2019 Report

Brand Conversation Index

newly Developed by Brægen


Introducing a new measure for engagement success.

2018, the year that social media took a battering. From data scandals and platforms getting fined to mental health consequences uncovered. Yet social media can be used for good. It can start movements, drive social change, hold brands accountable and create world-wide awareness of important issues in an instant. So how did the world’s favourite brands fare this year? Did they change the world? Did they start big conversations? Have they used their powers, followers and platforms for good?

The Brand Conversation Index, developed by Brægen

The Brand Conversation Index, developed by Brægen

To date, social media measurement tools have analysed how a brand’s followers have interacted with it in their channels to measure ‘engagement’ - likes, shares and clicks. The team at Brægen have developed a new kind of measurement tool which takes on board every aspect of a brand's communications strategy and analyses it on the basis of how engaging it truly is. How conversational is the brand? How is it inviting its followers to co-create its products, services and even its strategy? Is it providing a platform to consumers? Is it having a two-way conversation with consumers… or is it just broadcasting and not listening?


Brands vs. The People

who does it better?

Brands have always competed for share of voice, constantly vying for consumers’ (people’s) attention . Yet we live in unprecedentedly complex times and people now want more innovative and interesting ways to experience brands. Content creation is king and no longer the sole domain of brands and institutions – anyone can now create better and more engaging content.

This new ‘un-White Paper’ calls for bringing ‘engagement’ back to its core roots, reclaiming the word, returning it to its true meaning of grabbing, catching, gaining, captivating, holding, gripping, engrossing and occupying our attention.


Chasing the Golden Goose.



Engagement is the Marketing & PR industry’s main breadwinner – it’s what we strive for and what keeps us up at night. In an increasingly crowded space, it’s becoming difficult for brands to grab and hold people’s attention.

The word ‘Engagement’ is also becoming cheap currency. It’s overused to mean mostly likes, retweets and shares i.e. light-touch and do not translate into people becoming brand advocates, ambassadors or customers.


Engagement is one of those buzzwords that’s bandied around and doesn’t actually mean anything.
— Paul Fraser, Managing Director of MH Foods, Dairy Crest

How can we better respond to changing habits and expectations and find a new way to measure engagement?

The Index.

Brægen’s Onion of Truth

We have developed a new engagement measurement tool, something we call ‘The Onion of Truth’ but you could call it something sensible like like ‘The Conversation Index’ because that’s essentially what it is. It has been developed to measure what is real vs. faux engagement and we tested it out on some of the world’s most well-known and ‘trusted’ so called Superbrands and some of the hottest disruptor brands - the new kids on the block competing with the big players in their respective industries.


Find out more about The Brand Conversation Index and what each layer means in practise.

The results?

On the positive side, we saw some great examples of co-creation and two-way conversation in action. However, bar these small pockets of good practice, we found a disappointing sea of light-touch engagement. Brands still tend to focus too much on simply ‘broadcasting’ announcements, a lot of one-way communication and sales messages.

On the whole, brands are not using PR & Marketing to provide people what they really want, create themselves and experience elsewhere (particularly younger generations). Brands are missing an opportunity to create real engagement through creativity and providing an open platform and instead still choosing to buy likes and followers to boost their metrics!

The League Table.

How did they fare?

Using the scoring system based on the 6 layers of The Conversation Index and their individual weightings, we analysed 2018’s Superbrands and some of the hottest disruptors in their industries. Below is the quintessential list of most engaging brands (1) to least engaging brands (20) of 2018.

Click on a brand name to view their scores or view all the brand scores here.

‘The Math’

Find out more about the brands’ individual scores, the scoring system and how it works.


Become a platform not a creator

First steps: Start with your social channels


Invite stories.

Leverage social media to convene stories from your customers rather than treating your audiences as passive recipients. Social media is a powerful tool to drive forward narratives but it needs to have the right ingredients.


Plant the seed.

Spark interesting conversations to help people to feel genuinely engaged in conversation. Enable people to connect with the content in a way that drives them to act or behave differently.


Head out of the sand.

Listen to people you want to engage with, finding out what they care about, and how it empowers the narrative. Don't just praise the positive and ignore every negative comment, because sometimes there is a valid point being made. Connect with what the audience feels passionate about.


The honesty policy.

Value honest engagement: If people find engagement disingenuous lacking in timely or substantive response, then having a social media presence can be counter-productive.


Show & tell.

Be transparent not some, but ALL of the time: A social media narrative should ensure a level of transparency about funding and strategy that must pass a reasonable person’s litmus test.


Say it like you mean it.

Engage with intention: How to provoke and support action by engaging with intention and providing the audience a clear and easy route to support the story.


Sustainably engaging with your customer, consumers and people at large by…


Being dialogic

1. Seeing people as the experts and storytellers of your brand

2. Become a brand activist not a pusher: Less about content creation, less about driving conversations to enable people to become lead characters of the brand’s narrative

3. Asking them when you are not sure about a decision

4. Being curious and ask people questions

5. Being willing to be transformed by people’s conversations

6. Being inspired by the multiplicity of their narratives

7. Paying attention to what your consumers are saying

8. Being interested in their various and differing points of view

9. Observing the vocabulary of their conversations

10. Talking to people on the same wavelength – we need a fair and level playing field!


Where do we go from here?


We want to know what you think.

How do you see brands engaging with people currently?

How do you think your favourite brands can build more dialogic engagement?

How do recreate engagement to mean something more meaningful for people?

What do you think the PR & Marketing industry needs to encourage sustainable engagement?

Let us know what you think. Have we hit the nail on the head or missed the point?

We want to hear from you and to start a dialogic conversation with you – we practise what we preach.