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Hand holding a fried chicken drumstick with a black background.

If we were Jollibee, what would we be listening to?

Nurin Nazifa Bte Mohd Yusoff

Apr 25, 2019

What comes to mind when you think about fried chicken?

Maybe not Jollibee.

But did you know the Filipino fast-food company is currently one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the world? Aspiring to become one of the top fast food conglomerates, Jollibee has opened branches and gained popularity in many countries across Asia as well as in other regions such as the UK, US and Canada. However, having a foothold in multiple markets would mean that Jollibee branches are operating at the mercy of customers’ different tastes and preferences. This is where social listening can form an essential part of Jollibee’s market research mix to assist them in their expansion plans and business strategies.

With social listening, companies can identify any burgeoning trends and topics within each market by monitoring online conversations and gain a better understanding of how their brands and products are being perceived.

So if we were Jollibee, with a goal to be a globally recognised fast food chain, what would we be listening to?

Table of Contents

  • Identify your brand’s trending topics
  • Understand your demographics
  • Look at who’s talking about your brand
  • Pinpoint the source
  • Tune in during the “right” time
  • Recognise positive coverage
  • Anticipate negative coverage
  • Observe competitor’s trending topics

1. Identify your brand’s trending topics

An important aspect of real-time social listening would be to monitor trending topics concerning your brand so as to understand what comes to mind when consumers think or converse about your company.

One company can spawn millions of social conversations online and it would be too time-consuming to look at every single one of them. Hence, it would be best to observe what are the common words that pop out on social media in relation to your brand, to get a sense of what these trending topics are.

For instance, a word cloud generated using Meltwater based on the February 2019 social coverage for Jollibee looks like this:

Figure 1: Word cloud for Jollibee’s global social coverage (February 2019)


Word clouds are also a great tool for spotting trending topics as they can help us visualise what the recurring keywords are at one look. From Figure 1, we can see straight away that “Tuna Pie” and “Nadine Lustre” are some of the more common terms found in social posts about Jollibee. This is because Jollibee recently held a marketing campaign for their new food item, the tuna pie, which featured Fillipino actress Nadine Lustre.

The high frequencies in these keywords could indicate that the campaign was successful in gaining attention from consumers and sparking conversations online. Jollibee could also further study the data to learn more about how audiences reacted towards the campaign through sentiment analysis.

By identifying trending topics in social conversations, Jollibee would be able to pinpoint which aspects of their business or which products are getting more attention than others.

Take note that trending topics can differ across markets due to the differences in tastes, culture and practices. Consider Jollibee’s market in Malaysia:

Figure 2: Word cloud for Jollibee’s social coverage in Malaysia (February 2019)

There seems to be significant coverage about the restaurant attaining a halal certification during February 2019, instead of the Nadine Lustre campaign, which could be due to the large Muslim population within the country.

Keeping these trending topics in mind, Jollibee would be able to better align their marketing and business strategies with the focus and priorities of each market.

2. Understand your demographics

During social listening, while it is essential to listen to your consumers, it is just as important to understand who is listening to you.

Determining and understanding the demographics of online users who interact with or mention your brand can affect whom you target your future marketing strategies to.

Social listening tools such as Meltwater’s Social Influencers tool allows companies to view the demographics of these online users at a glance. For instance, it can be seen that a large portion of users following Jollibee’s Twitter account in 2018 fell within the 18-24 year old category:

Figure 3: Age group and gender demographics for Jollibee’s Twitter followers (2018)

It is also interesting to note that 74% of these users were female.

Such demographic data can be translated into actionable insights which can influence our business strategies. It seems that Jollibee’s followers are mostly women who are 18-24 years of age. Hence, a possible marketing approach for Jollibee would be to post content on Twitter that would appeal to this group of users, hence, inviting them to like or share Jollibee’s content.

