How Can Greeting Card Leader Remain Relevant in the Digital Age?
Given that Hallmark’s slogan is “Life is a Special Occasion,” it’s not surprising that over the past year, the brand was the subject of 2,000 Twitter posts on average each week. Nearly synonymous with ‘greeting card,’ the Hallmark card has so far survived the threats presented by text messages and e-cards. But as postage prices continue to rise and mail service cuts back to five days a week, how can Hallmark remain relevant in the digital age? For insight into Hallmark’sbrand affinity, we turn to social media analysis for guidance.
“Hallmark” and “cards” is a pairing one might expect to appear in a majority of social media posts about the brand. But beyond aggregating word pairings, Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight™ social media analysis brings to light the opinions that inspire consumers to either praise or criticize a brand on social media. With these insights, we can then track the opinions over time to identify the occasions when consumers are more likely to turn to, or turn against, the brand.
In the last 12 months, 75% of the Twitter conversation was positive in nature. While 17% expressed brand affinity with Hallmark and its products, a much larger portion uses Hallmark’s sentimentality in a humorous or sarcastic context (58%):
Despite the sarcastic tone of many of the posts in this category, the direct association between Hallmark and sentimentality aligns with Hallmark’s brand messaging.
One quarter of the total Hallmark conversation over the last year was critical of the company’s commercialization of personal moments and heartfelt interactions. A significant portion of social media users, at times the majority, question Hallmark’s transparency when its campaigns call on us to celebrate life’s sweet moments by purchasing a greeting card:
The seasonality of this cynical strand of the conversation adds more depth to our understanding of what inspires it:
In both 2012 and 2013, early February incites the highest proportion of negative opinions, with a peak of over 80% on February 14, 2012. Doubtful of Hallmark’s intentions when they promote holidays, some of these consumers might be impossible for Hallmark to win over, but their public anti-Hallmark sentiment is certain to influence the members of their broader social networks who still purchase greeting cards.
Given that skepticism toward the ethics of Hallmark’s branding spikes so dramatically around Valentine’s Day, how can the company fight fire with their brand of kindness? Hallmark’s web site claims “Our brand will continue to flourish because Hallmark is about what endures – that human need to connect emotionally with others.” Because of Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight social media analysis we know that a majority of the online conversation about Hallmark is sarcastic or humorous. To remain relevant in the digital age, Hallmark cards should therefore address not only our need to connect around sentimental events but also embrace the biting, edgy, and self-aware humor that is prevalent on social media.
Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight empowers brand managers and marketing professionals to gain actionable insights about what motivates customers to engage with their brand, and what turns them away from the brand’s message. If you would like to know how ForSight can empower your brand affinity, please request a live demo.
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