Having a bad day at work? A bad hair day? Just a terrible, horrible, nothing-is-going-right kind of day? A shopping trip to a low-cost clothing and accessory store is a mood-fixer for many. Heading home to admire your excellent taste while clipping tags off a brand-new selection of knit tops, scarves, and fall booties is just an added bonus.
Apparel stores Forever 21 and H&M faced off in the November Brand Battle, hosted by digital marketing company Brandify. Brandify calculated brand scores for each company, basing the final scores on data evaluating six branding “pillars:” data quality, local SEO, reviews, local advertising, engagement, and competition. Each pillar speaks to how the companies perform in local markets, and scores can be updated every week as marketing strategies are analyzed and modified.
The closest round in this month’s battle was over local SEO, where the two companies tied with scores of 114. Forever 21 figures as the first among equals because its store locations ranked higher on search engines and it had a lower percentage of non-ranking locations than rival H&M.
H&M took home the gold in all the other pillars, showing strength in its data quality compared to Forever 21’s high percentage of inaccurate listings. H&M ran into some trouble with consistent use of local webpage links, but Forever 21 didn’t fare better with significant instances of inaccurate name, address, and phone number (NAP) data.
The round addressing company reviews was a close one, with H&M barely beating Forever 21. Whereas H&M received a lower percentage of four- or five-star reviews than Forever 21 (38 percent vs. 40 percent), H&M’s customers were more likely than Forever 21’s customers to associate terms such as “quality,” “deals,” “selection,” and “price” with positive reviews.
The social engagement round also was a fierce fight, but H&M won with 113 points to Forever 21’s 108. Neither company is using social media to its full capacity to connect with local customers, and both are ignoring valuable marketing space by not claiming locations on Facebook. H&M won the round with a stronger social media fan base.
H&M’s advertising campaigns rank in the top three positions more often than Forever 21’s, winning the Swedish clothing giant the fifth round of the battle, in local advertising. But H&M’s ads are more product-focused, leaving room for improvement in advertisements targeting local communities.
H&M is more engaged on social media, has better review sentiment, and more claimed listings on major search engines. The company’s online business locator provides a great user experience with both a map view and integrated directions. Forever 21’s customers were more likely by four percentage points to use one-star ratings, and its extra instances of inaccurate data and unclaimed local listings didn’t help its final Brand Score of 599. H&M wins the November Brand Battle with a final Brand Score of 623.
View all the findings on the Brand Battle page.
Brandify is transforming the way businesses connect to consumers by leveraging location technology and offering unrivaled personal service. Brandify has helped hundreds of brands understand and improve their local presence. Current and past clients include In-N-Out Burger, True Value, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Applebee’s, Black & Decker, and more. For more information about Brandify, go to brandify.com.