Published January 1, 2023
Movers & Shakers: Brands of 2022
How we define movers and shakers
Movers and shakers are the brands that caused a stir in the market. This doesn’t include those who created the best social media campaigns (that’s another blog). Instead, it’s those that got to the heart of their consumers, and excited them through amazing social initiatives, clever influencer marketing, fun in-store promotions, etc. In one way or another, they moved their audience or shook their industry.
The movers and shakers of 2022
In September, Yvon Chouinard, the founder of outdoor apparel maker Patagonia, gave his company away half a century after its inception. As consumer concerns grow about global warming, many personalities and corporations alike are still figuring out how to address it in their day-to-day activities.
Chouinard walked the talk by transferring ownership of Patagonia to a trust that will ensure that all profits are used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe.
The Virality Map of Patagonia’s tweet shows how the announcement propagated swiftly on Twitter with more than 150K engagements.
Patagonia’s tweet about the announcement burst onto Twitter with more than 150K engagements as shown in the Virality Map above. Brand mentions surged to a quarter million in 7 days, with +56% net sentiment, with the founder’s intentions to combat climate change driving the positivity to a larger extent.
Hey, friends, we just gave our company to planet Earth. OK, it’s more nuanced than that, but we’re closed today to celebrate this new plan to save our one and only home. We’ll be back online tomorrow.https://t.co/fvRFDgOzVZ
— Patagonia (@patagonia) September 14, 2022
Ok. We’re not suggesting you should give away your entire business. But this does highlight how much sustainability and environmentalism are conversation drivers for many consumers. With many now thinking of the pandemic as having passed, the focus is the future, and potential future crises. Consumers want to know how brands are working to prevent environmental devastation.
Talkwalker’s Brand Love Report highlights the importance of sustainability in relation to how loved a brand is. In this case, Patagonia showed the way by “going purpose” instead of going public.
Speaking of environmental impact, Just Stop Oil is “a coalition of groups working together to ensure that the government commits to ending all new licenses and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK”.
What makes it a shaker, is how it’s grown its awareness since its establishment in February 2022.
Through drastic actions, Just Stop Oil has leaped from obscurity to 84K mentions in a day.
From double-digit mentions per day at the start of the year, Just Stop Oil peaked with 84,000 mentions in October. By engaging in high-profile protests, such as throwing paint at brand headquarters and famous paintings, or blocking major roadways, the group has certainly hit the headlines. But most of these mentions are negative, with a -86.6% net sentiment.
People are aware of the movement, but it’s not winning over the public’s hearts just yet.
Sometimes, to get drastic results, you need to take drastic actions. Many brands aren’t shy about using controversy to boost awareness.
But forget the idiom. Not all news is good news. If you want to create buzz by taking a risk, make sure you keep an eye on the sentiment. Is the message resonating right with your audience, or is it falling flat?
You could end up causing more damage than good.
In November 2022, a new king of YouTube was crowned. MrBeast, AKA Jimmy Donaldson, has overtaken PewDiePie as the most-subscribed individual user on the platform. His popular internet challenges, and large monetary prizes, has attracted over 116M subscribers, and some very big name sponsors.
When you compare share of voice, MrBeast (pink) was consistently mentioned more times across social media in 2022, than PewDiePie (purple).
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. MrBeast can now be seen as its own brand, associated with numerous companies, philanthropies, and investments. When you compare share of voice, MrBeast was continually mentioned more than PewDiePie (the previous title holder) in 2022. Sentiment around his mentions was also higher (37.5% positive vs 22.9%).
The continual growth of influencers opens up new marketing opportunities. Why worry about going viral, when you can pay a pro to do it. Especially when they have a large and readily engaged community established. It’s estimated that a product promotion video from MrBeast would cost half that of a TV ad, while having more impact on the audience.
However, influencers also bring a risk. These new influencer entrepreneurs are establishing their own brands in various industries. This can be a real threat, especially since they have a strong consumer base that many businesses would love to own.
