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Kellogg's, Hershey's Lead Food Brands in Consumer Engagement

NEW YORK — When it comes to customer engagement, Kellogg's and Hershey's are at the top of their game, according to Engagement Labs' first-ever TotalSocial rankings, which measures the most important drivers of brand performance through social media and word-of-mouth conversations for U.S. food brands.

When conducting its research, Engagement Labs examined each brand's individual strengths and weaknesses and found that many food brands are "Whisper Brands," meaning they perform below average, both offline and online vs. the full list of 500 brands.

"However, there are three brands that successfully pushed the limits — Kellogg's, General Mills and Hershey's — as 'Conversation Commanders,' which perform above average both online and offline," said Engagement Labs CEO Ed Keller. "These three brands each provide a unique blueprint for how food brands can succeed in leveraging social influence to drive results. Online and offline work in tandem with one another, and our data proves that, in order to drive business results, brands cannot solely rely on one over the other."

The No. 1 food brand on TotalSocial, Kellogg's boasts the strongest offline score, which means the brand has been successful in driving face-to-face conversations when compared to category peers. Its strong score can be attributed to its campaigns, including the latest transformation of its New York eatery into a Pop-Tarts Café, which offered customers a unique dining experience with new and creative ways to customize a Pop-Tart.

However, when it comes to online scores, Kellogg's falls short, while Betty Crocker takes the top spot in the rankings. The analysis found that Betty Crocker performs better online than it does offline, with particularly high online sentiment, brand sharing and influence scores. The scores indicate that the company is posting relevant, shareable content online that is gaining traction among its key influencers.

Also performing better offline than online is Quaker Oats, which had a low online branding sharing score. According to the CEO, while consumers are referencing Quaker Oats advertising and marketing in real-world conversations, they are not sharing the brand's content on social platforms. "This suggests an opportunity for Quaker Oats to improve social media marketing to drive growth," he noted.

Opposite to Quaker Oats, Nestlé's digital investment is paying off by driving above-average online volume, brand sharing and influence scores. However, its offline conversation volume is not keeping pace, which could be hindering its ability to fully capitalize on the power of social influence and moving up to the top of the TotalSocial leaderboard, according to the analysis.

Overall, the food category is categorized by high sentiment scores both online and offline. In terms of online sentiment, Dole takes the lead, while Pillsbury stands out for offline sentiment as it not only ranks first in the food category, but the brand also ranks second out of all 500 TotalSocial brands.

Based on the proprietary TotalSocial data, the food category as a whole performs equally offline and online; however, there is room for performance improvement on both fronts, Engagement Labs stated.

New York-based Engagement Labs is the world's first TotalSocial company, offering intelligent data, analytics and insights for marketers. 

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