Sentiment is attached to everything, including the trillions of bits of aggregated data collected by consumer and marketing research tools. And brands need to understand what these sentiments attached to social media posts, online reviews and forums mean for them. Let’s find out.
We are going to explore and define just what is sentiment, as we cover:
- How to understand sentiment
- Influencing consumer sentiment
- Raising the bar on your brand sentiment
As we lift the lid on what is sentiment in marketing, we have some facts that speak to why sentiment is critical for you to understand, including:
- Sentiment is a mental attitude produced by feelings – while emotions are raw, sentiments are powerful and can make or break a brand.
- The emotional connection between a customer and a brand drives most interactions that occur. This includes sharing content, clicking through to a webiste, purchases decisions, and, very importantly – customer loyalty.
- There are eight emotional mindsets that influence consumer decisions – we’ll talk more about these below!
So….What is Sentiment?
Sentiment is the product of emotion. Once a consumer feels a certain way, they establish their sentiments towards brands and products based on how those brands/products made them feel. And it’s this little, but very complex aspect of the consumer, that brands need to consider for messaging, campaigns, product innovation, influencer marketing and almost anything else you can think of. It’s that important. There are eight emotional mindsets that influence your consumer, including:
- The need for information
- The desire for validation – consumers are greatly influenced by others’ opinions thus the rise in influencer marketing
- The need to be first – everyone likes to be first; also FOMO (fear of missing out)
- The want to have fun – not just for girls anymore, but boys, transgender and non-binary consumers
- Avoiding Remorse – buyers’ regret pushes them to look for brands they trust
- Decision anxiety – they have a hard time making purchase decisions, so a friendly nudge could be the deciding factor
- The need to feel special – everyone wants to feel special, this applies to products and purchasing
- The feeling of frustration – not everyone enjoys shopping, maybe your product or service offers a quick and easy transaction
Now, let’s look at how you can better understand these emotional states and use sentiment to aid your brand in better connection to your consumer!
Playing Data Detective to Uncover Hidden Sentiment
Things aren’t always cut and dried, meaning: Hate doesn’t always mean hate, and love doesn’t always mean love. That’s why it’s imperative to have sentiment analysis tools which can pull the sentiment from the word. This provides intel on what a consumer really thinks, and feels.
For example, below we have a word cloud with top emotions expressed for a leading water brand, and one of the biggest is hate – what is the sentiment analysis here?
Digging below the surface, we find that people feel this top seltzer water brand is not flavored well enough – comparing its taste to a “water truck which happened to pass by fruit.”
There are also numerous comparisons made with other preferred brands. Understanding what the competition is doing differently – what is the sentiment analysis here – so we can see why this brand is winning so much praise, beyond the flavor profiles. This is particularly important as we see on the flip side, Love speaks to consumers favorite flavors. Yet even the lovers of this brand enjoy the ‘water truck” posts because they’re funny. Could this be a new way to capture the attention of consumers? It’s certainly one that its competitors could take advantage of!
Under the Influence
There are many ways to influence your consumer, but you have to understand your audience and who they are to know how to target them. And advanced demographics, aka psychographics, can help you separate your audience by more than just male/female, age and ethnicity.
With social analytics tools, you can dive deeper and discover common interests, professions and even brands those consumers have in common. Consumers want to support brands whose ideals line up with their own, so having this intel helps brands create better targeted messaging for their audience.
Here, our water company shows that the outdoors and religion are top priorities. And this could be intel used in marketing, or avoided, if need be, if it proves to be too sticky of a subject.
Or one could use this data to find the right influencer to reach consumers that are on the lower index, like shopping…
You don’t need a celebrity, in fact, micro-influencers have a 60% increased engagement rate compared to macro influencers. They also have a 20% higher conversion rate, helping brands boost their online sales.
This micro-influencer boasts 5,719 followers and obviously likes to share about what beverages are getting her through the week. And she is a style and fashion blogger.
View this post on Instagram
She could be a great option for our water brand to track and see if she is reaching the same audiences they need to reach within the shopping category. And if so, it could mean more eyeballs on their offerings – and more money in the bank.
How to Improve Your Brand’s Sentiment Analysis
One of the best things however that you can do as a brand, is keep an eye on your company’s brand health by monitoring consumers’ perception of it over time.
You do this simply by tracking sentiment over time and set alerts to any change in mentions or nete sentiment – or even keywords mentioned more than average (think #boycott). Positive sentiment that lasts is created with small and consistent steps, not a single large one.
Once you know where you stand, you’ll need to be proactive and delve below the surface to demonstrate to stakeholders what sentiment analysis is and how you can use it to raise that bar.
Using personal narrative themes, like the one below, can help you uncover the good, the bad and the ugly about your brand. What do you consumers want to see more of? What do they not like at all? Dig into the specific and track which is mentioned most over time:
And the end of the day, understanding what sentiment analysis is in marketing is straightforward.
It’s consistently tracking sentiment, watching for any blips on the radar and then exploring deeper to understand what these blips mean. The intel gathered can aid you in reaching your consumers on a more intimate level, creating potentially loyal customers for life.
But you need to do more than scratch the surface. And when you’re ready to dig a little deeper and raise your brand sentiment awareness level to defcon 4, reach out for a demo!