Although I did not have occasion to attend the recent 2009 ESOMAR conference in Chicago, I was struck by fact that the agenda was essential devoted entirely to social media. By contrast, Brandmatters 2006 had one session on social media, referred to as “Social Networks and Brand Communities”, a subset of the broader Internet ecosystem.
At that time, I was in the fortunate or perhaps unfortunate position of presenting “Listening to the Blogosphere: How Blogging can Impact Your Brand”. Fortunate in that I was probably regarded as part of a small group of pionners or forward thinkers (lunatic fringe?) on the subject of WOM: Word-of-Mouth media; unfortunate in that much of what I presented seemed to be something of an oddity to much of the audience. Here were some observations at the time:
> 10% of US adults created blogs; 32 mil. Americans read blogs;
> 12% of consumers posted content online
> many ‘bloggers’ has formed brand communities, notably in the automotive and entertainment industry verticals
> many bloggers were considered influencial in shaping a brand’s reputation
Fast forward as we move into 2010: It’s most gratifying to see that Social Media is dominatingdiscussion within the marketing research industry. Much of the thinking has expanded beyond mere curiosity toward shaping opportunity and providing increased business value to clients in a forward looking way. It was to the point that awards for building online communities have become the new hallmark for forward thinking marketing research.
It goes without saying that the numbers presented above would appear to be a mere speck of online activity given today’s dominance of applications such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, not to mention the hundreds of millions of blogs and forums that contain brand content.