Despite 97% of companies having launched digital transformation efforts, more than 70% of those efforts are expected to fail

Despite 97% of companies having launched digital transformation efforts, more than 70% of those efforts are expected to fail

US sportswear giant Nike and performance footwear and apparel brand Under Armour have topped the so-called social currency charts, as other retailers also clamour to keep up with their social media-savvy consumers.

In a new report, 'Business transformation through greater customer centricity: the power of social currency', consultancy Vivaldi Partners explores how brands relate to their consumers via social media channels and explain the importance of social media apps, which consumers use to document their lives.

Social currency, which Vivaldi first introduced in 2010, measures the ability of brands to fit into how consumers manage their social lives in today's digital and mobile age. According to Vivaldi, the term describes how brands or businesses can help consumers make decisions and live their lives "more efficiently and effectively".

The tool uses several "dimensions" to calculate a score which defines the brand's overall social currency. These dimensions include "identity-building behaviours" such as how the consumer relates to the brand and its fellow consumers, and what exactly endorsing the brand says about the consumer.

And it's the athletic brands that appear to be leading the way. With a social currency score of 120, US sportswear giant Nike is the best performing brand in the study, facilitating the "identity-building behaviours" at a 20% higher rate than the average of the 90 industry-leading brands covered in the report.

Closely behind is performance footwear and apparel brand Under Armour, which scored 112, thanks in the most part to its US$750m investment in its UA Record app. The app, which Under Armour says is designed to make athletes better, is an opportunity to transform the company from a performance apparel company to a technology company, according to Vivaldi.

The report claims the brand "punches above its weight" when social currency scores are compared to company revenues. According to Vivaldi, Under Armour has one-quarter of the revenue of Adidas and one-seventh that of Nike, yet it scores better than the German brand and, the report adds, the fact it comes so close to Nike's own score is "remarkable".

Meanwhile, German sportswear giant Adidas scored 102 but missed out on a place in the top-ten, which includes jeans giant Levi Strauss & Co.  

With today's consumers more focused on serving themselves as opposed to brands, understanding consumers and customers matters more than ever during a business transformation project, brand repositioning or new brand development project, says Vivaldi.

According to the report very few companies are handling digital transformation well. Despite 97% of companies having launched digital transformation efforts, more than 70% of those efforts are expected to fail.

"Social currency is about the new behaviours of customers in today's social, digital and mobile world," says Erich Joachimsthaler PhD, CEO and founder of Vivaldi. "Understanding these behaviours will help increase the success of any business transformation effort."