Study Shows Consumers Want Interaction

None of these findings should surprise PR pros, but here is some fresh new ammo for selling the value of public relations.

The 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, an online survey by Opinion Research Corporation, 44 percent of American new media users are searching for, sharing or discussing information about corporate responsibility (CR) efforts and programs and are highly confident they can have an effect on business. New media is defined in this study as dialogue among individuals or groups by way of technology-facilitated channels, such as social networks, blogs, microblogs, online games, mobile devices, photo and video sharing sites, message boards, etc.

  • 74 percent of those surveyed expect companies to join conversations about their corporate responsibility practices happening on new media.
  • 62 percent of users polled believe they can influence business decisions by voicing opinions via new media channels. 
  • 24 percent have contributed their point-of-view on an issue or contacted a company directly.
  • 30 percent have made a purchase based on POSITIVE information learned about a product, company or brand; 23% have switched brands or boycotted a company based on NEGATIVE information learned about a product, company or brand. 
  • 75% of new media users say it is an effective way to learn about CR efforts, 65% believe they know where to look for such information and 47% think companies are transparent and honest when talking about CR efforts through new media channels.  

Consumers are relying largely on Web channels such as Web sites (27%) and email (22%) to explore CR, indicating channels that foster a dialogue and deeper engagement, such as social networks (15%) and blogs (11%), are being underutilized. 

From  2009 cone consumer new media study  corporate responsibility fact sheet:  

Business Issues Consumers Want Companies To Address Through New Media Channels: 
Issue % of Respondents
Environment (e.g., recycling, environmentally sound packaging) 26%
Health and wellness (e.g., obesity, nutrition) 24%
Safety (e.g., lead- or bpa-free products) 16% 
Ethics (e.g., governance, executive compensation) 20%
Human rights (e.g., child labor, fair wages) 15%
Source: 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, January 2009   


Actions Taken As A Result Of Information About Corporate Responsibility Efforts And Business Issues
Action % of Respondents
Made a purchase based on positive information learned about a product, company or brand 30%
Contributed my point-of-view on an issue 24%
Switched brands or boycotted a company based on negative information learned about a product, company or brand 23%
Contacted a company directly to share feedback or grievances 23%
Distributed information about an issue to my friends and contacts 21%
Followed a an important conversation related to a business issue 15%
Source: 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, January 2009   


Americans’ Beliefs And Expectations About Corporate Responsibility In New Media Channels
Belief % of Respondents
An effective way for me to learn about corporate responsibility efforts 75%
Expect companies to join conversations about their corporate responsibility practices  74%
Know where to look if seeking additional information about corporate responsibility efforts 65%
Can influence a company’s corporate responsibility decisions and practices by voicing my opinions 62%
Feel companies are transparent and honest when it comes to talking about their corporate responsibility efforts using new media 47%
Source: 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, January 2009   


American’s Use Of New Media Sites And Tools
Frequency % of Respondents   
Two or more times a week 34% 
One-two times a month 8% 
A few times a year 8% 
Once a week 9% 
Never 41%
Source: 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, January 2009   


Channels Used To Search For, Share Or Discuss Information About Corporate Responsibility Efforts And Programs   
Channel % of Respondents
Any 44%
Email 27%
Websites 22%
Social networks 15%
Message boards 10%
Blogs 11%
Online games 6%
Mobile devices 6%
Photo, audio or video sharing sites 4%
Microblogs 2%
Source: 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, January 2009   

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