Benchmarking Sweden’s Top Cities

Using sentiment — in any language — to understand and benchmark consumer opinion

Where we work, live, and visit are some of the most important decisions we make. And those decisions are hugely influential to brands, as the outcomes have a major impact on who, and how, companies choose to target and engage with.

For example, knowing where people are holidaying is hugely important for not just travel agencies, hotels, and airlines, but also a host of other organisations such as real estate.

Likewise, real estate itself may be the obvious first thought when considering the impact of migration to ‘liveable’ cities or locations, but what about the implications for local government and their ability to offer amenities, facilities,  and infrastructure?

And lastly, for any brand, whether B2B or B2C, knowing where people are, why they are there, and their opinions on that location, can be hugely valuable data for brands trying to get a share of their awareness, consideration, and eventually their wallet.

Using sentiment analysis on social media data from millions of people, it is possible to get a wide, and thorough, view on which locations are perceived positively or negatively. So, at Crimson Hexagon we decided to look at a specific country, Sweden, to see what people thought of living, working, and visiting there.

Sweden’s Top Cities

We opted to look at five of Sweden’s largest cities: Stockholm, Malmö, Uppsala, Gothenburg (Göteborg), and Västerås. Applying automatic sentiment analysis, using Crimson Hexagon’s AI-Powered Consumer Insights Platform, we can detect clear trends across three areas of interest: living, working, and visiting in these cities. Importantly, this automatic sentiment methodology can be applied in Swedish as well as English and other major European languages, to ensure we get a good understanding of the opinions regardless of language.

So, when we analyzed those millions of conversations about living in, working in and visiting Swedish cities, what did we find? Which cities were most favorably viewed?

First, let’s look at overall conversations.

Across over 10 million online posts, we see widely diverging opinions, even using simple auto-sentiment in Swedish. We can see that Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, has the most positive overall sentiment of the cities. This methodology is a great starting point for any competitive benchmarking activity, where brands or products could be compared just like we’ve done with the cities here.

Living In Sweden

When we get more specific with the three categories we’re using to compare the Swedish cities and make our location-based decisions, we start with what Swedish people are saying about living in those places.

The conversation about living in the Swedish cities is significantly less positive overall than most of the other categories. After some control tests, we learned that this trend is mirrored in other European and global cities, so it makes sense to use comparative, rather than absolute, figures. Malmo seems to be getting a lot of negativity in terms of living there, while Vasteras has the highest relative sentiment score.

Doing Business in Sweden

Next we analyzed the overall conversation about doing business in these Swedish cities. Again, sentiment is generally more negative in this conversation (perhaps there’s simply a likelihood that many people will be less-than-enthusiastic about their jobs and daily commutes in their online musings!), but Gothenburg and Stockholm are seen as the best places to do business in.

Visiting Sweden

Consumers may have qualms about living and working in the 5 Swedish cities, but their opinions about visiting the cities is much higher. In absolute terms, all 5 cities are quite positive in this category (who doesn’t love a holiday or city break?!), but in relative terms, Stockholm is the most popular travel destination, followed by Gothenburg.

By getting simple, automatic access to benchmarking data such as this, brands can make more impactful decisions and be better informed. And lastly, the methodologies described here are hugely flexible and applicable elsewhere: rather than benchmarking cities, how about doing the same for brands or products to understand the context in which you do business?

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