Now that we know how Canadian marketers view social analytics tools, we thought we’d see how top Canadian brands stack up – to see if the walk follows the talk.

We looked at a representative grouping of 15 of the biggest Canadian brands by sales volume, focusing on conversations happening in Canada only. Here’s what we found.

What Mentions Don’t Tell You

The old saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” likely wouldn’t have been coined if social media had existed at the time. Now that social rules, negative press spreads like wildfire – so you can’t afford to leave it unchecked.

The problem with counting mentions is this: Mere volume tells you nothing about the quality of those mentions. They might indicate a lot of consumer love, or they might represent hundreds or thousands of embers waiting to ignite into viral catastrophe.

For example, popular Canadian eatery Tim Horton’s has the most mentions of the 15 brands we analyzed – but the chatter isn’t good thanks to a labor issue that brought Net Sentiment way down.

Sentiment hasn’t rebounded as of this month, so the restaurant chain has some serious work ahead to change things for the better with their audience.


On the positive end of the spectrum, Canadians clearly love the savings they get from Hudson’s Bay. The department store had the third highest Net Sentiment of the brands we analyzed, and a perfect Passion Score. You can see the word “save” as the major sentiment driver in the word cloud below.

Here are all 15 brands and where they rank in our Brand Passion Index. The BPI represents Net Sentiment, Passion Intensity, and Conversation Volume in one graphic. The more up and to the right, the better. You don’t want to be up and to the left – on the intense hate end of the spectrum – like Canada Goose, Tim Horton’s, and a few others.

It’s important to note, brand love is a multi-headed beast. Even if you have perfect marks in one area – as many brands do – being subpar in another drags your score down. Here’s the breakdown of Brand Passion for our 15 brands by Customer Service, Purchase, Hospitality & Service, and Product Quality:

You can see there are different areas each brand excels at, and needs to work on. That’s why we use sentiment analysis – to uncover the specifics of consumer love and hate, so we can focus our energy in the right places, i.e., whatever our audience most values.

Influencers – Your Partners in Passion

One way to boost sentiment is to use influencers – people who love your brand, and have a large enough following of their own to impact how their audience sees you. Influencers are often celebrities, but they don’t have to be. The most important thing is their level of influence – not their name.

Influencers not only amplify what’s positive about your brand, they – and their army of followers – can turn around negative sentiment by speaking up on your behalf.

MEC – the Canadian answer to REI – is a great example of a brand leveraging influencers well.

Let Consumers Inform Your Customer Experience

There’s nothing more crucial than creating a compelling customer experience. This might sound like a buzzword, but many brands have been doing this all along.

Consider Canadian Tire – one of the most loved brands on our list. Though they started selling what their name suggests, they’ve grown into one of the largest retail presences in Canada, selling everything from tires, to house wares, to clothes, and toys.

What do consumers love about Canadian Tire? The word cloud below gives us some clues – i.e., the products, selection, experience, and generosity.

When you’re in NetBase Pro you can click on each of the terms you uncover to see corresponding social posts for a more detailed understanding. That really clues you in to what your audience loves most, so you can keep delivering on that.

The same works for negative attributes. And, of course, you can always look at your competitors to see what their fans love/hate about them. Then you’ll know if you have a way in to sway some of their customers to your side of the fence.

Canadian brands are no different than brands anywhere else. They have their strengths and weaknesses, and consumers on social let them know how they feel at every turn. The lesson for all brands is to listen when consumers speak, or ignore their needs at your peril.

Tim Horton’s is just one brand learning the hard way how quickly social audiences can turn on brands that misstep. If you’re smart you’ll learn from them and keep social analytics with sentiment analysis on your daily to-do list.

Ready to see our sentiment analysis tools at work? Get in touch and we’ll give you a one-on-one demo!



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