Benchmarking your brand’s performance against competitors

May 11, 2022

Written by Haley Corzo

In this third installment of our blog series that uses Home Depot as a guide for how brands can utilize NewsWhip Spike, we’re demonstrating how our Combined Timelines feature can help you benchmark your brand’s performance. 

Let’s get right into it with some examples.

Benchmark the media and public interest in your brand against its competitors

We previously analyzed how to keep track of your brand’s earned media with Timeline. But what do those conversations about your brand look like compared to those about your competitors? 

It’s obvious that increasing brand awareness is important, especially in crowded industries, but the ability to quantify media and public interest in your brand and its competitors, and uncover the causes behind it, is key for gathering insights and informing strategy.

Screenshot of NewsWhip Spike showing the public interest in Lowe's, Walmart, and Home Depot

The graph above compares the public interest in stories about Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart since April 1st on a Combined Timeline. The purpose of this graph is to compare the amount of engagement (Facebook likes, shares, and comments, plus Twitter shares and Pinterest pins) that stories about the three have received, and what specific narratives are driving the conversations about them.

You can also toggle to see media interest, which shows how light or heavy the coverage of each company was on a certain day in terms of number of articles, as seen in the graph below.

Screenshot of NewsWhip Spike showing benchmarking of media interest inn Home Depot, Walmart and Lowe's

For our purposes, let’s return to public interest. 

In this case, Walmart soars well above the two with one major peak on April 8th. By clicking into the peak you can begin to see what narrative, if any, drove engagement on that day. Stories about Walmart announcing it will increase truck drivers’ salaries to as much as $110k a year caused tens of thousands of engagements, with NBC’s article leading the pack (28k). From this observation you could infer that the public cares about employee related news and the decisions brands are making about them.

It’s also possible that public interest in your brand could be driven by a story that doesn’t have a lot to do with your products, services, or business decisions, and that much was true for Home Depot on April 13th. The biggest peak for Home Depot resulted from co-founder Ken Langone’s comments on Biden, and as NewsWhip Spike shows, the headline was, “Founder of American-made company Home Depot says Biden ‘worse than Jimmy Carter.’” The article from Fox News received nearly 60k engagements on that one day, and has since totaled over 72.4k. 

Lowe’s did not seem to generate an abundance of media or public interest during this time, and while that’s not to be defined as a good or bad thing, it could be a useful note for competitors that coverage about the store has not been as engaging for audiences.

Put the size of any story or event into perspective

Sometimes what’s being said about your brand comes directly from individuals on the inside, and the aforementioned story about Home Depot’s co-founder is an example of how a brand can be brought into a discussion of which they didn’t intend to be a part.

Screenshot from NewsWhip Spike showing two different Home Depot narratives compared with each other in terms of public interest

It’s not uncommon for comments made by executives to make headlines and generate interest. In fact, it’s a topic we frequently include in our quarterly crisis reports because their influence and actions can have a real impact on the brands they lead. That being said, Combined Timelines can be used to gauge how truly important a story might be and how it could affect your brand’s perception. 

Ken Langone has found himself in the midst of political conversations more than once, and back in January he caught the media’s attention when he donated to Sen. Joe Manchin’s leadership PAC. In total, the stories about his contribution received 12.7k engagements, compared to the 95.8k engagements that came from his criticism of Biden and the current economy.

The use of Combined Timelines in this scenario reveals how much more this story resonated with the public, and you could also benchmark it against public and media interest in the biggest topics on a given day, week, or month, such as Elon Musk buying Twitter, or any other example you might wish to compare. 

There are even more ways to benchmark your brand’s performance with NewsWhip Spike, but Combined Timelines can help you get started by visualizing how competitors compare, and the stories that truly matter to your brand.

If you would like to see how NewsWhip Spike can be used to monitor your brand, request a demo here.

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