News: Electronic Arts’ game title No. 1 in Social Brands 100 2013

Video game Battlefield has taken the number one spot in Social Brands 100 – the annual report of brands leading the way in social. The ranking is dominated by the Retail industry this year, making up 25% of the list overall, however Travel brands have made their mark, with four featuring in the top ten.

The research has found that brands are starting to make the most of social for their customer care with scores slightly higher for those metrics. Scores were on average lower for engagement metrics, suggesting more could be done to better connect with people and create long-term loyalty. Continue reading

Social Brands 100 2013 – watch the livestream and follow #sb100

We’ve been busy these last few weeks getting the Social Brands 100 report to print and organising the launch, which takes place this Thursday (23 May) at the RSA in London.

Space is limited, so unfortunately we can’t fit everyone in. The good news is, we’ll be livestreaming the event at – which is also where the report will also be available to download.

The launch will feature presentations from Travel, FMCG, Retail, and Charity brands, and the No.1 social brand of 2013. Sorry, we can’t give you names without giving away the results.

Viewers of the livestream can follow and interact during the event via Twitter using hashtag #sb100.

Social Brands 100 launch schedule

9.15 – Introduction – Tom Chapman, Headstream
9.25 – SB100: The findings – Maeve O’Sullivan, Headstream
9.55 – SB100: The analytics – Jan Rezab, Socialbakers
10.10 – Q&A

10.20 – Approaches in social content. Hosted by Russell Loarridge, Managing Director Europe, Janrain

  • Presentations from Charity and FMCG brands
  • Q&A

10.50 – Break

11.20 – Integrating social into customer service. Hosted by Gordon MacMillan, Editor, Brand Republic

  • Presentations from Retail and Travel brands
  • Q&A

11.50 – No. 1 Brand Case Study Presentation

12.20 – Closing remarks – Tom Chapman, Headstream

12.30 – Ends

Social Brands 100 – the final ranking

After nine months of planning, and five months of nominating, analysing and judging the Social Brands 100 ranking is live! The full findings are now available to download at We would love to know what you think of this year’s roll call of social brand leaders.

Congratulations to every brand listed, you prevailed over another  200 brands that were put forward at the nomination stage. To be included in the 100 shortlist is an achievement in itself, and the range and quality of brands present this year is superb. The popularity of the crowd-sourced nominations has inevitably resulted in many ‘new entrants’ into the list, and a subsequent reshuffle of brand positions from 2011.

The highest ranking brand this year is Innocent, of smoothies fame, a worthy winner that proves year-in year-out an ability to maintain a personal and human connection with its fans. While there are other household names in the top ten, Cadbury, Starbucks, ASOS, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Cancer Research UK, there are also some less obvious names; The Met Office, ARKive, British Red Cross and giffgaff. This is something Social Brands 100 is proud of.

As outlined in earlier posts to use a methodology that ranks brands from different sectors, and of different sizes, as fairly as possible is our primary concern.

To do this we evolved our 2012 methodology from 2011 in two ways. Firstly, we increased the number of platforms, and metrics from those platforms, collected and analysed. In total we selected nineteen metrics from eight different platforms and carefully ascribed weightings to them that reflect where consumers are (fish where the fish are!), and how platforms are used. This gave us what we call our ‘Data Score’ for each brand (full details are on pages 11 and 43-46 of the Social Brands 100 publication). Secondly, we increased the weighting of the Data Score in relation to our ‘Panel Score’, which is derived from our expert panel of judges scoring each brand. This reflects the increased scope of the Data Score to assess metrics such as effectiveness and value of content posted by brands in social spaces.

Of course, you may well  have your own opinion on the strengths or weaknesses of this methodology to judge your particular brand’s social performance, and consider that certain platforms or weightings could be changed. It is possible to ‘bespoke’ social performance measurement through our subsequent brand specific research. However, the intention of the Social Brands 100 methodology is to find a common ground that indicates whether the fundamental social principles of win-win relationships, active listening and appropriate behaviour are being adopted.

Amongst the insights and highlights from this year’s ranking and analysis are:

  • The highest ranked brands create genuine one-to-one connections with individuals on a consistent basis
  • Charity brands emerge as the best performing sector with three charities in the Top Ten, and over 25% of the top twenty.
  • Google+ made its mark as a new entrant with 49 of the 100 brands adopting the platform
  • foursquare remains a niche platform for the Social Brands 100 with 18% adoption compared to 22% in 2011’s ranking

The top ranked brands by industry sector were;

  • Automotive – Ford
  • Charity – Cancer Research UK
  • Entertainment – The Ellen de Generes Show
  • Fashion and Beauty – Lush
  • Financial Services – Wonga
  • FMCG – Innocent
  • Manufactured goods – Gibson
  • Media – Guinness World Records
  • Retail – ASOS
  • Services – Met Office
  • Technology – HTC
  • Telecom – giffgaff
  • Travel & Leisure – Starbucks

Many of these brands will be joining us at an event to celebrate the Social Brands 100 at 4PM (GMT) today (May 29th). To follow the conversation go to @socialbrands100, and track the #sb100 hashtag. We will be taking questions from Twitter as well as the audience, so please feel free to get involved.

There is a host of additional information, detailed analysis and case studies in the full publication that is available for download, here. What do you think of  the Social Brands 100 ranking this year? We’d love to know!

