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Social Media Insight Into Luxury Brands

Posted By Kantar Media, Wednesday 8 June 2016


“Insight is one of the most overused words, and gets misinterpreted [to mean] ‘information’. It isn’t that – insight is a key, distilled thought that you can use", according to Ann Constantine, Head of Insight and Marketing Effectiveness at Direct Line Group in a Marketing Week article published last month.

Recently, there has been a flurry of published social media research around luxury brands. Most reports looked at specific metrics such as volume, sentiment, engagement and reach to determine key brands’ popularity with consumers, based on social media conversations. All contained good information and showed rigour in quantifying these brands’ performance on social media, but insight around the consumers behind these conversations was thin on the ground.

Deriving insight from social media is difficult. It requires a human touch, a research brief and the right people and expertise in gathering, organising and interpreting what people are saying and why.

We recently conducted a research study around Luxury brands ourselves, focusing on the meaning of conversations and inherent connection of consumers with luxury brands. We found some interesting differences in what drives brand connections and which audiences have the closest relationship, which affinity indexes alone did not reveal.


Kantar Media Brand Insight performed qualitative, in-depth analysis of organic, authentic, consumer generated social media posts from people expressing an affinity towards four leading luxury brands- Chanel, Dior, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the USA.

Our focus was on understanding millennial and pre- and post-millennial consumers’ affinity with these brands. Beyond this we wanted to understand:

  • The key drivers of affinity
  • The profile of these consumers
  • The key messages which resonate with these audiences

In order to gather posts expressing an affinity, we developed a lexicon, including slang words, expressing degrees of brand love and appreciation. We then manually analysed 200-300 quality posts for each brand. Each post was given an affinity score from 1 to 3, with 1 showing some affinity and 3 showing high levels. The posts below illustrate how we scored affinity and how we categorised the drivers of affinity for Mercedes.

We also verified user gender and assigned age based on user biographies and feeds. We also checked for indications of individual brand ownership and affinity towards other brands. This process enabled us to compare and contrast affinity drivers, map the intensity of affinity for each driver and build a detailed profile of brand fans.

Chanel had a much stronger connection with its fans expressing themselves on social media than Dior, while BMW and Mercedes-Benz attracted similar levels of affinity.


Women represent a large proportion (41%) of users showing affinity with Mercedes-Benz on social media. Most women (55%) and men (47%) are post-millennials or millennials. Ownership is a key affinity driver, with brand lovers showing off their “my Benz” frequently, such as “Love my baby #MercedesBenz #cla”. Owning a Mercedes-Benz is part of owners’ identity, with the brand’s heritage as a status symbol still strongly anchored in the consumer psyche. So using words such as “my, mine or your” in brand messaging would clearly resonate.

Brand affinity for Mercedes was strong among young females, particularly in higher education, suggesting content targeted at this audience could yield greater advertising ROI and build long term affinity amongst this demographic.

Unlike Mercedes-Benz, BMW brand lovers on social media tended to be male. Interestingly though, over half of female brand lovers were under 24 suggesting BMW may have a receptive and captive audience among post millennials.

A strong attachment to the brand itself defined consumers’ affinity with BMW, with the driving experience, aesthetics or product attributes not necessarily being key to driving this affinity. Newer, innovative models such as the e36 and i8 had a strong pull however.


Not surprisingly women have the strongest affinity with Chanel and Dior. Chanel has a higher proportion of post-millennial brand lovers compared to Dior, with its aficionados being over 35. For younger brand fans, their affinity with Chanel is not exclusive and other more mainstream brands (Nike, Victoria’s Secret) are also mentioned by its fans. However, there is a core of Chanel lovers who are older and have higher purchasing power. They are journalists, designers, writers, beauty bloggers, models and fashion designers. The commonality between these two groups is the pull of Chanel’s unique style and heritage.

Dior’s celebrity endorsements, and in particular Rihanna, Jennifer Lawrence and Jonny Depp were a key driver for users to mention their love for Dior, as was brand ownership of its make-up products.


Beyond any affinity or brand love metric, there are key insights to be mined from understanding what drives consumers’ connections with brands and how these connections are formed. But this takes a researcher's mind set and clear thinking to structure the social media dataset, which is not something that tools alone can do. Automated tools help find relevant content based on keywords. Interpreting what consumers are saying and why, requires quantitative rigour with qualitative flair, a human touch. 

This article was originally published on 



Kantar Media provides critical information that helps our clients make better decisions about communications. We enable the world’s leading brands, publishers, agencies and industry bodies to navigate and succeed in a rapidly evolving media industry. Our services and data include; analysis of paid media opportunities; counsel on brand reputation, corporate management and consumer engagement through owned media and evaluating consumers’ reactions in earned media. As the global house of expertise in media and marketing information, Kantar Media provides clients with a broad range of insights, from audience research, competitive intelligence, vital consumer behaviour and digital insights, marketing and advertising effectiveness to social media monitoring. Our experts currently work with 22,000 companies tracking over 4 million brands in 50 countries.


