When I was a child I was always warned to be careful of strangers … and I remember how confusing this was. Who was a stranger? What did a stranger look like? In this research, released by Universal McCann in September 2008, we now know – strangers look incredibly like us. And the tipping point? When it comes to opinion and recommendation, we trust them more than we ever have.
The research polled 17,000 Internet users in 29 countries to discover that there is a new landscape of influence driven by:
- The rise of social media
- Digital friends
- The proliferation of influence channels
For brands, this is transforming the marketing landscape – with a vast majority of digital, social interaction revolving around “experience”, conversations about YOUR brands are already taking place. And more importantly, we now trust the opinions of strangers almost as much as we trust people we know well. This is the stranger danger for brands. It is also why not engaging in the debate about your brand carries a high risk. Take a read and think about your leading brand:
- How are you participating in the online conversation
- What are your strategies for interacting with influencers
- Are you organisationally prepared for the transparency required to move from conversation to action?
- How are you “listening” and measuring key brand indicators in various digital channels?