A Guide to Brand Sentiment Analysis

In a world of constantly shifting consumer opinions, it’s critical for your brand to stay abreast of how you look in the customer’s eye. Fortunately, social listening makes this relatively easy to do. Keeping tabs on your brand reputation illuminates your strengths according to your audience as well as the common frustrations they have.

Here, we’ll talk about how a brand sentiment analysis can inform the areas you need to work on to safeguard your brand identity. And that’s top priority these days as your reputation can be tarnished in moments on social media for a number of reasons.

Specifically, we’ll explore the topic with a focus on:

  • What is brand sentiment analysis?
  • Top strategies to safeguard your brand
  • Brand sentiment analysis in the real world

These days your brand sentiment is built on trust. If you’re not listening to your audience and growing trust, then you’re never going to compete long-term with more conscientious brands. Consumer trust should be the bedrock of your brand reputation, as these stats suggest:

  • 81% of consumers say they need to feel a sense of trust in a brand before purchasing from them.
  • Nearly 54% of consumers don’t trust sponsored brand content across the web.
  • 66% of people express more brand loyalty towards companies that exhibit transparency across their business practices.

Let’s revisit the basics of a brand sentiment analysis and build out from there.

how to use social sentiment to perform a competitor analysis

What is Brand Sentiment Analysis?

Brands have historically struggled with maintaining a grip on the voice of the customer. The speed and ubiquity of social media have made that task more difficult, enabling consumer perceptions to shift rapidly.

In response, brands are turning to robust social listening tools in droves to help them keep tabs on ongoing conversations surrounding their brand. Consumers have no reservations about talking about the products they love and the brands behind them. Conversely, they also have no issue airing a brand’s dirty laundry when they feel slighted. Smart brands are paying attention.

One of the best ways to achieve clarity on your online brand health – which enormously influences your actual brand health – is to maintain a running brand sentiment analysis.

In the realm of social listening, sentiment is the term used for quantifying negative or positive words and phrases within social media posts and news articles. This allows us to measure perception across any topic relevant to our brand.

In a brand analysis context, this is accomplished using artificial intelligence to collect every brand mention online and categorize it according to whether it’s positive, negative, or neutral. Positive terms are assigned a value of +1, neutrals a 0, and negatives a -1. These values are then aggregated and returned as a percentage on a scale of -100 to +100.

Tracking your brand sentiment score over time will tell you your baseline average, which will be the standard from which to investigate spikes and dips. Furthermore, a brand sentiment analysis will illuminate the sentiment drivers – top trending terms – propelling both negative and positive movement in your brand conversation.

L’Oréal-sentiment-drivers-and-top-consumer-emotions-on-social-media

L’Oréal sentiment drivers and top consumer emotions on social media. 11/17/21-12/17/21

Naturally, as the months pass and circumstances change, the nature of your sentiment drivers will also change. However, conscientious brands monitor these as they illuminate what’s top of mind with their audience at any given time. Additionally, a familiarity with your sentiment score and sentiment drivers makes abnormalities easy to spot, so you’re not sipping champagne when you should be getting all hands on deck.

Let’s explore a few ways a brand sentiment analysis can help your brand get ahead.

how to use social sentiment to perform a competitor analysis

Top Strategies for Your Brand Sentiment Analysis

The first thing your brand sentiment analysis should be used for is to monitor your brand health. Sentiment expressed on social media influences how other customers perceive your brand and whether or not they choose to purchase your products. Since this has real-life implications for your bottom line, it pays to understand how your brand is discussed online.

One of the best ways to do this is to run a monthly analysis of your brand mentions so you can track changes over time. This isn’t hard to do either. It simply consists of rerunning an identical analysis every month, giving your brand a historical viewpoint in the future.

At its most basic, your brand sentiment analysis can be as simple as documenting summary metrics over a period of time. Doing so will give you performance indicators along with a sentiment score. As time passes, you’ll average your sentiment score to provide you with your sentiment baseline. If your social media monitoring tools offer historical analysis, you can retroactively build analyses for a broader, more accurate brand sentiment measurement.

Below we’ve created a one-month brand sentiment perspective for the cosmetic and beauty company L’Oréal. As you can see, their net sentiment for this month is an enviable 70%.

