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Monitoring Brand Popularity Online

Some results from a survey by PR agency immediate future have been published this week and they look at the Internet’s most talked about brands. The study takes the Interbrand Top 100 Companies and looks at how they rank when considered in terms of the volume of mentions they receive online.

On the whole the information is very useful and while the results do not surprise greatly, some links can be drawn between overall brand success and the online contribution of consumers.

However, a failing in the study brings up a very interesting question. How do you monitor the brand popularity of a company with a generic name? The best example is clothing company Gap, which appears at 52 in the Interbrand 100. It jumps to 17th in immediate future’s social media chart and almost half of the mentions are attributed to Flickr the photo sharing website. When you search for ‘Gap’ using ‘most relevant’ as the search instruction you have to scroll through 8 pages of images of the London Underground before you actually reach an image of the US retailer.

Gap as a term has over 95,000 results on Flickr but it would take too many man hours to work out how many of those actually refer to the right Gap. Compare this to Honda with 100,000 mentions on the site. It is unlikely that any of these do not relate directly to the brand and therefore a quick search gives an accurate analysis of the company’s presence and reach.

So does Gap deserve its place in the study?

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