Could the brands of chocolate you like reveal your political affiliation? According to New York-based customer relationship and loyalty startup CrowdTwist, it could.
In time for Halloween and the presidential election, the TechStars-backed startup, which enables companies to track and reward consumers for their engagement across social, mobile and online platforms, mined millions of social data points (primarily from Facebook (s FB)) to look for connections between brands of chocolate and political parties.
They found that people who like non-premium chocolates, such as Hersheys, Reese’s and M&Ms are more likely to identify themselves as Democrats than those who prefer premium chocolates, such as Nestle, Dove, Ghirardelli and Lindt.
For example, consumers with an expressed preference for Lindt chocolate are 40 percent more likely to be a Republican and those who say they like Hersheys are 70 percent more likely to be a Democrat, CrowdTwist says.
Clearly, this isn’t the kind of data with election-changing implications and the connection between chocolate preferences and political affiliation likely just reflects differences in age. Younger people tend to skew Democrat and CrowdTwist’s data shows that younger consumers seem to prefer less premium (cheaper) brands while older consumers gravitate toward more expensive brands.
But it still provides an amusing reminder for brands that seemingly unrelated streams of social data can be combined to generate potentially helpful insights.
“[We] aggregate data from various disparate sources and give clients the ability to look at the correlations in data that they have not thought of in the past that they can use to not only find new audiences but understand audiences better,” said Adam Trisk, CrowdTwist’s head of marketing.
For example, he said, this sort of information could help brands determine where and when to buy media: Lindt may think about buying spots on Fox News while Hershey may seek ad buys during the Democratic National Convention.
CrowdTwist, which raised $6 million in Series A funding last September, said it’s doubled its headcount to 25 since the end of 2011 and surpassed its 2011 revenue by August of this year. Its clients range from television networks, such as Fox (for a campaign for the “X Factor” show), to sports franchises, like the Miami Dolphins and the NFL, to top brands in consumer packaged goods, like Pepsi, to VPG, a maker of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
While brands have long valued loyalty, CrowdTwist really takes advantage of new platforms, such as social and mobile, to help brands comprehensively track engagement and reward consumers with real experiences and tangible items.
The startup not only gives data-hungry companies a broad picture of their consumers, it helps brands present themselves as a unified whole to consumers who interact with them in physical locations, online, on television and through other mediums.
“Companies think of their various channels in potentially more siloed, cordoned off verticals,” said co-founder and CEO Irving Fain. “But when a customer looks at that brand it’s all the “X Factor,” the Dolphins, etc. We provide the ability to unify customer interactions back to an individual, which brands can use to build better relationships and experiences with customers and fans – that’s what leads to loyalty.”
Image by Kesu via Shutterstock.