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Spotlight With Rory Sutherland On The Value Of Brands & The Role Of Engagement

Posted By Vizeum, Tuesday 7 June 2016

Vizeum have launched a new series of expert marketing videos called “Spotlight.” Each month they will feature a thought leader discussing some of the most topical areas within communications. This month, they interviewed Rory Sutherland, on the value of brands, the role of engagement and the little extras brands can deliver to set themselves apart.

Check out the video on, along with the Vizeum analysis. 


Vizeum’s promise is to drive business value through media for our clients. Established in 2004, Vizeum is structured to take full advantage of the opportunities brought about by the digitization of media. The company manages its client business via a partner structure. This ensures that every client has senior advisors managing their business. These senior points of contact develop integrated strategies across the entire bought, owned and earned media ecosystem. We then have the specialist skills in house to deliver that strategy in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

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Featured Member: Sheelagh Carroll, Head of Commercial, Kefron

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Tuesday 7 June 2016

The Marketing Institute recognises excellence at every level, and so we have introduced our Featured Member Series, featuring some of our most esteemed colleagues.



Sheelagh commenced her career in Marketing in financial services, working for Enba, Europe’s first only internet bank. It was the time of the dot com boom, when investment in companies like Enba was high. The company was launching new technology via WAP mobile phones, enabling customers to access banking via their phones.  New creative marketing techniques, such as email and internet marketing were emerging – otherwise known as ‘new media’.  

After the dot com bubble burst, Sheelagh moved to the Document and Information Management Industry and began working for Filestores and Shred-it. She was responsible for the ‘All Island’ Marketing for both brands and was shortlisted for Best North/South Marketing Strategy in The Marketing Institute All Ireland Marketing (AIM) Awards and Best Marketing Strategy with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.  

Sheelagh led a corporate rebrand strategy, bring all group brands under one cohesive brand strategy, including a company name change to Kefron. Kefron provides document and information management solutions in Ireland and the UK. The company has a strong presence in the financial, insurance, legal, public and semi state sectors.  Established in 1989 by Michael Kearns and Tom Hefferon, Kefron employs 150 people and is an Irish home grown success story. Sales grew 25% in the first year of the rebrand through the cross selling of services to new and existing customers, under one brand.

Whilst the recession hit Irish companies hard, it provided Kefron with the opportunity to become more innovative in its thinking.  Driven by a significant piece of market research, the direction of the organisation was evolved through the launch of new digital document management products and the expansion into the UK market.  Sheelagh’s role evolved alongside the business and she now heads up the Marketing, Sales and Key Account functions for both the UK and Ireland.

With the increase of compliance in data privacy and protection, more and more companies are aware of their responsibilities regarding their information management.  The upcoming changes to the EU Data Protection legislation will bring extra governance in this area.

“Looking back to when I started out in Marketing to how Marketing has evolved - the fundamental principles remain the same…understand the market you operate in, know your customers and the challenges they face. What has changed is the sophistication of Marketing Technology. Marketing has become much more scientific, whereby results are much easier to track and measure. Communication is more personal with the growth of business communities, so having a reliable database with valuable content that can speak to these communities is critical – otherwise it is just meaningless noise that people will very quickly disengage from.”

Sheelagh holds a Graduateship in Marketing from the Marketing Institute and a Post Graduate Diploma from the IMI in Strategic Marketing Management.


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Featured Member: Daragh Byrne - Commercial Director, UTV Ireland

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Tuesday 24 May 2016

The Marketing Institute recognises excellence at every level, and so we have introduced our Featured Member Series, featuring some of our most esteemed colleagues.



Daragh has been working in the advertising industry for over 15 years. Following his graduation from UCD, he began his career at All Ireland Media (now Carat Ireland), where he worked with a variety of leading brands, including Dunnes Stores and Diageo. Since his media agency days, Daragh held management roles within print and radio organisations – moving on to pursue his passion for the television broadcasting sector, where he has spent the majority of his career. Prior to his current role, Daragh was Group Director of Sales for TV3 where, under his leadership, the commercial team won the ‘Sales Team of the Year’ Award at the prestigious Media Awards. 

In 2014, Daragh was appointed Commercial Director of UTV Ireland, which was recently acquired by ITV plc, as part of their acquisition of UTV Media plc’s television assets (UTV and UTV Ireland). With a team of 25, the UTV Ireland commercial department is responsible for working with leading brands in devising communication solutions that deliver real business results across airtime, brand partnerships (incorporating licensing) and digital. Daragh and his team pride themselves on innovation and being brave – a culture which is encouraged and fits perfectly with that of ITV. As a core member of UTV Ireland’s senior management team, Daragh plays a key role in the strategic development and ongoing growth of Ireland’s newest television channel, where he continues to introduce new and innovative platforms for clients to reach their target audiences, on and off screen.     

Daragh is also Board Director at TAM Ireland - (Television Audience Measurement Ireland Ltd). TAM Ireland oversees an accurate and effective audience measurement system for the whole of the television advertising industry.

