When it comes to "green" consumer electronic brands, consumer perception does not match reality, according to GreenFactor, a joint study from research firm Strategic Oxygen and PR agency Cohn & Wolfe.
At the height of the Great Recession we set off across America in search of stories of hope. We were armed with data from Young & Rubicam's BrandAsset Valuator that showed how most people were thinking, feeling and spending in new ways. We traveled through nine red and blue states, talking with people across kitchen counters, in restaurants, supermarkets, factory floors and boardrooms. In the hipster enclaves of Brooklyn and the techno hubs on the West Coast we found ample evidence that economic pain had moved vast numbers of people to reconsider their values and priorities. In these places, thoughtful spending and a commitment to sustainability, environmentalism and community had replaced consumerism. In fact, in 2007 -- even before the crisis -- our data showed Americans were becoming uneasy with debt and excess spending, distrustful of leaders and skeptical of materialist values.
Social media and the power of peer-to-peer recommendation can boost revenue streams and brand loyalty, according to a new survey from CNN. The results of a CNN inaugural study into the power of news and recommendation (POWNAR), showed a "halo effect,” with substantially higher engagement around recommended content compared with randomly consumed content, said Didier Mormesse, senior VP of R&D and audience insight at CNN International.
A new study out of the very well-branded Duke University and Tel Aviv University asks if brands are the new religion. The study, which can be downloaded at Marketing Science, goes by the not-at-all sensational title "Brands: The Opiate of Non-Religious Masses?" The researchers posit that "brands and religiosity may serve as substitutes for one another because both allow individuals to express their feelings of self-worth." It's a theory that will cause a reaction within the professional branding community, and that reaction will be "Duh."
Whoever said technology was dehumanizing was wrong. On screens everywhere — cellphones, e-readers, A.T.M.’s — as Diana Ross sang, we just want to reach out and touch. Scientists and academics who study how we interact with technology say people often try to import those behaviors into their lives, as anyone who has ever wished they could lower the volume on a loud conversation or Google their brain for an answer knows well. But they say touching screens has seeped into people’s day-to-day existence more quickly and completely than other technological behaviors because it is so natural, intimate and intuitive.
How often do we hear about how many millions of dollars a start-up raised in this round or that? Venture capital is likely the most oft-cited figure for measuring the potential for a new business' success, but research firm CB Insights aims to change that misconception in a new report measuring human capital--not venture capital. "When we ask venture capitalists what gets them excited about the young, emerging, and often unproven companies in which they invest, we never hear about deals and dollars," reads part I of the report, released this morning. "Rather, the first answer is frequently 'the team' or 'the founders.'" In their first-ever VC Human Capital Report, CB Insights attempts to apply the "same rigor we apply to our quarterly tally of deals and dollars to provide an objective, data-driven perspective into the people dimension behind the deals and dollars we so often read about."
The next time you're standing in the coffee aisle at the grocery store and pick up one particular brand of joe over another, ask yourself why. The answer might be rooted in behavioral economics 101. Marketers and their agencies have been trying to decode why consumers buy what they do since the 1920s, when N.W. Ayer suggested people would "walk a mile for a Camel." But lately they're turning to behavioral economics, a blend of psychology and economics that has until recently been a mostly academic discipline, and could be described most simply as the study of how consumers make economic decisions.
A citizen of the Internet has a very different experience. The Internet smashes hierarchy and is not marked by deference. Maybe it would be different if it had been invented in Victorian England, but Internet culture is set in contemporary America. Internet culture is egalitarian. The young are more accomplished than the old. The new media is supposedly savvier than the old media. The dominant activity is free-wheeling, disrespectful, antiauthority disputation.
A recent report, "The New Consumer Behavior Paradigm" by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Kantar Retail, portrays a new consumer emerging from the recession, one that has learned that "the time invested in incorporating tools into the shopping experience, i.e., more involvement in the process, yielded a significant return (ROI) in terms of both dollar and time savings." While this study compared and contrasted the post-recession spending habits of Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, it prompts a discussion of the retail reality that has shaped Gen Y and how changes to the process of marketing and selling will accelerate as Gen Y's financial influence grows.
