What's Your Brand's Social Score?

Razorfish, Ogilvy Test Model of Business Health Based on Net Promoter

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- For many marketers, the Net Promoter Score has been an easy-to-understand, simple-to-measure metric of business health, used in everything from customer service to investor calls.

Now, some wonder, can it be replicated in social media?

There are a few who think they can create a similar score for social media, building upon the Net Promoter model, which asks one question: "How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?" (To get the score, subtract the "highly likelies," or promoters, from the "unlikelies," or detractors.)

Razorfish and Ogilvy PR are trying out new social-media measurements that share traits with Net Promoter in that they're open, public, easy to replicate -- and they aim to become a standard, if not of customer satisfaction than of customer conversation. There's even some talk that Twitter is enthusiastic about applying Net Promoter principles to its future business model, although the company didn't respond to requests for comment on the topic.

"The Net Promoter Score is the result of delivering a positive customer experience," said Deborah Eastman, chief marketing officer of Satmetrix, which co-founded the Net Promoter score along with Bain & Co. and Frederick Reichheld. "We have never been in discussions with Twitter, but it would probably be an interesting discussion to see if there were ways to use their large user base to try to collect the Net Promoter Score of the various brands discussed on Twitter. But there's a complexity to doing that that we'd have to sort through."

Getting personal
Eric Ries, author of the Startup Lessons Learned blog and a Net Promoter Score convert, said Twitter has an interesting opportunity to gauge people's feelings about a brand, because in many cases it can identify recent interaction, ideal for asking the Net Promoter question. But he also noted that social networks do something Net Promoter doesn't: They can help uncover whether people are actually recommending products or the "propagation of ideas."

"Net Promoter Score isn't a very good predictor of willingness to recommend a product," he said. "Rather, you're [asking the question] to know how they feel about a product personally."

Perhaps the closest to a social-web-based Net Promoter Score is something Razorfish plans to introduce this week: the SIM score, which stands for social influence marketing. Razorfish hopes SIM, in fact, becomes a standard as big as a Net Promoter score. It's a reflection of the total share of consumer conversations a brand has online and the degree to which consumers like or dislike the brand when they talk about it. The agency envisions marketers will track it over time and that it will correlate to business results.

"Any mention of a brand, as long as it's not negative, serves a brand-awareness purpose on the web because once it's there, it stays there," said Shiv Singh, VP-global social media lead at Razorfish. That eternal digital archive, he said, is a factor that many traditional brand measurements don't necessarily account for. Razorfish has already calculated it for several marketers: In the auto space, Ford leads with 31, followed by Honda with 30, Toyota with 18 and Nissan with 15. GM's score is 5. (The agency didn't release a SIM score for Mercedes, which is a Razorfish client.)

Razorfish worked with TNS/Cymfony to capture social media content and the net sentiment of a brand: the positive and neutral conversations minus negative ones, divided by total conversations about the brand. That number is then divided by the net sentiment for the industry to get the SIM score, the idea being that the score isn't meaningful until it is adjusted for its category; some industries, such as autos, have very high SIM scores, while industries such as pharma have very low ones.

Ogilvy PR today will also launch a formula for calculating what it calls "conversation impact." It's meant to determine not the overall social-media health of a brand but rather the impact of a particular campaign. It's already using the tool, which takes into account reach at the top of the funnel, preference in the middle of the funnel and action at the bottom, to help evaluate a Tropicana campaign.

"We're basically paying attention to all the positive word-of-mouth for a brand and through a very simple Net Promoter-esque formula can report out [whether we] did increase preference for the brand" said John Bell, managing director of OgilvyPR's digital-influence group.

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