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Digital, tech brands more buzzworthy than traditional marketers: report

Disney, BMW and Nike are the only traditional consumer brands in the top 10 on a new list released today ranking the most popular brands based on social and online conversations. 

The findings from Infegy point to how digital and technology brands are commanding online conversations, with the top five names on the list consisting of Google in the top spot, followed by Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Tumblr. As mobile users drive much of the activity online and on social media, the results suggest that traditional brands are struggling to connect with today?s digital consumers. 

?Brands that are not really embracing a digital strategy, and more importantly, looking at doing it authentically, are really going to have a hard time sitting atop of consumer consciousness going forward,? said Rion Martin, marketing director at Infegy, Kansas City, MO. 

?Social is here, digital is here,? he said. ?If they are not building brand ambassadors and inspiring people and doing the right things, they can quickly become less and less relevant.?

Infegy is a social media intelligence platform. 

Google takes top spot
Drawing on billions of online conversations, Infegy analyzed factors such as the total number of conversations online and on social media about a brand, the sentiment expressed toward a brand and purchase intent for more than 800 brands to come up with its ranking of the most popular brands worldwide, available in the report,  ?The World?s 50 Most Popular Brands of 2014.  

The findings point to how consumers today are increasingly interacting with and responding to brands online and on social media from their mobile devices and how marketers need to adjust their strategies to reach consumers in a positive and engaging way. 

Google claimed the top spot for the second year in a row thanks to volume of conversations, positive sentiment and overall passion for the brand. Nexus was one of the more popular topics of conversation around Google. 

Disney, which came in sixth place, had the most positive brand sentiment, with 86 percent of conversations that were positive. 

While Apple came in number four on the list, total conversations were down 32 percent compared to 2013. The brand?s chatter peaked in September and October, which is when the iPhone 6 launched. 

Chevrolet loses ground
Chevrolet experienced the biggest change in ranking, dropping 16 spots to number 46. 

?Chevrolet big drop was around the recalls,? said Mr. Martin. ?What was holding the brand up online is their associated sponsorships that they are driving on their marketing and advertising front. 
?That helps balancing these things out. If that weren?t there, it would have been more negative.?

Chipotle saw the biggest gain, moving up 10 places to number 30. 

Chipotle?s rise can be explained, in part, by the brand?s expertise at driving online conversations. For example, it had a popular meme last year around the topic ?I know that guacamole is extra.? 

The chain also actively promotes its social responsibility, something mobile-savvy millennial consumers are quick to pick up on. 
Consumers are fickle
One newcomer to the list is the mobile gaming app Flappy Bird, which is the only game on this year?s list. While the brand?s popularity may not be longstanding, its appearance on the list points to how mobile games are capturing consumers? attention. 

Another key finding was that FitBit saw the highest purchase intent at 36 percent, highlighting the strong interest in wearable technology. 

?A lot of people approaching social media ere using smartphones rather than their computers,? Mr. Martin said. 

?The findings highlight how consumers are fickle, how quickly things that can change for a brand,? he said. 

Final Take?
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York