What is behind John Lewis' increased Twitter activity?

Today, John Lewis announced that it will open its first airport store at Heathrow’s Terminal Two. This strategic move is thought to represent the retailer’s first step toward international expansion.

After passing through security at Terminal Two, passengers will see the first John Lewis store located outside of a town or city centre. Operations Director, Sean Allam, described the move as “an opportunity to get the brand in front of a much larger customer base.”

Although John Lewis currently delivers online orders to 33 countries, it has yet to open a physical store overseas. Therefore, the Heathrow store is widely regarded as a move to increase brand awareness amongst an international clientele.

It was also announced today that Peter Ruis, the man behind the success of John Lewis’ fashion business, would be leaving the retailer to become chief executive of fashion chain, Jigsaw.

Using YouGov’s social media analysis tool, SoMA, we can see that both of these stories drove an increase in Twitter activity for John Lewis. Today, 6.8% of the Twitter population have heard a mention of the brand on their private feeds, an increase from just 1.7% yesterday.

However, what story was primarily responsible for this increase in activity?

By looking at the most popular words mentioned alongside John Lewis in descending order, ‘heathrow’(38.7%), ‘open’(25.3%), ‘store’(22.7%), ‘airport’(21.3%), ‘peter’(17.3%), ‘ruis’(16%), we can see that John Lewis’ Heathrow expansion is more responsible for today’s increase in Twitter activity than Ruis’ departure.

By verifying exactly what the UK Twitter population is hearing (as opposed to what is being said) on their private news feeds, YouGov’s SoMA allows brand managers to place overall social media activity in an appropriate context. In this instance, while both stories underpinned John Lewis’ increase in reach, we can see that more people are hearing about its Heathrow store than the departure of a senior executive.

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