The Problem

For years Walmart, the largest private employer in the US, suffered a reputation for low wages and disgruntled employees. New pressure emerged when competitors like Amazon raised minimum wage to $15 per hour.

And shoppers felt bad about buying from a company that disrespected workers. It became a threat to the company’s future.

The Solution

Walmart set out to repair the employment perception. In 2018 Walmart workers saw a wage increase and received a promise of $15/hour by 2020. The company also launched a strong social media campaign that showcased staff having fun at work.

Nichefire took a sample of Facebook data over the Summer of 2018 (June-July) to investigate. As a comparison, we looked at four retailers in the grocery category to identify common strategies in the industry. Based on our data for the time frame, these other retailers heavily emphasize products and recipes (particularly for grocery retailers):

Walmart used Facebook in a unique way. Rather than focus on products or recipes, Walmart focused on developing brand affinity through showing employees living a fun company culture and participating in social responsibility initiatives.

The Results

Content in the Entertainment category went viral (particularly a video of Walmart staff dancing in blow-up dinosaur costumes for the launch of Jurassic World 2). The Y-axis in the graph below measures volume of posts for a particular category.

The Nichefire technology also further identified Walmart’s categories of emphasis on company culture and social responsibility. Our data indicates that most boosted post/ad spend is likely directed toward this. In particular, Employee Appreciation and featured contributions to nonprofits resonated with their audience. The Y-axis in the graph below measures average engagement per post for a particular category.

Customers want to see a brand’s culture and company values. It influences their buying decisions based on how a business aligns with customer values. Walmart demonstrates the power of a positive company culture and how it builds brand affinity, even under intense scrutiny.

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