You need to know the key voices in your space, and understand if they can bring a benefit or a challenge to you.
Way back in 2017, a young fan urged Roger Federer to keep playing for several more years so that they could play each other when he turned pro. The tennis legend smiled and made a pinky promise that he would.
Little did we know, in August 2022, Federer would fulfill his promise in a heart warming initiative organized by pasta brand Barilla. The campaign garnered more than 10K mentions online, with a whopping 76% positive sentiment driven by campaign hashtags - #ThePromise and #ASignOfLove.
Sentiment analysis showed that the campaign hashtags were among the key drivers of the 76% positivity, as Barilla’s initiative was propagated all over social media.
Barilla’s post on YouTube was the most engaged result, with nearly 14K interactions. Visual analysis showed that the video was further shared on Twitter, online news and blogs, generating even more engagement.
Consumers love a heartfelt story. And if you attach your brand to one, that sentiment reflects on the brand. In Barilla’s case, there’s no promotion beyond a name drop at the end. Instead, the campaign focuses on the aspirational, and ties the brand to that.
As consumers look for more storytelling, don’t oversell your brand. Instead, look for the emotion you want consumers to feel, and inspire that.
Trains. In September 2022, who would have thought Amtrak could create an internet trend with just one word?
— Amtrak (@Amtrak) September 1, 2022
Not only did this tweet gain over 181K engagement, it spiraled into a chain of copycat brands, all jumping on the ‘one-word tweet’ trend. Everyone from Google to President Biden joined in, using the opportunity to increase relevance and engagement.
The top 100 tweets that joined in the trend, gained over 6.51M engagements, with a potential reach of 600M people.
When it comes to trends, there’s long-term, short-term, and those that are blink and you miss it. Something like the ‘one word tweet’ trend may have had no long-term impact on a brand, but on that day, the brands that joined in, proved to their audience they are relevant. The trick to getting it right is listening to your audience and reacting fast.
In November, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that it would be implementing a new pay equity policy for its contracted women cricketers. In what’s seen as a landmark move to battle discrimination in the sport, the board now pay men and women cricketers the same match fees. Since the announcement, more than 28K mentions about the topic were recorded, with a whopping +98% net sentiment.
The Influencer Network around BCCI’s announcement illustrates how the massive fan following of the sport and stars amplified the news and created awareness.
The cricket community showed appreciation for the initiative with nearly 300K engagements. Legends of the men’s game Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, and Suresh Raina welcomed the step from BCCI, while tweets from women cricketers like Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma also generated influence.
The decision aimed to provide a platform to develop the sport among women even further. The massive fan following of these stars amplified the news, bringing awareness to the sport and encouragement to many young women cricketers.
Sustainability isn’t just about the environment. It also includes social equality, another key driver consumers now expect from major brands. Brands can make a drastic difference in these areas, and with the right PR push behind the initiative, you can deliver great awareness and positive sentiment for your brand.
The 17th of March was St Patrick’s Day, which the Irish celebrate as a national day to commemorate their patron saint. For many, it’s a religious day, yet for others around the world it’s an event filled with festivities and parties. With over half a million online mentions about St Patrick’s Day in one week, sentiment was overwhelmingly in the green (how apt) at nearly 60% positive.
The Virality Map of the Irish Foreign Ministry’s tweet shows how its message spread around the world.
In 2022, the occasion also marked a chance to show support for those in difficult circumstances.The Irish Foreign Ministry posted an emotional video to celebrate the sovereignty of their nation, while taking the opportunity to express solidarity for Ukraine’s struggle for theirs. The tweet was one of the most engaging of the day, garnering 27K engagements online, and prompting #Ukraine to emerge among the top hashtags around St Patrick’s Day.
