THE AGE OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE

HOW MEDIA-EMPOWERED CONSUMERS ARE HELPING TO DRIVE SALES

Methodology
This project was part of Initiative’s Consumer Connections global research program which now spans in excess of 50 countries. Our study’s sample was designed to identify those actively engaged in social media. As a result we conducted 8014 online interviews with consumers aged 18-54. Interlocking age/gender and regional quotas were set to reflect the national population in each country, the only exceptions being China where the focus was on Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and Canada where the Nunavut, NWT, Yukon regions were excluded. We used complex factor analysis to identify drivers of social behavior. This enabled us to quantify consumers’ social influence and identify those who are leveraging their superior social connections to influence purchase decisions.

THE AGE OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE

The importance of social media has been discussed at length for several years now. We know that in many markets time spent online has surpassed that of TV and that daily social media usage is continuing to increase. We know that the once linear and transaction-centric purchase funnel is now multi-directional, random and heavily influenced by opinion and information gathered by consumers. And we know that because of social media and technology, consumers can now enter the purchase cycle at various points, and spontaneously influence others as they travel along the path the purchase. But do we really understand how marketers can unlock the real value of all this? Do we know how social media works with other more established media? And do we know how to harness the power of social media for real commercial gain? In order to find answers to some of these crucial questions, Initiative set out to explore the individual and combined strength of TV, social and mobile, and how consumer interaction with each has altered the path to purchase. Specifically, we wanted to investigate: • How do we produce greater synergy between our siloed media, social and mobile budgets and tactics that result in a greater return on investment? • What are the impact of social, TV and mobile on shopper decision-making? • What role does consumer influence play along the path to purchase? To do so, we conducted a global online study among 8014 web users aged 16-54 across eight countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and the UK. We also spoke one-on-one with a group of super influencers in the US and the UK to gain a better understanding of social behavior.

MEdIA SyNErGy ACCELErATES THE pUrCHASE prOCESS
For many years, forward-thinking marketers have called for greater integration between their online and offline touchpoints in the hope of creating a multiplier effect that drives greater reach and scale. However, our study found that while the integration of social, TV and mobile has indeed altered the way consumers make decisions about brands, it is not because of their ability to simply multiply brand messages. Increasingly, consumers are becoming the driving force powering what, when and where brand interactions occur. Based upon our findings, Initiative believes that by leveraging the consumer’s natural inclination to engage with media across multiple screens and social media, we can create a consumer-powered media synergy effect that is both non-linear and emotional - driving deeper engagement and trust. The result is an acceleration of the purchase process unobtainable by any of the three media independently. We have identified three strategies for marketers that use the combined power of social, mobile and TV to navigate through the complexity:

Three strategies for marketers

1

THE SOCIAL INFLUENCER

TAPPING INTO THE POWER SOURCE

2

SYNERGY

OPTIMIZING TOUCHPOINTS TO PRODUCE

3

‘POINT OF INFLUENCE’ CALL TO ACTION
INTO A

TRANSFORMING A

1

TAppING INTO THE pOwEr SOUrCE – THE SOCIAL INFLUENCEr

First, marketers must seed messages with consumer influencers who have the ability to quickly and effortlessly amplify brand messages across their large social circles. While this is not a new idea, social media has changed the size of influencers in the population and the speed with which messages can spread. Back in 1962, sociologist Everett Rogers popularized the Diffusion of Innovation theory estimating that only 2.5% of a given population are innovators, being the first to adopt new innovations and influence others to try them. We identified that 10% of online users have a disproportionate share of influence - we focused on this group and called them the “Top 10%”. These super influencers are defined by several key attributes and behaviors: having higher levels of media consumption, a social predisposition and wide category shopping; being more likely to research products online and make recommendations to others. These social extroverts have significantly larger social circles than those with lower influence and a higher proportion of their regular social contacts (every 1-2 weeks) are communicated with online.

Focus your marketing on the most influential

REGULAR FACE TO FACE CONTACT BUT NONE ONLINE

REGULAR FACE TO FACE CONTACT PLUS ONLINE

REGULAR ONLINE CONTACT BUT NONE FACE TO FACE

21 10 38 7 46 9

10% 10%
INFLUENCERS
INFLUENCERS

TOP

BOTTOM

Average number of people in my social circle Base: Web users aged 16-54 years of age

10% 10%
INFLUENCERS
SMARTPHONE 86% 30%

TOP

BOTTOM

INFLUENCERS

DEVICES OWNED
LAPTOP 98% 97% TABLET 53% 5% OTHER MOBILE 25% 46%

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES ON AND OFFLINE
88% 84% 84% 77% 77% 60% 58% 58% 52% 52% 48% 38% 7% 12% 9% 2% 2% 27% 9% 14% 26% 47% 25% 64%

Talk on a smartphone Send or receive email Text on a smartphone/mobile Access a social networking site/microsite Chat using instant messaging services Read an online forum/discussion Send an MMS/picture message on a mobile Socialise with others at home Contribute to an online forum/discussion Socialise with others outside the home Participate in online gaming Video conference 69%

FREQUENCY OF RECOMMENDING A PRODUCT OR SERVICE ONLINE
30% 22% 31% 25%

9% 5% 1% More than once a day 1% Once a day 1% More than once a week 2% Every 1-2 weeks 1% Every 3-4 weeks 2% Less often 1% Never

