Twitter effect hits brands as the impact on consumer perception becomes clear

Stephan Shakespeare
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WHETHER NatWest’s recent computer problems are over remains to be seen, but what is already obvious is the damage that is being done to perception of the brand.

YouGov SoMA (Social Media Analysis tool) looks at the impact that campaigns or crises have on social media.

While an average day generates tweets about NatWest that are seen by just 0-2 per cent of the Twitter population, since the crisis began that has risen significantly to reach a high of 23 per cent last Friday.

Over five days, 37 per cent of the UK’s Twitter population was exposed to tweets about NatWest, and the story’s durability is shown by a 21 per cent reach score on Monday, five days after the initial problem was reported.

RBS escapes the twitter impact

Interestingly, the social media impact of the story has largely been confined to NatWest.

Parent company RBS has seen a slight rise in social media reach but much of that is due to its downgrading by Moody’s last week, and the much bigger story last Tuesday when it announced job losses (resulting in 26 per cent reach).

BrandIndex, which measures overall brand perception, reveals that NatWest is suffering in the real world as well.

The brand’s buzz score (those hearing positive news minus those hearing negative news) is down from the usual level of around zero to -63 on Monday, and its Index (a composite score of six key perception measures) has plummeted from +3 to -20.

RBS has also been hit here, with buzz down from a normal -10 level, to -37, and Index falling from an already low -10 to -22.

So a difficult time for NatWest, and it’s clear that this problem has had an immediately obvious impact on brand perception.

It will be important for the bank to repair this damaged image if they are going to re-convince customers that it is a brand that can be trusted.