A Look Back at 2015

Dec 31, 2015

A Look Back at 2015

Another year has come and gone, and we at Affinity Answers could not be more excited to share the good times and prosperity awaiting us in 2016 with all of you. Just before the ball drops and 2015 is in the history books, we are taking a look back at a sample of the big name brands who made their mark in the last 12 months.


There is nothing more important for a brand than to build long-lasting relationships with customers and nurture those that are just beginning. Knowing what is relevant to consumers is not only strategic – via Affinity Answers’ solutions, it’s also actionable and measurable. We hope to work with you in 2016 – Happy New Year!


Blue Bell Creameries


Before April was out, Blue Bell had done something it had never done before: it issued a massive recall. According to the press release, this was a voluntary action in response to positive tests indicated that Listeria was contained in its Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons. A bad situation, certainly, but what they did next likely lead to its increased engagement on social platforms.


Once they were given the go-ahead to produce ice cream again, Blue Bell announced a five-phase plan for restocking its products and took consumers along on its journey. They posted a map on their website to let customers know when ice cream was coming back to their area, and created content related to each phase on its Facebook and Twitter pages. All in all, an engaging journey designed to rebuild trust and engagement.


From the announcement of the five-phase plan to the present, Blue Bell saw::

  • 111% and 208% increase in engaged fans on Facebook and Twitter, respectively
  • Affinity growth with convenience stores (+12%) and grocery stores (+10%), to which its ice cream was returning


Donald Trump


This presidential election cycle has definitely been one to remember, and that is in large part due to the campaign of Donald Trump. Whether you agree with his political tactics or not, he has charted a unique, if not controversial, course for his campaign. Aside from his poll numbers, Trump is also increasing his affinity with all categories on social media, and in some unexpected places.


Trump’s social fans have engaged more with TV than with any other category since he announced his candidacy back in June. This is no doubt due to his many appearances, including the high profile stages of Saturday Night Live (+11%) and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (+10%). What is seemingly odd about this is that he has gained more affinity with Univision (+24%), with whom Trump had a falling out over the Miss Universe pageant, and Morning Joe (+14%), on which he had a rather heated interview with host Joe Scarborough.


Whatever the reason for the common social engagement, Trump’s campaign has shown that a brand is capable of expanding its audience far beyond your initial backers. Consider social affinity an invaluable barometer in determining who and where your campaign should target next.


Since the campaign announcement, Trump has posted:

  • 368% increase in total engaged fans, with the greatest bump on Twitter
  • The most engaged fans of any celebrity, politician or otherwise, 62 places above chief rival Hillary Clinton


Star Wars: The Force Awakens


We could not let a 2015 review post pass without mentioning possibly the largest movie marketing push of this or any year. Of course, any time Star Wars returns to the big screen, it’s not just a movie, it’s a resurgence of a piece of American culture. Being the first film of the series to premiere in the era of social media, this allows it to be that much more of a touchpoint for fans of wide varieties of brands.


Episode VII has been a yearlong event, with the first teaser trailer premiering in November 2014. Since then, it has been highly anticipated, and in the weeks leading up to the film’s release, it has been tied into any imaginable brand, from Duracell to Verizon. Not only did it score big wins for partners General Mills, Covergirl and Chrysler, but affinity between the film and Coca-Cola Zero grew by triple digit percentages, along with the seemingly unrelated Allegiant Air.


The benefits of this partnership cut both ways: Star Wars fans are an excellent audience to which a brand can extend its campaign, and marketers behind the movie have converted brand audiences that would not have traditionally been considered a fan base for Star Wars.


Throughout 2015, Star Wars became:

  • The #2 film in engaged fans, second only to Jurassic World
  • 14% more likely to have its social fans engage with any brand

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