What do people LIKE about the most disliked brands in the US?

Published on Mar 10th, 2013

Very few people LOVE their cable or satellite provider. Five of the top fifteen most disliked brands in America are satellite or cable companies. Yet, more than 10 million Americans LIKE them on Facebook.

And no, it’s not for the freebies (there are very few), incentives (most MVPD’s avoid acquisition offers because they’re unclear on how many of their fans are already subscribers and at what level) or the social cache (in case you were wondering, there is none). So what's the deal folks?

The next most disliked set of companies are the Airlines: Delta, American Airlines, USAirways and United all make the list. Yet over 1.5MM people have said 'I like', and some airlines have among the highest engagement across categories. I became confused. Why do we complain about how awful a company is to our friends over lunch, then LIKE them visibly to everyone we’ve ever met, on Facebook? Are the most 'disliked' brands in fact the most 'unliked' brands, and how do they actually stack up when you take a look at the true engagement performance and participation by real people with their organic content?

At a glance, engagement across these allegedly 'disliked' brands is surprisingly high. Average content engagement is a measure of the % of a brands' fans who interact or participate with social content every time they post to Facebook (so, for example, 0.13% of Cox Communications' 578, 722 fans liked, shared or commented on every post they made in February).

Just for the sake of benchmarking, a few comparisons:

Red Bull on average gets 0.03% fan-base engagement per post. Coca Cola, 0.01%. Amazon.com, 0.04%. Even Starbucks only narrowly outperforms 5 of the 8 measured companies, with average engagement clocking in at just 0.16% per post. Granted, these companies have larger fan-bases, making it ever more challenging to sustain customer participation. But Time Warner Cable's social content receiving more than 10x the average fan interaction than Coca Cola? Clearly, something curious is afoot and more digging is necessary...

Perhaps one solution will be to measure people's behavior and actions (voting with their feet or, in this case, their social interactions) rather than merely their stated survey preferences, which are often swayed by emotion and circumstance and have little correlation with what one will actually do in situ.

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