L’Oréal-summary-metrics,-including-net-sentiment

L’Oréal summary metrics, including net sentiment. 11/17/21-12/17/21

One of the best things about conducting a continual brand sentiment analysis is the ability to dig in and find out what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ve already covered sentiment drivers, but you can isolate positive or negative conversations and peek at trending terms and hashtags as well. Doing so is great for further exploration and figuring out where your brand wants to align its messaging to further improve your sentiment standing.

L’Oréal-top-terms-and-hashtags

L’Oréal top terms and hashtags. 11/17/21-12/17/21

Not only that, but you can also uncover geodata for conversational hotspots, whether positive or negative. Doing so helps you adjust your campaigns to boost regional performance by tailoring your messaging to a specific location.

Additionally, you can dive into the authors and detractors driving sentiment around your brand, as well as the domains where your earned media lives. It’s all navigable consumer insight that helps your brand leverage conversational high points and mitigate the lows.

L’Oréal’s-top-sources-of-earned-media-colored-by-sentiment

L’Oréal’s top sources of earned media colored by sentiment. 11/17/21-12/17/21

Now, let’s look at why monitoring your brand health with a brand sentiment analysis is so essential using a real-life example.

Using Brand Sentiment Analysis in the Real World

The purpose of a brand sentiment analysis is to not only grow your brand health but to safeguard it as well. We often say that a crisis is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’ scenario. If you’re not paying close attention to your brand sentiment, then it can snowball out of control when you least expect it.

Therefore, finding your baseline and setting alerts with your social listening tools ensures you are notified the moment your brand sentiment moves outside established parameters. Acting quickly in these situations can help stifle an otherwise precipitous drop in net sentiment.

For example, a CPG brand is currently undergoing a crisis, and it’s not going well. We’ve taken social listening snapshots from each of the past three months to illustrate how a brand sentiment analysis can show you when things go south and what happens when you don’t get a handle on it.

Here is the first one-month brand sentiment snapshot showing the first indications of a crisis. Mention counts were much higher than usual, and they ended the month with a dismal sentiment score of -15%.

Sentiment-timeline-showing-the-birth-of-a-crisis-for-this-CPG-brand

Sentiment timeline showing the birth of a crisis for this CPG brand. 9/17/21-10/17/21  

And here, in the second month, conversational volume dropped significantly while positive sentiment marginally grew to 8%. The issue remained unresolved, yet the topic hummed along as background noise for most social media users – with a few blips of activity here and there. Interestingly, potential impressions were still higher by a margin of ten trillion over the previous month.

Second-month-brand-sentiment-analysis-

Second-month brand sentiment analysis showing a drop in volume and a slight increase in sentiment. 10/17/21-11/17/21

Finally, we come to the most recent month where decisions were made. And social media did not like the outcome. Mentions, posts, and potential impressions blew through the roof, and the brand’s net sentiment explored new depths at -53%.

Second-month-brand-sentiment-analysis-showing-a-drop-in-volume-

Extreme drop in net sentiment as brand crisis continues. 11/17/21-12/17/21

The brand may have thought last month’s relative calm was the dust settling after the initial spike in negative mentions. If so, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Their solution to this ongoing crisis angered consumers and put the brand in an even worse situation.

To put this conversation in context, at this time last year, this brand had average brand mentions of 60k over a one-month span, with sentiment largely positive at 47%. It will undoubtedly take a long time to recover from a hundred percent drop in sentiment. And that’s if it can.

Regardless, this is why you should keep a keen eye on your sentiment baseline, so you spot anomalies the moment they arise. Then, you should use your sentiment analysis tools to uncover what is driving that sentiment. Your analysis will lay out the voice of the customer in black and white, so you know precisely how they feel. And you can use this consumer intelligence to craft a solution that wins their trust.

To close on a high note, these methods work well for capitalizing on what your consumers love as well. Monitoring positive sentiment drivers allows you to leverage the positivity surrounding your brand. This, in turn, grows consumer trust which sends your brand sentiment further into the green.

There will be more twists and turns for brands to navigate in 2022, and a brand sentiment analysis will ensure you’re always putting your best foot forward. Reach out for a demo, and we’ll walk through the custom insights you can expect from a sentiment analysis tailored to your brand.

how to use social sentiment to perform a competitor analysis

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