Brands can’t afford to be blinkered. Any action they take must be viewed on the global scale, and that may mean being involved in conversations that you wouldn’t initially think would involve them. In 2023, brands need to be aware of all the global conversations happening around them, and engage in those conversations as needed. Not just for the benefit of the brand itself, but for the good of the world.
Back in August, Dove launched a social media campaign #KeepTheGrey that aimed to shift the perception of grey hair and fight back against ageism in the workplace. It was launched after Canadian television journalist Lisa LaFlamme was unexpectedly let go from her position at a popular news program. This occurred after she allowed her hair to turn grey, and although the company denies a connection, the decision sparked public outrage.
As part of the campaign, Dove changed the color of its logo on its Instagram account from gold to grey, and encouraged others to do the same.
#KeepTheGrey garnered more than 8K online mentions, with two-thirds of these having positive sentiment. Other brands also rallied around Dove - Wendy’s turned the iconic red hair of its mascot grey, while Sports Illustrated went grey with its May ‘22 swimsuit cover. But more importantly, Dove was able to inspire the public to go grey, as visual analytics showed people proudly showing off their grey hair or posting greyscale images of themselves in support of the cause.
Visual analytics shows how #KeepTheGrey inspired people to show off their greying locks, while others supported the campaign with greyscale images.
Never underestimate your consumers as potential campaign resonators. If you can create a story that resonates well enough with your audience, then they will be willing to share that message across social media. Not only does this boost reach, but as 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family, these additional mentions will be more trusted and engaging than those you generate through owned channels.
One of the social media trends we identified for 2023, was the importance of privacy and security. Consumers want to have more control over their data, and how it is used. For many, this means moving across to a decentralized social network - one where no single entity has complete control. People have more choice on the servers they use, based on the community they want to engage with.
Throughout 2022, Mastodon made the most of this conversation, with consistent newsjacking content. Every time an issue arose with a centralized network, it highlighted the problem, and persuaded people across to their decentralized one.
Newsjacking has helped boost Mastodon from near obscurity to over 2.8M mentions in 2022.
Over time, the mentions around the brand have drastically increased, with spikes each time the Mastodon team newsjacked. However, many of the new mentions relate to how complicated the platform can be. The team is doing a great job of building awareness, but need to now focus on converting those new potential users.
As a growing business, a great tactic is to pick one or two competitors, and gun for them. Each time they make a mistake, jump on it with PR. Use competitive analysis to find where you can fulfill their consumers’ needs better, and target your messaging to that.
However, you can’t live in the shadows of your competition too long. Eventually, you need to decide if you’re an ‘alternative to X’ or a defined brand in your own right. And that means constantly adapting to your growing user demands.
In September, Virgin Atlantic launched a new gender-neutral uniform policy. The importance of identity continued to rise in 2022, and the uniforms would help staff to "embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work.”
The announcement itself garnered over 1.5K mentions in one day, with a net sentiment of +3.23%. That doesn’t seem particularly high, but the topic of gender-identity is often politicized, so actions like this do attract some negative pushback. However, many were supportive of the move.
Overall, the 2-word themes relating to the new uniforms had neutral sentiment. But several key phrases, such as ‘gender neutral’ and ‘gender expression’ garnered positive sentiment.
This is one of several actions the company took in 2022 to empower its staff. Something which can make a large difference to a business overall. There is a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, so creating a more supportive and inclusive environment in the workplace could lead to happy customers in the long run.
Brands need to take more purposeful stands in 2023. Consumers have higher expectations from brands than ever before, and they aren’t just product focused. How your brand takes a stand in topics related to equality, diversity and inclusion can be just as important as price, so look at the real stories resonating within your community, and start taking actions there now. It may shake your brand sentiment initially, but overtime, could bring real company benefits.
More movers and shakers?
That’s just a sample of what we saw in 2022. You can also sign up for our weekly Market Pulse newsletter to discover the latest brands creating a social stir, right in your inbox. And don’t forget to click below to discover the trends that will be driving the movers and shakers of 2023.
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