The list, compiled by MinedIntent with data supplied by StatSocial, used 100 million data points to understand recurrent affinities and sentiment for brands across a range of social platforms. Its launch marks the first stage in an extensive programme designed to provide a new benchmark for social media, brands and influencers.

‘Brand has become a key metric for business investment,’ says Jonathan Lakin CEO at Intent HQ. ‘But the difference between this list and the traditional brand index shows that the business world is using outdated methods to measure their value and has yet to catch up with the shifting brand-customer relationship.’

Although the Top 100 Social Brands includes some predictable front-runners – Google is top, followed by Twitter, Instagram and Apple – there are some surprising additions. NASA, for example appears in fifth position, one slot ahead of Amazon. TED, Wholefood Markets and Lonely Planet are all also in the Top 20 – brands that are overlooked on standard lists.

‘NASA is known for its active social media engagement with followers and these other brands communicate closely with their customers too. The power and influence that social media has to allow brands to communicate with customers has great potential to alter a brand’s perceived reputation, and ultimately its value,’ says Lakin. ‘Consumers are now considering more than just whether they relate to the personality of a brand, looking at factors such as response times and how a brand builds a relationship to decide their loyalties. This is significant in this era of big data, when brands need their customers to provide information so they can target their market more closely. Trust and affinity with the consumer is becoming an important marker of brand strength.’

Researcher and list author Hadyn Shaughnessy explains the purpose behind the over-arching programme: ‘We are currently just emerging from social media phase one – the click phase – and it has been a disappointment in its failure to provide meaningful metrics. But we are now moving to the second phase where social brands such as Kickstarter, WhatsApp and others are emerging. These have a stronger affinity with their markets than brands that pay a fortune to acquire loyalty. It’s a fundamental business shift which will also play out in the world of publishing where websites have supported the click paradigm, but now need to support real affinity.’

For the full list of the Top 100 Social Brands and white paper on Rethinking the Value of a Brand by Haydn Shaughnessy, login at Further lists on the new top global publishers and top UK publishers will be launched at the beginning of August.

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