Aspirational Brands on Tumblr: Lexus vs. Toyota

Gnip conducted a brief analysis of the Toyota family of brands (Toyota, 4Runner, Camry, Highlander, Lexus, Prius, Rav4, Scion, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra) on multiple social media platforms. We looked at brand mentions on Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress and WordPress comments during the period of Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, 2012.

As you would expect, Toyota was the most frequently mentioned brand on each social platform, with one enormous exception – Tumblr. Lexus had 5 times as many mentions on Tumblr as Toyota. This highlights how aspirational brands do exceptionally well on Tumblr where niche communities of fans often form around brands. (Attention brand managers, this happens whether the company is involved or not). A central component of Tumblr is visual content, which also plays well with aspirational brands. Furthermore, Tumblr content is both extremely viral and has a long shelf life meaning that content shared on Tumblr can be shared for longer periods of time and jump to more diverse sub-groups within the network than other social networks. During the month Gnip tracked mentions, Lexus received more than 200,000 mentions while Toyota received 40,000.

In social media, it is easy to rely on Twitter as a kind of alert system of when content is being shared, but at Gnip we’ve seen time and time again where content that pops up elsewhere doesn’t always pop up on Twitter. Each social media network has its own attributes and audience and modes of interaction. Because of likes, reblogging, and the way timelines are read by Tumblr users, Tumblr has active communities that aren’t found elsewhere.

Lexus on Tumblr

  • http://kimbagroup.com Mike Chiavetta

    What content is being shared around Lexus? Was it one piece of content that “went viral” or a model launch (LS campaign launched then)? Thanks for sharing. Us strategists would love some insights.

  • Ben B

    Those graphs are a bit weird, comparing car model mentions and brand mentions in the same graph isn’t good form. Additionally high end auto manufacturers often name car models rather arbitrarily. For example the Lexus IS 250, the bmw 335i or an Audi a4, if you took away the manufacturers brand the Audi A4 becomes a metric size of paper. Hence why you will find more mentions of such brands as they are qualifiers. On the otherhand if someone mentions hilux (or 4runner ) there is no confusion that it is anything other than a Toyota car.

    As another example look at the apple iPhone, apple is a aspirational brand (albeit an accessible one) and I would hazard a guess that iPhone would get more mentions (though this would be hard to measure as apple’s are a pretty great fruit to talk about online as well). Mind you if your data proves this wrong it would be great as supporting evidence for this post…

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