Ads targeted at a particular context -- car ads on automotive sites, for example -- are a staple of online advertising. It's presumed that the more closely an ad matches a person's interest, the more likely that person is to to click and buy. And it couldn't hurt if the ad is big. But a recent academic study indicates that may not always be the case.
To influence these key consumers, it's critical for marketers to develop a better understanding of their media consumption patterns. GfK MRI provides rich data on "category influentials" -- people who have a great deal of knowledge about a product and are trusted sources for advice. When analyzing their media habits, an interesting pattern emerges -- influentials tend to be heavy users of radio.
While none of the Top 10 names in the fifth annual ImagePower Green Brands Survey -- led by Burt's Bees, Whole Foods Market, and Tom's of Maine -- are exactly shockers, the extensive survey did turn up plenty of other surprises.
A new survey of brands on social media finds Starbucks to be the most popular consumer brand on the social Web, based on an analysis that indexes consumer brands against the most popular personal brand on the planet: Lady Gaga.
The Pew Research Center released an interesting study last week that offers some sobering — if unsurprising — insights for the news business. Researchers examined top news stories in the mainstream press as well as what news got traction on blogs, Twitter and YouTube. A main finding was that what’s hot on social media differs — a lot — from what leads in the mainstream press. But what’s even more interesting, I think, is that what’s popular on one form of social media differs significantly from what’s trendy on another. For example, Twitter’s domain is technology, not surprisingly. Blogs and the mainstream press focus more on politics and government. Also not a shocker. As my kids might say: “No duh.” But what isn’t so obvious is what this might mean. I’ve written before about how I believe the real reason many people don’t subscribe to news online — or in print — is about commitment, not money. This study crystallizes my thoughts. I suggest these findings illustrate the radically different way today’s consumers think of news, compared with the past. It’s not brand based. It’s not even platform based. It’s based on niche, which many have said before. But the niche isn’t just in the content or the subject matter; it’s in the mechanism of transmission.
A recent survey released by Edelman examined the evolution of consumers’ perceptions of the Internet as an entertainment medium, and not just a source of information. While this broad statement may seem obvious to many working directly in the digital media space, the implications of this evolution for how consumers define and consume entertainment – and the factors they value and are inclined to pay for – merit further consideration for any brand looking to entertain and engage consumers.
Social media use is exploding, but ad spending in the sector continues to be a blip on the radar for most brands. Razorfish, one of the largest digital ad spenders, compiled data on its 2009 digital ad spending. It found that social media display advertising made up just 3 percent of its clients' budgets. Non-display in social media accounted for another 1 percent. The figures pale in comparison to the time spent online. According to comScore, U.S. Internet users spent 11 percent of their time online in 2011 on social media sites.
What do chief executive officers really want? The answer bears important consequences for management as well as companies' customers and shareholders. The qualities that a CEO values most in the company team set a standard that affects everything from product development and sales to the long-term success of an enterprise. There is compelling new evidence that CEOs' priorities in this area are changing in important ways. According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value, CEOs identify "creativity" as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.
Chanel and BMW are the top prestige brands among affluent Gen Y consumers, according to a new study. The top brands for both male and female Gen Y are dominated by traditional luxury brands such as Chanel, Cartier, The Four Seasons, and Ralph Lauren. Cars dominated among men, capturing eight of the top 10 slots. German brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi also appealed to females, who rated the category second only to fashion and above beauty and skin care.
You seemingly can’t live without social media these days, or at least, that is what many in our industry believe. Why? Because “everybody” is using it. Everybody is communicating, “everybody is a publisher.” But does that mean that every European is publishing through social media? Well, not exactly. Yes, Europeans are online en masse and are using social media in big numbers. But how are they using social media?
