse has shown that share of negative conversation has a negative effect on the brand’s market performance.1 To analyze the conversation, we can break out the share of voice by sentiment type—strong positive, positive overall, negative overall and strong negative. By this metric, Louis Vuitton is doing even better versus competitors.
Starting on the left, we can see that Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Coach all have similar amounts of positive conversation (67–69% for each brand). However, looking at passionate positive conversation, Gucci is much further behind—11% vs. 17% for both Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
Finally, we can take a look at negative conversation, the indicator from the Credit Suisse article. In this case, Louis Vuitton has both brands beat—with the lowest share of negative conversation (11% vs. 12% and 15%) and, most importantly, the least amount of passionate negative conversation at 2%.
Another way to visualize this data is to combine volume, sentiment and passion in a single comparison—in NetBase we call this the Brand Passion Index. Using this chart, we can see that Gucci is driving the most conversation (largest bubble) but that Louis Vuitton is driving the most positive conversation—and, importantly for this industry, more passionately positive.
So how to use this information? In some cases, social listening is the inspiration point, as shown in the influencer and audience examples above. In other cases, social listening is a measurement tool to monitor effectiveness and course correct in real-time. For Louis Vuitton, these comparisons provide a measurement versus the competitive set and benchmark to identify corrective action ( and which competitor to analyze) if brand equity winds being to shift.
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