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Employment Growth Raises Consumer Confidence To Highest Levels In A Decade - Latest Consumer Market Monitor

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Friday 20 May 2016

  • Consumer spending up by 3% in 2015, expected to be main driver of growth in 2016 and 2017
  • Pay increases of about 2% as well as increased earnings among the self-employed
  • Retail sales up 6.4% on 2015

The growth in employment over the past few years is currently mirroring the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy according to the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM) published today by The Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Data from the Quarter 1 2016 Monitor indicates that the consumer economy in Ireland is now showing strong evidence of a broad-based recovery. 

Domestic demand, currently growing at close to 4%, is now the main driver of this remarkable economic growth. Consumer spending was up by 3% in 2015 and is expected to be the main driver of growth in 2016 and 2017. 

Tom Trainor, Chief Executive, The Marketing Institute of Ireland, said: “The remarkable economic growth we are seeing is due to domestic demand, driven by increasing Irish household wealth as property values recover and consumers make progress in paying down debt, pushing consumer confidence to the highest level in a decade.”

Mary Lambkin, Professor of Marketing, UCD Smurfit School, and one of the authors of the Monitor, said: “The improvement in the labour market has been the most important factor driving the recovery, with the average annual employment growth of over 2% since early 2012.There are now 1.98 million people at work, up by 158,000 since the low point in 2012, contributing to the long anticipated increase in the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy - the ‘virtuous circle’ that we have been waiting for. In fact, there has been a remarkable increase in disposable income - gross disposable income increased by an estimated 9% in 2015, a kind of increase not seen since the heady days of the Celtic Tiger.”


Pay increases of about 2%, which were common in 2015, have also contributed to growth, as have increased earnings among the self-employed.

Increased consumer confidence is now at the highest level in a decade reflecting ‘pent up demand’ following a long period of recession, and this can be seen in growing sales of big ticket items such as homes, home furnishings, new cars and clothing.

Following several lean years, sales of new cars were up more than 30% last year to 121,110. 2016 is continuing this trend, with a further increase of 30% in the first quarter, suggesting a final figure of about 175,000 cars. An average of 160,000 cars were sold each year in the early 2000s. Sales of services such as accommodation, food and drink, and entertainment have also been strengthening, up by 5.8% during 2015. 

Retail sales are also improving significantly; sales volume rose by 6.1% in 2015. All retail categories got a boost in recent quarters, and the evidence suggests that 2016 is delivering strong growth for most retailers, up 6.5% in the first quarter year-on-year. 

Property sales are also buoyant, with 48,374 residential property market transactions recorded in 2015, up 21% on 2014 which, in turn, was up 38% on 2013. 22,767 new mortgages were issued in 2015, up 19% year-on-year.


Consumer confidence in Ireland fell dramatically in 2008 as the financial crisis unfolded, and remained low through 2009, the bailout in 2010, and the Eurozone crisis of 2011-2012. Confidence recovered slightly in 2013 due to strong employment growth and our exit from the bailout programme.  It rose further through 2014 due to a steady flow of good news on employment, tax receipts, and growth in services and manufacturing. This upward trend continued in 2015, reaching a record high of +16.7 in June, and remained strong through the rest of the year. 

Although there has been a slight weakening in confidence during the first quarter of 2016, perhaps reflecting uncertainly about the formation of a new government and about Brexit, at 14.9 consumer confidence in Ireland is now well ahead of the last peak in 2007 and also well ahead of our European neighbours. 


Household disposable income rose by a remarkable rate of 9.4% in 2015, due to a combination of increased employment levels and higher pay rates. This increase approached the growth rates of the Celtic Tiger era; the previous record was 9.8% growth in 2005.

Household spending is now growing consistently at a rate of 3-4%, and all analysts agree that this strong growth curve is well established and likely to continue for this year and next.


Following four years of decline, retail sales stabilised in 2012, and increased by a very slight 0.8% in volume in 2013. A significant turnaround occurred in 2014, with retail sales volume up by 3.7% and value up by 1.6%. This recovery accelerated further in 2015, with sales volume up by an impressive 6.1% and value up by 2.7% for the year.  Noteworthy is the fact that this growth in sales exceeded the growth in footfall (up 1.6%) providing evidence of a real uplift in spending. Strong Vat returns also provide evidence of growth; up by 7.9% in 2014, and by 7.1% in 2015.

The evidence suggests that 2016 is continuing to deliver strong sales growth for most retailers with spending in the first quarter up 6.5% in volume year-on-year. 


All product categories except fuel experienced growth in Q1 2016, up 6.5% in volume and 4% in value. Most remarkable is the significant growth displayed by sectors that have been weak throughout the recession, such as bars and newsagents. In summary: 

  • Food sales up 5.8% in volume and up 5.2% in value; 
  • Non-specialised stores (supermarkets) up 6.0% in volume and 5.4% in value; 
  • Fuel down -0.4% in volume and up 2.6% in value;
  • Clothing, footwear & textiles up 12.2% in volume and 8.7% in value; 
  • Household equipment up 5.0% in volume and 2.9% in value;
  • Department stores up 10.2% in volume and 7.6% in value;
  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics up 6.1% in volume and 4.2% in value;
  • Bar sales up 7.6% in volume and up 8.2% in value.
  • Books, newspapers, stationery up 6.5% in volume and 7.8% in value; 



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