With big names like Tiger Woods and Toyota Motor stepping into the spotlight of public scrutiny this year, reputation is a hot topic in the media and in corporate boardrooms. No company wants its public image to be the reason it has a hard time rebounding from the recession. So what factors shape the public's image of American businesses? Which companies do consumers trust and admire?
Everyone knows there's a critical difference between Brand imagery and User imagery. A brand's personality tells a story about the product. It tells its target market what to expect. It suggests heritage, quality, flavor, status, effectiveness, attractiveness, service, value, when to use it, where to use it, how to use it, etc. Potent brands create rich pictures in the eye of the consumer. User imagery, on the other hand, generally refers to one of two possibilities.
Last week, Harris Interactive released their annual study of the most visible and reputable companies in the country. Based on a poll of almost 30,000 people, companies were ranked on a "reputation quotient," calculated by a variety of public perceptions, including vision and leadership, financial performance, social responsibility, and perceptions of work place environments. I spoke with Robert Fronk, SVP of reputation management at Harris Interactive, to find out the impact of corporate reputation, and whether or not it even matters.
Brands have rushed to Facebook to build fan bases, with some amassing millions of connections. The nagging question has been: What is the monetary value of these fans? Social media specialist Vitrue, which aids brands in building their customer bases on social networks, tried to put a media value on such communities. The firm has determined that, on average, a fan base of 1 million translates into at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over a year.
Guess who says the following attributes are most influential in making "important purchases" today: value, price, overall quality, good design and functionality? A clue: 84% of this group texts from cellphones; 78% use social networking; 66% use the mobile web and 57% use mobile apps. It's not who you think it is. In fact, it's a group whose median age is 45, not 19.
The recession has affected not only consumer wallets, but also brand perception. According to a new survey by firms Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland and Burson-Marsteller, transparency and corporate responsibility have become far more important to consumers in a tough economy. The survey measured consumer perceptions of corporate social responsibility practices and ranked companies that are the most responsible. It found that despite the recession, 75% of consumers believe social responsibility is important, and 55% of consumers said they would choose a product that supports a particular cause against similar products that don't.
Simply put, if marketers are counting on their agencies to lead them into a world of changing consumer behaviors and media habits, they should think again. As digital-marketing channels multiply, agencies are struggling to figure out their own businesses, and a recent Forrester study suggests that marketers may need to force their agencies to evolve rather than wait for them to do it themselves. Ad Age got a peek at the 16-page study, called "The Future of Agency Relationships," for which Forrester spent nearly four months interviewing agency and marketing executives.
Pricing is one of the most powerful--yet underutilized--strategies available to businesses. A McKinsey & Company study of the Global 1200 found that if companies increased prices by just 1%, and demand remained constant, on average operating profits would increase by 11%. Using a 1% increase in price, some companies would see even more growth in percentage of profit: Sears, 155%; McKesson, 100%, Tyson, 81%, Land O'Lakes, 58%, Whirlpool, 35%. Just as important, price is a key attribute that consumers consider before making a purchase.
In 2007 Charlene Li, then at Forrester Research, now running the Altimeter Group, along with Forrester ’s Josh Bernoff, Remy Fiorentino, and Sarah Glass released a report that introduced us to Social Technographics. Forrester’s research segmented participation behavior on the social web into six categories, visualized through a ladder metaphor with the rungs at the high end of the ladder indicating a greater level of participation. Social Technographics were designed to help businesses engage in social media with a more human approach, catering to individuals where, when, and how they are participating and contributing to the social Web. According to Forrester research…
Everything you've been hearing about teen girls living on Facebook, friending their favorite brands and influencing hundreds of future purchases with the single click of the "like" button? A new report from Euro RSCG suggests it's all wrong, and that teen girls share shopping secrets the way they always have -- with only their closest friends, and even then, not online. "Facebook and MySpace are very public," Karina Meckel, director of strategic planning, tells Marketing Daily. "But while 8 out of 10 girls use social media, we've found that teen girls don't like to talk about shopping there. When they find a good deal, they're interested in tipping off a few close friends, not broadcasting it. These girls aren't moving and shopping in flocks, as many marketers believe. They closely select very small, intimate groups -- it's a sisterhood."
