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The Lines are Open

October 24, 2009

social-media-logosA new study from strategy and communications agency Cone, Inc finds a staggering growth in consumer and brand interaction online and highlights the consumer expectation that brands will communicate with them through new media.

Cone reports, “Almost 80 percent of new media users interact with companies or brands via new media sites and tools, an increase of 32 percent from 2008…New media users overwhelmingly believe companies or brands should not only have a presence in new media (95%) but also interact with their consumers (89%).”

Consumers still seek out brands online through traditional methods like websites and email, and feel that a brand’s first priority online should be to provide information. But the study shows consumer’s growing understanding and acceptance of advertising, promotion, and direct brand interaction online. “When asked about their impressions of companies or brands present in new media, users said they feel a stronger connection (72%, up from 56% in 2008) and feel better served (68%, up from 57% in 2008),” among other measures.

The study goes on to identify specific findings related to consumer influence in corporate responsibility and non-profit action through new media channels. A great majority of consumers believe that they now have the power to impact a company’s decisions and make their opinion heard through new media. Consumers also report online media as the main source of information about non-profits and feel these new channels provide a greater chance for participation in and support of causes.

It is clear there is a significant opportunity for brands to build a direct and mutually-beneficial relationship with consumers using social media. Consumers are open to brand interaction and want to engage on a new level, which will allow brands to build trust, form a more loyal relationship and if successful, influence purchase decision.

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