The Influence Economy

Universal McCann has done it again and assembled a very informative presentation on how strangers are influencing brand buying decisions.  This presentation is definitely worth the read.  Some key takeaways, looking through the eyes of retailers trying to figure out how to leverage social media for connecting with broader communities:

  • Overall participation rates for sharing product opinions is very high.  All brands need to react by becoming more transparent and active in social and conversational media.
  • Even low interest categories (insurance, finance, real estate) have high participation rates, although music, movies and technology lead the pack in discussion.  Travel is one of the most sought after categories for information.
  • “Super influencers” – bloggers, video sharers, photo uploaders – are very real and have a definitive impact.
  • Don’t be afraid to advertise in new social media platforms – it’s where consumers and influencers “live.”  But in concert with that, brands need to have a presence and “exist” in the social media services that consumers contribute to.

There are some great examples as well.  What do you think?  Coming soon in a future post: some “quick hits” ideas on how retailers can get quickly engaged in social media.


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  • The traditional media companies are finally getting it… Group M has also produced some interesting content as has Avenue A (but I guess that’s less surprising).

  • The traditional media companies are finally getting it… Group M has also produced some interesting content as has Avenue A (but I guess that’s less surprising).

  • Paul

    Social media is very tricky. Like with reviews if it is presented too positively people may assume it’s fake. A realistic engagement, to the point of being a bit gritty perhaps, may be required. There can be some real risks in walking the line between true transparency and brand control and constant monitoring is crucial. Having Google alerts set up for all branded terms is essential. Companies should be very careful about venturing into this culture without any guidance. Mistakes made in social media are not easily retracted. I agree it is very important (and will eventually become a requirement to be competitive) but it should be done very cautiously and with the help of people with experience in that culture.

  • Paul

    Social media is very tricky. Like with reviews if it is presented too positively people may assume it’s fake. A realistic engagement, to the point of being a bit gritty perhaps, may be required. There can be some real risks in walking the line between true transparency and brand control and constant monitoring is crucial. Having Google alerts set up for all branded terms is essential. Companies should be very careful about venturing into this culture without any guidance. Mistakes made in social media are not easily retracted. I agree it is very important (and will eventually become a requirement to be competitive) but it should be done very cautiously and with the help of people with experience in that culture.

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