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Research

STUDY: Social Media Amplifies Companies’ Mistakes

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In what might seem like one of the least surprising findings in recent memory, a study published by MSLGroup found that bad behavior and messaging mistakes are amplified by social media.

Some stats from the survey of senior comms professionals in the EMEA region, as posted on the UK blog The Drum:

  • 74 percent of companies have seen their communications strategies change since the advent of social
  • 85 percent say social has increased the reputational affects of mistakes
  • 77 percent think that empowering team members as “brand advocates” would be helpful
  • But 75 percent worry about losing control of the message if they do so

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STUDY: Readers Remember Misleading Headlines

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Here at Mediabistro, we often get requests from reps to change or alter our headlines. We usually respond with annoyance, but a study featured in Fast Company yesterday explains why such demands can be very important: readers will remember a misleading headline even when they read the full article for a better understanding of the story.

The paper, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, makes a pretty basic point: headlines can be “misleading” without being incorrect — and the difference between the two is often lost on readers through no real fault of their own.

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Q&A: Targeting the ‘Conscious Consumer’

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Last week, Edelman’s second annual brandshare survey told us that a large majority of consumers (83 percent) aren’t satisfied by their “relationships” with brands. They want more in the way of information, but they feel like brands are only out to promote themselves.

This is especially true in the food/health space, where concerns about safety and nutrition occupy the minds of many.

Gibbs & Soell and rbb Public Relations recently joined forces to create New York-based Gibbs-rbb, a joint venture designed to target this very sort of “conscious consumer.” The new firm then produced a study that we discussed with managing director Jeffrey R. Graubard.

By the firm’s own estimate, the “conscious consumer” market was worth $120B in 2013. It’s growing quickly — and its members are willing to spend more money to get the kind of products they prefer.

So how do we reach them? Findings, questions and answers after the jump.

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Is BuzzFeed Really America’s ‘Least Trusted’ News Source?

The study that has everyone’s attention in the media world today concerns trust and political ideology.

Depending on your affiliation and your favorite outlets, the extensive Pew Research Journalism Project survey could be seen as either a good or bad thing: more American readers of various political persuasions trust The Wall Street Journal than any other publication, and CNN/Fox remain the biggest/most trusted sources of TV news (which is great for Brian Stelter).

We’re not too concerned with party politics, though. We’re most interested in the fact that the pubs with the smallest divide between “trust” and “distrust” were PBS and WSJ, while the pub with the largest difference between those numbers was…BuzzFeed. Here’s the chart:

mediaPolarization-10

So does this survey encourage doubts about the value of placements on BuzzFeed?

We have to say no.

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People Still Think Their Data Is Vulnerable at Retailers That Experienced Data Breaches

target storeWith the holidays right around the corner, retailers are getting geared up for all the sales they’d like to make to end 2014 on a high note. But Target is still dealing with the repercussions of the big data breach from 2013′s holiday season.

A survey released yesterday by CreditCards.com found that 45 percent of customers would “probably not” or “definitely not” shop at retailers that said they had computer breaches. And 48 percent of people said they’ll probably be shopping with cash, which means that they’ll have very fixed budgets. Once the cash is gone, the shopping stops, which will curb spending.

These aren’t good stats for retailers.

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STUDY: 83 Percent of Consumers ‘Unsatisfied’ by Relationships with Brands

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Edelman released its second annual “brandshare” study this week, and the project’s findings are both challenging and encouraging. In short, consumers are not completely satisfied by their relationships with the brands they know — and the industry is moving closer to determining what, exactly, such “relationships” should entail. Most importantly, brands that created “multidimensional” relationships with consumers saw big, measurable gains.

Some of the study’s findings serve as a good follow-up to a survey released by WPP in September, which found that 55 percent of respondents simply don’t see the point of “friending” a brand. Highlights:

  • 87 of respondents around the world say they want “meaningful relationships” with brands
  • Yet 66 percent say brands don’t share with them at all — and 70 percent say that, when they do, it’s only due to “a self-centered desire to increase profits”

Today we spoke to Jen Cohan, president of Edelman New York, to learn more about takeaways from this year’s brandshare.

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STUDY: Influencers Know the ‘Sponsored Social’ Game Better Than Marketers

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Influential!

IZEA, the self-described “pioneer of social sponsorship”, knows a bit about connecting clients with popular social media users in the interest of increased exposure and, of course, sales.

Last week saw the release of the company’s fifth annual “State of Sponsored Social” report created in collaboration with research firm Halverson Group in order to reveal trends in that rapidly growing digital niche.

The big finding: sponsored social is now the second most common digital marketing tool behind only the trusted display ad.

Also:

  • A majority of marketers (52 percent) have a separate budget for paid social promos.
  • Most don’t pay via the old “free product samples”…they use cold cash.
  • The amount of money involved is increasing: “influencers” on the whole reportedly derive 63 percent of their income from sponsorships

In short, this isn’t your classic PR model. We asked IZEA Founder/CEO Ted Murphy for his take on the report.

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STUDY: ‘Conscientious Consumption’ on the Rise While Donations Decline

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Two recent and seemingly contradictory studies paint a complicated picture of the corporate CSR and non-profit sectors.

First comes Havas PR’s report on conscientious consumers, titled “BeCause It Matters.

The agency surveyed more than 6,600 Americans for the project. Its basic conclusion holds that the public — and especially young people — are more concerned than ever before about the ethics and CSR initiatives of the companies whose products they buy. Another unrelated study, however, complicates the picture on the philanthropy side by showing us that traditional sources of donations for non-profit organizations are giving less than they have in the past.

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Q&A: On the New Hedge Fund Communications Model

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Hedge funds: everyone has heard of them and knows that they play a very powerful role in the global economy. But very few people know what they actually do — and opinions vary wildly.

Everyone in business and communications also knows about the JOBS or Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, the law designed to encourage investment in new companies that also seems to have influenced today’s “IPO boom market.

Our friends at Peppercomm recently released a study about the ways in which the comms strategies driving these funds and the firms representing them have changed since JOBS was signed into law one year ago. In short, they’re trying to be more transparent with the public via social and other types of media as interest in their industry hits new highs and related scandals make headlines around the world. (Note today’s top story about investor Carl Ichan’s “open letter” to Apple CEO Tim Cook.)

We spoke to Tom Walek, President of WalekPeppercomm and author of the study, to find out what that means for the industry. (His firm received a “Best North American PR Firm” award from Hedgeweek back in May.)

Q&A and infographic after the jump.

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Mobile Devices Now Outnumber Humans

Today in We Saw This Coming news: the number of mobile connections is now officially larger than the number of people on the planet.

That’s according to a running “clock” maintained by industry group GSMA, or the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association. From the site:

DATA!

And the number of people living on this globe of ours, according to the United States Census’ “population clock“:

DATA pop

These are all estimates, and it’s worth noting the difference between the “mobile connections” and “unique mobile subscribers” numbers in the GSMA image.

Still, that means that the average user currently has 2.008 mobile devices at any given moment.

Time to re-focus on mobile strategy…

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