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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bloggers Should be Abuzz on Brand Buzz Study

Three automakers topped a recent study by a New York firm of consumer attitudes in 31 countries. While it is perhaps of little interest to most of the blogosphere that Mercedes, BMW and Toyota have the most loyal and influential customers, there may nevertheless be some important implications for the cyber world in the the results.

NOP World Consulting in New York interviewed customers in 31 countries seeking to measure their brand loyalty and degree of influence on purchases by others. More than half of the customers of the three automakers were classified as "active brand advocates" who talk up - i.e. create what marketeers call "buzz" - their preferred marque.

Ford was ninth among the top 10, which also included Nokia in fourth, followed in order by Sony, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Clinique and Nike. Note the absence of Apple, Dell, Gateway, IBM, HP and the rest of the major computer manufacturers/retailers.

What does this have to do with the Blogosphere? NOP World Consulting claims its results also indicate that word of mouth is the most influential source of information for 90 percent of Americans and personal testimonials are twice as influential as paid advertising and editorial content.

Why are word of mouth and personal testimonials such powerful tools of marketing? Because they embody trust and credibility. What do blogs do? They create massive amounts of "buzz" and they equal a personal testimonials factory that runs 24/7 worldwide. To be successful in the Blogosphere, the first essentials are ... trust and credibility.

This is why Hugh Hewitt is far from indulging in hyperbole when he compares the Internet age with the Protestant Reformation. Hewitt says in his book "Blog" that "the Blogosphere is about trust. CNN lost the trust it once had and its fall has been sudden and shattering. FOX News is trusted by millions, so its numbers have shot up, much to the dismay of lefties who don't understand why viewers would trust FOX News."

Think about it. The Blogosphere puts the power of personal testimony in Everyman's hands.