Canadian consumers less likely to engage in positive WOM

A North American comparison of the Net Promoter Score in consumer packaged goods shows US consumers are more likely to tout the positive than their Canadian counterparts.

A new metric is helping CPG marketers shed some light on where they could be focusing their marketing efforts when using word-of-mouth programs. According to newly measured Net Promoter Scores (NPS) – benchmarks of a brand’s strength and level of loyalty - applied by Toronto-based Brandspark International, Americans are more likely to say they would recommend a new product they have used. It’s a finding, the firm says, that could indicate that WOM programs that work in the US may need to be tweaked for Canada.

Brandspark measured 108 CPG products within its annual Best New Product Awards in Canada and 78 CPG products in their US Best New Product Awards program, and found that US NPS scores were significantly higher than those in Canada, with the US average of all products at -1 while the Canadian average was significantly lower at -16.

As part of the consumer survey involving over 25,000 Canadian shoppers and over 50,000 Americans, Brandspark assessed brands power to generate referrals from users for over 180 brands ranging from food to health and beauty to household care products. The top five NPS scores for Canada were Skintastic Off Family Care Insect Repellent Towelettes (+9), Knorr Bouillon Cubes with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt (+9), Dial Yogurt Body Wash (+8), Green Works Natural Cleaner (+8) and Vaseline Cocoa Butter Body Lotion (+7). Comparatively, the top five NPS scores for the US were: Olay Definity Color Recapture Moisturizer (+28) – the highest NPS score of all products tested in Canada and the US; M&M Premiums (+22); Dove Cream Oil Body Wash (+21); Breyers Pure Fruit Pomegranate Blends (+20); and Fage Total 0% yogurt (+20);

‘Americans seem to be more engaged with common CPG products that we buy in grocery and drug stores and are more likely to discuss products they like with friends and family,’ Brandspark International president and CEO Robert Levy tells MiC. ‘We also saw that Americans were more likely (10 percentage points) to agree with the statement ‘If I find a new product I like, I am likely to recommend it to friends/family.”

Levy says that other research has indicated that categories like cars and holidays have positive NPS scores (likely because people like to tell other people about their new cars or vacation finds), whereas mobile phones and banks tend to have negative average NPS scores. ‘Canadian marketers might need to plan their word-of-mouth activities differently than their American counterparts to leverage these cross-border differences.’