In its study titled, "Beyond Trust: Engaging Consumers in the Post-Recession World," Millward Brown used a new metric dubbed "TrustR" to determine the top-performing brands. It's calculated by looking at consumer responses to the questions "how trustworthy is this brand?" and "would you recommend this brand?"
With 71% of Americans using the Internet at least monthly in 2010, US Internet users now closely resemble the general population. Over the next five years, that trend will continue. Overall, eMarketer forecasts the number of monthly Internet users in the US will rise to 250.7 million in 2014, up from 221 million in 2010. More than one-half of new users will be ages 45 and up, as many of the remaining laggards come on board. Among younger groups, the Internet is nearly ubiquitous, and most who are able to access it already do so, leaving limited potential for penetration growth.
Some novel research on the social networking phenomenon has turned up a slightly surprising result: The most influential spreaders of news aren't necessarily those with the greatest number of online friends or followers.
In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin published a paper titled Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Search Engine, in which they outlined the core technology behind Google and the theory behind PageRank. Now, twelve years after that paper was published, the team behind social search engine Aardvark has drafted its own research paper that looks at the social side of search. Dubbed Anatomy of a Large-Scale Social Search Engine, the paper has just been accepted to WWW2010, the same conference where the classic Google paper was published.
According to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, an online survey by Opinion Research Corporation among a representative U.S. sample of 1,048 adults, comprising "new media users," 44% of American new media users are searching for, sharing or discussing information about corporate responsibility (CR) efforts and programs and are highly confident they can have an effect on business.
The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones. And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.
In August we reported that a large number of Fortune 100 companies have embraced Twitter, but how well are they actually using it? A study released today by Weber Shandwick says the answer is not very well, and that the majority of Fortune 100 companies don’t really get Twitter. Though 73 of 100 companies had at least one registered Twitter account (up from 54 reported in an unrelated study released in August), the majority of them weren’t using Twitter effectively to engage their followers, weren’t tweeting often, and didn’t display any personality in their tweets, according to the study. One major result of this ineffective use seems to be low engagement from followers. Out of the 540 total Twitter accounts registered by Fortune 100 companies, 50 percent of the accounts had fewer than 500 followers and another 15 percent weren’t being used at all.
While mobile marketing is growing briskly, the pattern of consumers' engagement with it remains uneven from one demographic cohort to another. A BIGresearch study examines the current composition of mobile marketing's audience. And, even as such marketing expands, the research detects continued and growing consumer distaste for many forms of it.
Social networking is one of the fastest-growing activities among mobile users around the world. And as one of the primary ways mobile users communicate with one another, it is proving a significant driver of Internet usage on mobile devices. eMarketer predicts the number of mobile users accessing social networks from their mobile devices will reach 607.5 million worldwide by 2013, representing 43% of global mobile Internet users. In the US, mobile social networkers will total 56.2 million by 2013, accounting for 45% of the mobile Internet user population.
You know social media is a powerful tool for business when a grocery store attracts more Twitter followers than pop star Lady Gaga and almost as many as Miley Cyrus, whose departure drove her 2 million fans to make #MileyComeBack a trending topic for more than a day. If Whole Foods Market ever followed suit, its 1.5 million registered fans would surely start a virtual food fight.
I am a proud, flag-waving member of Generation X, the latchkey kids born between the early 1960s and late 1970s who listened to grunge music while worrying that we'd never make as much money as our parents. My children, 4 and 6, are part of the emerging Generation Z, a demographic too young to be stereotyped. In between are the mysterious creatures known as Generation Y. Born between the late 1970s and late 1990s, these so-called "millenials" intrigue me. As the first generation raised on the Internet, I suspect that they offer a glimpse into our future. They are more comfortable with technology than any other generation, they live at a faster pace, and yet they are more distracted. They mature slower, marry later, but use social networks to build large groups of friends. They have more choice and opportunity, and also more stress and anxiety as a result.
