- Luxury automaker Lamborghini took the top spot in the TotalSocial ranking of top automotive brands in the U.S. based on social influence, according to an Engagement Labs report provided to Marketing Dive. The rankings measure the most important drivers of brand performance in offline and online conversations.
- Toyota, BMW, Audi and Subaru made up the top five, respectively. Subaru jumped eight spots from the previous ranking, the biggest improvement in the top 10.
- Ferrari dropped from first place to No. 6, in part because of a drop in the number of consumers talking about the brand online and offline. Tesla fell to No. 10 after being ranked second on previous lists. Honda dropped out of the top 10 and landed at No. 15.
The Engagement Labs rankings highlight how the auotmakers faring best in online and offline chatter have successfully leveraged brand narratives, on digital channels and elsewhere, to support new products that get people talking in the real world. Lamborghini's top spot stems from its announcement of a new SUV, its first in more than 20 years, that is expected to hit the market this summer, for example. BMW was able to engage consumers with its new Access by BMW subscription service pilot program that gives members access to a fleet of vehicles.
Embracing emotional appeals and trendier digital tactics also appears to be paying off. Subaru's long-running "Share the Love" campaign last year included a cause-driven element through a donation to a charity of a consumer's choice when they purchased a vehicle. The brand's strong performance in the TotalSocial rankings points to how brands that embrace purpose-led marketing can bolster their value. A report by Kantar Consulting released earlier this year found that businesses with a strong purpose have grown their brand valuation at a rate two times faster than those without one.
On the digital end, Toyota was a strong player, ranking the highest among non-luxury automakers on Engagement Labs' list. Recent campaigns from the marketer have included "Serious Play," which launched earlier this month and includes Pinterest Pincodes and integrations with Reddit/WBUR’s "Endless Thread" podcast series. Toyota has also boosted purchase consideration among millennial consumers by sponsoring live streams of music festivals with Oath.