3. Look at who’s talking about your brand

Monitoring social conversations online can also help companies identify potential influencers within the industry or in relation to their brands. It allows companies to find brand advocates with a large follower base, within different markets, that can be included in future marketing campaigns and business strategies.

In 2018, the top Twitter handles which have mentioned Jollibee include those of Filipino actress, Anne Curtis Smith, as well as news and magazine companies such as Food & Wine Magazine and CNBC News.

Figure 4: Top Twitter Handles mentioning Jollibee (2018)

However, these Twitter handles are undoubtedly going to garner a high amount of potential reach considering how popular these celebrities, magazines and news suppliers currently are. Furthermore, the content from these more “famous” influencers need not always be authentic in nature or resonate well with audiences.

Instead, Jollibee could consider engaging with Micro-influencers to help generate buzz about their brand. Micro-influencers are not necessarily celebrities but they do have quite a large number of followers who enjoy their content and are usually popular within a niche community or market.  

To locate these Micro-influencers, Jollibee can also engage in Meltwater’s Social Influencer tool which allows companies to find social media users who either mention or follow their brands online, as well as categorise these users according to their level of influence.

Thus, it can help brands like Jollibee to target potential micro-influencers that may have gone under the radar:

Figure 5: Influence categories of Jollibee followers (2018)

From the graph, about 3% of Jollibee’s Twitter followers are Micro-influencers and hence, have a high chance of going unnoticed if the company doesn’t engage in social listening to weave them out.

4. Pinpoint the source

It’s always easy to get caught up in who’s talking about you. But in social listening, it also helps to pay attention to where these conversations are happening at.

Conversations on one social platform may differ in another and taking note of which social platforms are most commonly being used can be beneficial in planning your next marketing campaign. It also helps to distinguish which markets dominate social conversations about your brand and which markets are lacking.

Looking at social coverage of Jollibee for the year 2018, Twitter appears to be the most popular social platform across all markets for Jollibee brand mentions.

Figure 6: Top Social Media platforms with Jollibee mentions (2018)

On that account, it looks like Jollibee should focus most of its online marketing efforts on Twitter.

As for locations, the highest volume of social posts on Jollibee occurred in its home country, the Philippines, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom, where volume is significantly lower.

Figure 7: Top Locations with Jollibee mentions (2018)

As Jollibee wishes to be as successful in the US and UK as it is in its home country, it could take a deeper look at why social coverage about its brand is lacking in these markets.

5. Tune in during the “right” time

Depending on your objectives for social listening, it is useful to establish how often you will review the social data you’ve collected about your brand – be it on a daily, monthly, quarterly or even annual basis.

Other than that, we would advise tuning in during particular periods of times where insights from social listening can be more meaningful for your business plans.

For Jollibee, conducting social listening before entering a new market would help us learn more about consumers’ current perceptions towards the brand or find out more about local competitors or the local fast food scene.

After entering a new market, we would pay attention to social conversations in relation to Jollibee during the first few weeks or months to get a sense of what the reception towards the restaurant was like.

For instance, Jollibee opened its first outlet in the United Kingdom on 20 October 2018. Taking a look at Jollibee’s social coverage from 15 October 2018 to 20 November 2018, there was a drastic drop in volume immediately after its opening day, and the low volume in social coverage continued till the next month.  

Figure 8: Jollibee’s social coverage in the UK (15 Oct – 20 Nov 2018)

Hence, Jollibee could pay closer attention to social conversations when entering new markets in the future. To sustain their popularity in the long run, they could develop more engaging marketing content to increase word-of-mouth about their brand.

6. Recognise positive coverage

During social listening, companies should also take note of any unusual trends in their social coverage which could provide valuable insights on their brands. In some occasions, companies might discover potential positive coverage about their brand which they could leverage on to improve their reputation.

One approach to recognise positive brand mentions would be to investigate any sudden peaks in social volume.

For instance, looking at the social coverage for Jollibee in December 2018, there was a sudden spike in the volume of posts on 27 December 2018.