In 2007, Self magazine released results from a study titled GOOD, which examined how women react to cause marketing. Its findings encouraged cause-supporting companies to make the move from telling consumers about how the company was giving back, to telling consumers how they were helping the company give back--the consumer feels better about herself when she supports "good" companies. Self recently released GOOD 1.5, which delves deeper into women's responses to cause marketing and is relevant given how different the economy is from 2007. Cynthia Walsh, executive director of marketing for Self, said that while many marketers expect consumers to care less about "good" in this environment, the opposite is actually true.
Web users are far more willing to share personal information with marketers via e-mail than on social networking sites, according to new research commissioned by lead generation specialty firm Pontiflex. The new study, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that just 12 percent of online adults have been willing to share information like their Facebook user name or their Twitter handle with a brand in exchange for information or promotional offers. However, a whopping 96 percent of online adults who have actually taken the step of providing brands personal information have shared their e-mail addresses with marketers.
The 2010 census will officially record that more than 300 million people live in this country. It's a diverse group, as we've known for a while now. But a study commissioned by the trade magazine Advertising Age will pose some problems for marketers in the second decade of the century. We've now become so diverse that there's no such thing as an average American anymore.
Independent media agency TargetCast:tcm has released a consumer trend report that reveals differences in how men and women engage with traditional media. The study also points to generational differences in the ways digital media is perceived and consumed. The study, based on a survey last month of 895 adults age 18-64, found that men are generally more willing than women to adapt their habits to incorporate digital and online platforms as replacements for traditional media.
For decades, the adoption and use of the latest technologies was limited to a subculture: Whether called “tech enthusiasts” or “gadget geeks,” the implication was that most of the world got along fine with older, established products and services, while a smaller group pursued the most leading-edge technology. But according to a study released Wednesday by Forrester Research, a marketing firm based in Cambridge, Mass., a shift has taken place. What used to be the pursuit of a few has become decidedly mainstream. We’re all gadget geeks now.
A new study indicates that online advertising boosts retail sales of consumer packaged goods brands by 9% on average -- comparable with the lift from TV ad campaigns. The findings come from comScore and marketing consultancy dunnhumbyUSA based on research involving online campaigns run over three months for a variety unnamed CPG brands.
An old yet dominant definition of branding is emotion-driven storytelling in which the brand works to attract and guide us by projecting a desired lifestyle. An established yet fringe definition of branding is storytelling inspired by the tangible qualities of the objects or systems the brand supports. This later definition and approach to branding reverses out of transcendent, emotion-based brand experiences and gives more responsibility to the customer's intelligence to create the experience and meaning. What would our branded world look like if this approach was widely adopted?
For a time, Internet advertising was a rising tide lifting all boats. But as ad spending ebbs, there are more arguments about where on the Web advertising is the most fruitful. The fight over shrinking Internet ad dollars pits online publishers that offer premium content against major Web portals such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo. Portals and publishers, meanwhile, also have to compete with the ad brokers that sell often cut-rate leftover ad space on Web pages with less visibility.
And you thought Virtual Worlds were so passé…a new study suggests that virtual worlds may be getting a second life. In 2007-2008, many brands and companies flocked to Second Life to build a virtual presence, which spiked, peaked, and created somewhat of a backlash and ultimately a bit of a retreat in the process. By mid-2009, virtual worlds were realizing a comeback of sorts. In July 2009, virtual worlds consultancy kzero.co.uk reported that membership of virtual worlds grew by 39% in the second quarter of 2009 to an estimated 579 million. World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Habbo Hotel, Club Penguin and Second Life are respectively posting profits powered by those who were intent on getting a “second” life.
Things can't get much worse for many of the world's top luxury brands. This week Coach, the high-end handbag seller, announced that profits slumped 32% for the quarter. Same-store sales at Saks were down 23.2% in the first five months of this fiscal year. BMW's U.S. sales are off 28.9%. Bain & Company, the consulting firm, is forecasting a record 10% drop in the overall U.S. luxury market this year. According to Bain, luxury won't fully recover until 2012. What can these brands do to battle this malaise? Maybe BMW should try selling ketchup or mayonnaise.
