Digital grip: How successful brands are pulling away from the rest

When preparing our recent report on Beauty and Personal Care we noticed a familiar pattern – the brands that are biggest on Twitter are also growing fastest:

And, as we have seen in category after category,  these leading brands don’t just lead on Twitter, they lead across platforms.

Digging deeper we have found a consistent pattern in what these brands are doing, and as importantly what they don’t do.

What’s that?

They treat digital as a marathon.

Each individual activity isn’t massive, but each attracts a few more followers / subscribers / fans to the brand, relentlessly and unceasingly leaving the brand in a better position than before.

These brands don’t look at headline “vanity metrics” like views or likes (which can easily be bought).  Instead they focus on what we are calling grip.

Grip is the ability of an activity to organically attract new followers / subscribers / fans.  It’s measured in ratios – “How many new subscribers are we getting per view?” “How many retweets are we getting per follower?”

Winning brands benefit from the mathematics of compound interest.  Each gain is permanent, and increases the effectiveness of the brand’s communication for the rest of time.

This is the opposite of how most traditionally “big” brands are thinking.  Take this example from Lancome, with nearly a million views.  A good result?  Not when we see that hardly anybody rated the video, and nobody subscribed.  These are empty views.   Over the course of a year a brand like this will lose out to brands that are running smaller, grippier activities (and after a few years each activity of the grippier brand will be larger than those of the “big” brand).

Once you start thinking in this way it changes how you look at strategy, in terms of investments by platform, country, language and category.  Most of all it affects the balance of investments between designing content (more and more) and paid reach (less and less).

The grip approach also influences platform tactics.  These brands understand how to use each to its best effect, and how to combine them.  In each case they optimize for grip.  They ask “How do you run activities on Facebook that build a fan base?” “How do you manage a YouTube channel to grow subscribers?”  “What Twitter tactics engage and grow a follower base?”

Brands that have mastered this – like MAC and Benefit Cosmetics – are growing into giants.  Not only is their growth long-term and continuous, they are learning more, innovating faster, and actively pulling away from the rest.

The full findings are available in our report on Beauty and Personal Care Digital Performance.  Contact us to secure your copy.