personal narratives

Retailers are always on the lookout for a way to connect with consumers, and what better way than capturing their exact verbatims about your brand? Our “personal narrative” theme makes short work on this challenging goal, offering companies amazing insight into the loves (and hates) of consumers. Let’s see how that looks!

In this article we will cover vital information on:

  • Why brands’ searching isn’t always enough and how filters can help pull specific information you’re looking for
  • Personal Narratives overview, and how they help CPG (and really, any) brands adjust and meet the needs of consumers
  • Understanding crosstabs and how to create them using other themes to dial in to capture even more precise intel.

And here are statistics and facts to consider as well:

  • CPG sales for food and beverage were up in the US by 13.9% as of June 20
  • 40% of shoppers have made a purchase as an immediate result of a personalized ad
  • 95% of retail brands use social media channels for marketing

What Are Theme Filters & Why Do Brands Need Them?

Themes are a set of saved filters within NetBase’s powerful social media analytics platform. Brands use them to segment conversation and perform a deeper analysis of consumer sentiment around specific topics.

Using themes allows them to rapidly discover emerging topics from conversations based on included terms, included geographies, a date range, or the driving sentiment (to name a few). They function like a lens on a camera that you can look through to view any topic, capturing that specifically framed, pink hued or panoramic view, blurring the edges and focusing as needed for this specific purpose. And there are a variety of options to choose from when creating a theme, as it can be customized down to a granular level around a specific topic, or audience focused on a specific author set, or brands have access to more than 500 certified (pre-existing templates) theme.

In short, it will take your basic understanding and turn it into supremely targeted intel. The theme applied here is personal narrative searching out I Love or My love as key terms and opting to exclude others that could jumble our results such as I love you or #loveyou.


Targeting CPG Personal Narrative Verbatims

With consumer-packaged goods (CPG) sales for food and beverage up in the US by 13.9%  as of June 20 and online food sales up 64.3%, it’s a great time to be in CPG. Social listening, specifically personal narratives, help brands access the loves, hates, needs and wants – verbatim.

For instance, here we applied the “I Love” theme and can see that Target has made an impression. What brand doesn’t love knowing they’re loved. Better still – they can see who is talking about them, with intel around what channel they’re posting on, if it’s positive or negative (this also detects sarcasm), and gender. Brands can explore this person’s public posts further to see if she has an engaged following and could be a potential influencer. And yes, this can all be done in NetBase:


And what about wants? Here, we find this Reddit user responding to a post about wanting something a Target was offering at another location….


Precise Intel to Inform Consumer Response

Since each social listening result shows the demographics of the media user, including the platform – a quick click is all it took to find out what the desired item was: a Lego set that was being sold in the UK. And as far as this customer knew, wasn’t available in the US. An opportunity perhaps for this savvy brand to take advantage of. And it’s something brands may miss without a personal narrative theme bubbling this insight to the surface.


Target recently began offering shopping through their Instagram – one of the first mega retailers to do so. They are aware of the ever increasing digital influence, with up to 70% finding them on mobile. Of those, 55%-60% are there for apparel, and up to 20-25% are coming for the non-food CPG. Social media analytics are essential to their, and your, ability to extract key insight to guide messaging and campaigns. Just ask Coca-Cola . . .

Coca-Cola Captures Consumer Love

A brand may realize they’re winning at something, but needs to be able to pinpoint why. Applying the personal narrative My favorite brought this telling result which explains why this consumer loves Coca Cola.


That’s a great bit of insight to have! And it’s from Tumblr, so unless someone was following this specific person, it’s doubtful Coca-Cola would ever see this and other consumer intelligence floating around out there. Market research will give us an idea of how social media analytics intersects the consumer and brand relationship – and how applying themes can illuminate these connections further.

We’ve created a CPG search in Quid that covers the past three months. And we segmented a portion to display conversation around Starbucks and Unilever ads. We can see an article explaining that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand if their ads are personalized, with 40% of shoppers have made a purchase as an immediate result of one.


But, what happens if advertising is paused, as these two brands did? We’ll explore that next, as part of our crosstab analysis, which incorporates multiple themes, including our much loved personal narrative!

Applying Other Themes to Create Crosstab Analyses

With 95% of retail brands using social media channels for marketing and 2020 being a year of many unrests, brands found themselves trying to tip-toe, as their allegiances and actions were under a spotlight.

And many of them chose to make a stand, including Coca Cola and Unilever. Backing consumer concerns, both companies opted to withdraw their advertising for a short while from Facebook and Instagram. They were part of an effort pushing for new rules for social media companies, as part of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

What did this decision look like from a consumer love perspective? Layering themes can shed some light. Exploring the personal narrative, advertisement/commercials, with target emotions joy and love themes, we can see sentiment levels below.


Transparent Results to Explore Details

Everything appears on the up and up for the most part – but what is powering that negative personal narrative sentiment for Unilever? In NetBase, it’s quick work to sort that out – and potentially create messaging to get ahead of brand health issues:


Beyond that, from a competitive standpoint, we can also determine share of voice within a narrative. Comparing these two companies is really apples to oranges, but it shows how the comparison would look:


And there are so many ways to slice and dice the data beyond this! Be sure to reach out for a demo and we can show you these and other themes in action, and the many ways you can capture super valuable insight to inform strategic decision-making!

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