What big brands do the best job with social media? A new study by analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint ranks the top 100 brands by social media engagement.
A new study offers insights on changing grocery shopping behaviors as a result of the recession, including which food and beverage categories are proving most and least susceptible to brand abandonment and which consumer segments have been most and least affected.
A new study by Cornell researchers shows that traditional (old-media) news outlets lead the blogosphere by 2.5 hours when it comes to breaking news. It's a sign that the old guard should chill out about blogs and how they're destroying the news world.
Along with all the other ways it's wounded marketers, the global recession is greatly exacerbating the problem of counterfeit products. Citing data from its latest study of the issue, the CMO Council warns that global rings of brand pirates have moved far beyond luxury goods into even the most mundane sort of branded items. Council VP-Operations Liz Miller estimates that U.S. marketers are losing from 5% to 8% of their profits to brand fakers.
The gay and lesbian community may be hard to measure in size, counting for some 4% to 10% of the U.S. population, based on census data that counts only same-sex couples who live together. But measuring their media consumption just got easier for Group M's Mindshare, which released its first study on the gay and lesbian market, "Reaching Out," to clients this week.
At this point, no one needs reminding that the recession has changed the way people shop. But a new study from the Food Marketing Institute paints an intriguing picture of the stages consumers go through as they continue to cut back. And to be sure, the study finds, they are cutting back.
In times of a slow economy, marketers see a lot of danger for brand integrity by fakes, frauds and infringements. The Chief Marketing Office (CMO) Council asked in a global audit of 306 marketers, sponsored by MarkMonitor, how marketers view threats to online and offline brand attacks. The results reveal that top marketers see online threats heating up but still struggle to understand, monitor and measure the impact of the increased sophistication of brand hijackers and product knock-offs on consumer trust and confidence. The good point is: they plan to increase spending on brand protection.
Knowledge is passed down directly from generation to generation in the animal kingdom as parents teach their children the things they will need to survive. But a new study has found that, even when the chain is broken, nature sometimes finds a way.
Last October, Gartner unveiled a study that stated that by 2010, 60 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies with a web site will be involved in some form of online community that is utilized for customer relationship purposes. What the research also goes on to state is that 50 percent of those that set out and establish or become involved in these communities will fail in their efforts. That's about 300 Fortune 1000 companies that will fail at social media: a striking number, especially in light of recent economic pitfalls.
People eat chocolate bars in pieces, waiting and savoring. They space their cigarettes through the day, their gossip sessions, their calls to friends. They like their sports with timeouts, and practice their religion with fasts and periods of self-denial, like Lent. So why is it that commercial interruptions always ruin TV programs? Maybe they don’t. In two new studies, researchers who study consumer behavior argue that interrupting an experience, whether dreary or pleasant, can make it significantly more intense.
There’s a fascinating report that came out this month. Noshir Contractor and his collaborators are studying nearly 60 terabytes of data from EverQuest II and interviewed 7,000 players of the game. Okay, get this: 45 million people play from all around the world. And even though players could play the game with anyone, anywhere, most people played with people in their general geographic area.
It may seem like Google always has been the search engine of choice. There was a time, though, when AltaVista, Lycos and Yahoo ruled the roost in the late-1990s, only to see Google blow past them. A new survey by Forrester Research concludes that such a turnabout could happen again, despite the solid and growing lead Google maintains in the search market. It found that brand loyalty to search engines is quite low. That coupled with the lowest of switching costs makes the still nascent search market an open playing field, the researcher concludes.
Consumers are often told that if they break an item, they buy it. But a new study suggests that if they just touch an item for more than a few seconds, they may also end up buying it.
While today's terrain can be pretty treacherous for any marketer, a new report is encouraging them to look ahead to 2015. The What will the role of marketing be in the year 2015? report was created by the American Marketing Assn. in conjunction with Decision Strategies International.