Can you determine the value of your company's brand by the number of people on Facebook who click the "like" button? Three Booz & Co. consultants conducted some research that suggests such markers are an accurate measure of your brand's impact.
Nicholas Hodson, Umut Aytekin and Jon Crawford created a new marketing metric: Likes per million dollars of revenue. In Strategy + Business, they explain that this involved collecting Facebook "like" numbers (which are automatically made public) for a range of leading companies. Those were then divided by the companies' revenues.
Forever 21, which makes clothing for teenage girls, led with more than 5,000 "likes" per million dollars in revenue; followed by Burberry at more than 4,000; Starbucks at 2,500; Levi Strauss at slightly more than 2,000; and Gucci at about 1,900. Hovering at about 1,000 "likes" were Coca-Cola, Yahoo and Zara. To the consultants' surprise, Subway restaurants marginally has more engagement than eBay and Best Buy. Wal-Mart gets a huge number of "likes," but when revenue is factored in, it falls below Macy's and Kohl's department stores.
With a brand that sells clothes to Facebook-using teenage girls as the winner, the figures are suspect, so the consultants compared their findings with Interbrand's annual survey of the world's leading brands. They found that most companies have a Facebook followership that correlates fairly closely with their brand's presence in the outside world as defined by Interbrand. They suggest the fact that companies such as Starbucks and Zara fare better with the "like" measure than with Interbrand may herald better brand value in future, as the Facebook generation becomes the mainstream consumers.