From Marmite to own-brand margarine: Are we witnessing the slow fade of the Corbyn brand?
At Blackswan, we keep an eye on politics. As a UK based business who delivers globally, it’s a good idea for us generally, but I will admit we find it pretty interesting too – for a variety of reasons. I can’t tell you what’s going on in Eastenders, or who’s up to no good in Corrie, but I can’t tear my eyes away from the current Labour Leadership debate.
#Traingate, #JezWeCan, #LabourPurge – in terms of social media, this campaign is the gift that keeps on giving – especially for the media, biased or not… (You can add #WeAreHisMedia to that list of hashtags too).
Depending on the circles you run in, the websites you visit or the newspaper you read every day, you might be convinced that Jeremy Corbyn is the second coming, here to save us all, or the devil incarnate, here to snatch your house, your job and your entire salary. Is it really so black and white, though? Well, initially yes, yes it was…
At Blackswan, we’ve developed a tool called Lytso, in short, it’s a social media analytics engine. It picks up mentions of anyone we specify (in this case, Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith) on Facebook, Twitter and an ever expanding list of newsfeeds and analyses the content and sentiment behind them. It’s a complicated process that we’ve been quietly working on for years.
We thought we’d test Lytso on politics. Why? Well, much like Hollywood, we figured if we can
make it work here, we can make it work anywhere.
To put it bluntly, when we started looking at Jeremy Corbyn in July using Lytso, it became clear to us that he’s the political equivalent of Marmite – you either love him or you hate him. No one is really ambivalent. This is reflected in the sentiment scoring of all the interactions mentioning him.
We measure sentiment on a scale where -1 is the most negative, 0 is neutral and 1 is the most positive you can be. Jeremy’s average negative score is -0.62 compared to -0.32 for Owen Smith. Jeremy’s average positive score is 0.88, compared to 0.66 for Owen Smith. (If figures and graphs or that Marmite analogy isn’t working for you, we can switch to nursery rhymes – when Jeremy Corbyn is good, he’s very, very good, but when he’s bad he’s HORRID.)
Recently however, things have been changing. Is it the lasting effects of #TrainGate? The emergence of the Corbyn campaign’s attempts to spin things? Is it fatigue? Ours or his?
Recently (from 29th August to be exact), Jeremy’s highs haven’t been quite so high, and his lows haven’t been quite so low – in fact, his average positive sentiment score has dropped down to 0.74. Admittedly, it’s still higher than Owen Smith’s, but it’s clear that it’s dropping. But what does that mean? If things aren’t quite so black and white any more, where is the Labour Leadership going to end up?
Going back to political Marmite, even if you are one of the people who loves it, you don’t want to eat it all the time. Sometimes, you just want a slice of toast with butter, or own brand margarine. (Even if it’s just for the sake of your salt intake).
Lytso can’t predict the future (yet), but it can help us cut through the media hype. It’s not Rupert Murdoch who gets to decide if Owen Smith or Jeremy Corbyn will be the next leader of the Labour party, it’s the Labour party members (Does anyone know if Rupert paid his £25?)
And after this, it’s still not Rupert Murdoch who gets to pick who lives at 10 Downing Street. That’s me. And you. And maybe Jerry Hall (I’m not quite sure if Rupert is eligible to vote). That’s why at Blackswan, we’re using Lytso to listen to you. We don’t buy The Sun here anyway.