Figure 9: Global social coverage for Jollibee (December 2018)

The sudden rise in social posts about Jollibee was due to a tweet by user @hmgalenton who asked her followers to retweet her post if they preferred Jollibee to McDonalds.

To become a fast food giant, it would definitely help Jollibee to understand what sparks high volumes of positive conversations about its brand so as to discover strategies to replicate such trends in future.

7. Anticipate negative coverage

Nevertheless, a peak in volume might not necessarily mean good news – it could also signal an unfortunate PR/marketing crisis.  From customer complaints to poorly-executed marketing campaigns, any potential negative news can tarnish one company’s reputation. One negative online mention gone viral could jeopardise Jollibee’s expansion plans, if left untreated.

Hence, through social listening, companies need to keep a lookout for such negative coverage before it spirals out of control. Other than sudden spikes in the volume of posts, one approach is to observe negative or unusual keywords in your company’s social coverage.

In January 2019, one of the phrases which had surfaced amidst social coverage on Jollibee was “useless marketing campaigns”:

Figure 10: Word cloud for Jollibee’s global social coverage (January 2019)

Upon further investigation of spikes in Jollibee’s volume of social coverage, we were able to extract the highly-retweeted Twitter post which triggered the large portion of negative mentions.

Figure 11: Global social coverage for Jollibee (January 2019)

The post was tweeted by user @stephjaurigue who criticised Jollibee for engaging in “useless marketing campaigns” instead of focusing on regularising their workers, which was an issue that Jollibee had been facing recently.

Keeping a lookout for any negative brand mentions that may pop up from time to time will allow up-and-coming brands such as Jollibee to be aware of issues that may rub their audiences the wrong way. Hence, companies can keep these issues in mind when developing their next marketing strategy or moving on to the next phases of their business.

Also by spotting negative social posts early, it would provide Jollibee with ample time to respond to the community before anything goes out of hand.

You can read up more about how some brands were able to recover right away in the face of a crisis.

8. Observe competitors’ trending topics

Lastly, in a competitive landscape such as the fast food industry, it is also important to be informed about what your rivals are up to. Through monitoring their social coverage, your company can stay up to date on competitors’ latest online marketing and social media strategies. Other than that, identifying trending topics concerning your competitors would give you an idea on what consumers focus on when it comes to other brands.

Let’s take a look at KFC, one of Jollibee’s main rivals:

Figure 12: Word cloud for KFC’s global social coverage (February 2019)

For KFC, the term “Colonel Sanders Pop” gained a high amount of traction which not only tells us that KFC had launched a Colonel Sanders Funko Pop figurine as part of its marketing plans but that the launch had successfully garnered a lot of attention during the month.  

Additionally, looking at the other words that appeared in the word cloud, another interesting thing to note would be that consumers focused on KFC’s non-food items as well other than its actual food products.  

In conclusion, always remember to keep the noise level down

As mentioned, there are millions of conversations happening online. Hence, there will definitely be a lot of “noise” drowning out insights that may be more valuable to your brand.

For that reason, before even getting into the process of social listening, it is important to engage in the right social listening tool which allows you to keep the “noise” level down when social listening. Meltwater not only helps you track social coverage on various platforms but also makes use of Boolean searches to surface the insights that you’re actually looking for.

Some possible keywords to establish in your search could include:

  • Your brand name, including the full name, any possible short forms (e.g. “McDonalds” and “Macs”) and any commonly misspelled versions
  • Hashtags for your company and brand, if any
  • Your company’s own social media handles
  • Campaign/product name if you are monitoring for a particular campaign/product launch
  • Industry buzzwords, if any

A search for Jollibee on Meltwater might look something like this:

So are you a fast-food chain or restaurant looking to gain insights about your brand? Just like Jollibee, you too can harness the power of social listening! With the right social listening tools and practices, your company can uncover valuable social insights about your brand as well as a comprehensive wholesome outlook of your company’s performance.