Well, it might be worth asking this question to your favorite marketing gurus if you're starting to have faith in Marketing 2.0. Meanwhile, here is a very interesting initiative that addresses it for mega brands. Future Labs, referred by the MIT Advertising Lab, did an extensive research to compare online brand relevance for the 100 brands listed in the 2005 Business Week/Interbrand report.
Some of the leading indicators for this new index are : the number times a brand is mentioned in Google, the number of Technorati blogposts about the brand, the relative reach of the brand's website as per Alexa ranking and more - read details in the research document. While Future Labs is open about receiving contributions from marketers around the world to help them track other Web 2.0 centric leading indicators, this is already demonstrative enough to include it in our Marketing 2.0 arsenal.
I encourage you to take a look at the entire list, but let's just reflect here how the 5 leading Future Labs rated Brands are ranking in the Interbrand index:
|Google (GOOG) ||eBay (EBAY)||Apple (AAPL)||Amazon (AMZN)||Disney (DIS)|
|Future Labs||1 ||2 ||3 ||4 ||5 |
|BW/Interbrand||38 ||55 ||41 ||68 ||7 |
Have a look at the one year compared stock performance for these 5 brands as well and compare it to this one about the 5 Interbrand index leading brands (Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, GE, and Intel). Even if you didn't take a look because you're already tracking these companies stock, the answer is obvious: Future labs leading brands are performing better.
My recommendation: have on line relevance as part of your corporate branding team measurement. If you didn't have your next team meeting agenda nailed down yet, add this one topic. But do not just brainstorm about it, Marketing 2.0 is already here, take action.