Social brands for social good

Following the launch of the Social Brands 100 we wanted to take the opportunity to explore some of the insights and findings from slightly different angles. One observation we made in the course of the research was that only one charity was nominated when entries were crowdsourced on Twitter last year. This echoes Anne McCrossan’s question in her post about the report. She wonders why more charities or not-for-profit aren’t on the list when the whole sector is ‘dependent on social and philanthropic participation’. Anne proposes that one explanation might be that those involved have always participated therefore making it harder to be recognised as such.

This is a good point but one cannot help think there is a bit of a missed opportunity for the charity sector. Take authenticity and transparency, two indicators that sit at the heart of what a social brand is and are also central concerns for charities. Indeed trust and confidence in the authentic nature of the charity will have a direct impact on its fundraising achievements. Back in October of last year, the ImpACT coalition launched a ‘transparency manifesto’ where Stephen Bubb, chief executive of ACEVO, stated: ‘We cannot afford to continue to be complacent about the high levels of trust the public stores in us. That trust is fragile and we have a duty to demonstrate why we deserve it’. There is a simultaneous drive led by Martha Lane Fox’s Race Online 2012 for charities to embrace the digital age to help make them more efficient and ‘reach their audience more effectively’. Lane Fox reiterated the urgency for charities to use the Internet ‘[f]or their own survival in today’s tough funding environment, but also because technology is now key to unlocking some of our most entrenched social problems’.

This shows that there is clearly an element of risk for charities missing out by not using the digital and ‘social toolkit’ available to them today. But turning the argument around there is also a wealth of opportunities available to those willing to take the plunge. The Child’s i Foundation aptly demonstrates our point when they say:

‘Everything we do revolves around our community and the connections we make through it, and our ability to generate conversation and connect. [...] We want our supporters to be part of our journey, to truly experience our successes, as well as our failures. We like to have conversations with our supporters, and create a credible and compelling groundswell of support for our project as we tell our story online.’

At Headstream we often talk about the power of the community. We usually refer to the crises mega-social-media companies like Dell have overcome, driving home the point about the amplified power of online communities. The Child’s i Foundation demonstrates that, for a brand adopting the behaviours and attributes of a social brand, this power can also be harnessed for social good.

Getting our cupcakes out for charity

Good, glad that got your attention!

Here at Headstream, on the 23rd July, we are hosting our very own Strawberry Tea in aid of Breast Cancer Care. We’re all really excited to get our oven gloves on to help raise money for such a fantastic and worthwhile cause and will have all sorts of delicious goodies on offer, from strawberry shortcake to cupcakes and beyond! We will even have refreshment provided by one of our generous clients, Shloer, to wash down all that cake!

On the day, not only will our wider team at Lawton Communications Group be coming along but we will also have some representatives from Breast Cancer Care joining in the fun so we will be sure to share some pictures of the occasion here on the blog.

In the meantime, here’s a funny picture of us all getting in the spirit!

Play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for charity? Yes please!

OK, so hands up who’s heard of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2?  You know the biggest entertainment launch in history… bigger than Harry Potter – yep that’s the one!  Well, our entire agency has been buzzing over the last few weeks as we have been working with Activision for the launch of Modern Warfare 2.  Did you know that our partner agency Five by Five created all the digital media across Europe and heavily influenced the global strategy?  Well they did, and because we at Headstream work closely with Activision too on their social media strategy we were called up for social media duty on the GAME for Good campaign.

To give you the back story, GAME for Good was a partnership between Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and GAME stores with the objective of raising money for the awesome charity War Child. The donation, to be made by Activation was up to a cool £250,000 and this was based on the number of unique UK players who play MW2 on Xbox Live between midnight Saturday 5th December to midnight on Sunday 6th December.  So essentially, all those with Xbox LIVE and a copy of Modern Warfare 2 had the excuse to play for 48 hours guilt free knowing that they were doing it all for charity.

To help spread the good word, we delivered a social media campaign that leveraged Facebook and Twitter platforms and included outreach activity amongst influential online forums, blogs and communities.

The Facebook brand outpost was the launch pad for all event activity and was restricted to 18+ audiences.  Within the page, fans could network and were encouraged to share their gamertag with others.  This community over the duration of the campaign grew in excess of 16,000 fans and engagement was phenomenal!  Check it out for yourself at:

We also designed and developed bespoke Facebook tabs and a dedicated GAME for Good facebook application. This application encouraged fans to form a clan by enlisting their friends to play MW2 in multiplayer mode on Xbox LIVE at a specific time on the 5th – 6th December.  Once enlisted, the application automatically posted a live Facebook status update of the event which can be seen by the participant’s friends helping to increase word-of-mouth activity.  The app automatically added a banner to the side of the user’s wall too which displayed their gamertag and the time they were playing online so that any other friends could join in too.

In support of the Facebook page, a dedicated Twitter profile was set up @gameforgood to engage with MW2 fans.  Fans were encouraged to add a GAME for Good Twibbon to their profile helping raise awareness and increase buzz amongst the many game and tech communities on Twitter.

So how did the campaign do?  Well this post by War Child taken from the GAME for Good Facebook page tells all: “More than 1 million Xbox owners in the UK took part in our GAME for Good weekend last weekend – raising us £250,000. That money will transform the lives of children living in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones. THANK YOU everyone who took part.“ 

It was our pleasure!