Base: Web users aged 16-54 years of age

The Top 10% are “Media Mavens” who skillfully navigate between the offline and online media, from reading both printed and digital magazines and newspapers to accessing the mobile internet – which 72% of them do once a day or more, compared to only 18% of the Bottom 10%. When it comes to technology, the Top 10% are also more likely to own smartphones and tablet computers, as well as use technology as a social tool. The frequency with which the Top 10% use technology such as Skype, instant messenger (IM), mobile and social networking to supplement face to face conversations is also higher across the board. Their influence comes from their above average use of social media, with 79% using it more than once a day (vs. 29% of the Bottom 10%) and spending on average three hours a week engaged with it. But, most importantly to marketers, 99% of these influencers say that their friends ask their opinion before making an important purchase, compared to just 13% of the Bottom 10%. They are also extremely active during the zero moment of truth - more likely to research or talk about their forthcoming purchase online using social media and mobile before making their purchase decision. Compare this to the “Bottom 10%”– as many as 29% failed to research any products/ services online before purchasing versus just 1% of the Top 10%. The Top 10% are more likely to discuss certain types of high engagement product categories such as mobile, travel, fashion, music and even beauty and personal care. Marketers should monitor these discussions and create platforms for positive sentiment to be used to influence other consumers in the consideration stage. By leveraging their influence, marketers can inject a trusted voice into the path to purchase with the ability to influence in real-time.

Case study: Stimorol
Stimorol in Denmark was planning to launch a new “senses” flavor gum: the “Mega Mystery Gum”, targeted at 18 – 25 year olds. In order to target “social influencers”, IUM Denmark decided to use Stimorol’s Facebook page as the platform for the campaign. Leveraging Stimorol’s association with music, IUM engaged the brand’s Facebook community with a contest where six Danish cities battled for the chance to win one of three Mega Mystery club parties, featuring famous club DJs. This would see social influencers on Facebook and other social platforms leading the activity to drive support for their city’s bid to win a party. Supported with TV, radio and PR the campaign saw the Mega Mystery Gum become the best selling of all Stimorol’s senses flavours and entered the top five gums across COOP supermarket chain.

Implications for marketers
• Don’t ignore social influencers. They can become your biggest brand advocates, standing behind your brand with conviction. Show respect to influencers and they will respect your brand. • Engage with social influencers early and often. They have the power to make or break campaigns. Test brand messages with them pre-launch and carefully monitor their feedback during the duration of the campaign. • nvest in social influence programs – earned media I comes at a cost.

OpTIMIzING TOUCHpOINTS TO CrEATE SyNErGy

2

Media synergy also demands that marketers re-evaluate how they perceive media and its role in the purchase process. Too often, media is relegated to driving awareness, consideration and buzz, but if planned properly media can make a much bigger impact. When selectively combined, TV, social and mobile create a dynamic path to purchase that speeds up the overall decision-making and purchase process, while making shoppers feel good about their choice. We discovered that each medium examined in our study was found to have core strengths (see right). We also found that certain countries had a greater affinity for social and mobile as a marketing vehicle. For instance, in Argentina, online users are more likely than other countries in our study to think social media “helps you share important info about a brand with others,” (70%), “find out more about a brand that you are interested in,” (57%) and “provides you with an unbiased and trusted recommendation about a product/service or a brand,” (51%). On the other end of the spectrum, online users in the Netherlands had the least favorable perceptions about social media’s role in marketing. Only 24% believe that social media provides unbiased and trusted brand recommendations and a little over a third (36%) think it is helpful for sharing brand information. When it comes to internet-enabled mobile, Chinese online users have a greater affinity for mobile with 77% having personal use of a smartphone compared to 58% of total online users in our study. Their mobile usage is also more varied as they use their smartphones in the following ways more than once a week: 63% - wifi access, 61% - mp3 player, 57% - video camera, 41% - instant messaging, 40% - video player. It is no surprise that they also rate mobile more favorably as a vehicle for interacting with brands. For them, mobile provides basic information about brands (41%), is a way to find out more about a brand that you are interested in (40%) and share important information about a brand with others (38%). Media planners and buyers are well versed in the role of media as a communication vehicle, but now must expand their expertise to include how different combinations of online and offline media perform as a point of influence.

Case study: Carling
Carling Black Label wanted to get consumers to reappraise the brand. The beer brand signed a five-year sponsorship deal with South African soccer giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates to leverage the fanaticism around football and engage with nearly 90% of its target audience. With the critical insight that “everybody wants to be a coach” Carling Black Label organised a match between the two Soweto giants and let the fans choose the teams. Driving both awareness and participation would be critical for the success of the campaign. Initiative Media used a combination of TV and print to call for the “couch coaches” to choose players. Social media was then used to encourage interaction between the fans, and mobile and online advertising was used to drive people to the brand’s Facebook page. Over 10.5 million team votes were recorded and over 11 million bottle tops were redeemed. Carling Black Label had the highest awareness of promotions advertising in the beer market during the campaign.

Media synergy: How touchpoints work together

TV AD

Convincing consumers of their wants and desires

PROMPTING YOU TO TRY OR BUY A BRAND

48%

MAKING YOU AWARE OF NEW BRANDS

56%

GIVING YOU BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT A BRAND

43%

INCREASING THE APPEAL OF THE BRAND

46% 37%
HELPING YOU FIND OUT MORE ABOUT A BRAND

HELPING YOU SHARE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT A BRAND WITH OTHERS

50%
PROVIDING YOU WITH A TRUSTED RECOMMENDATION ABOUT A BRAND

36%

32%
HELPING YOU FIND OUT MORE ABOUT A BRAND

INCREASING YOUR LOYALTY TO A FAVORITE BRAND

33%

MOBILE

Instantly connects consumers to in-depth product information

SOCIAL
Influences by leveraging peer and expert advice

Q: Thinking about the range of different resources - social media, internet enabled mobiles/ smartphones, TV shows and TV ads - which of the tasks shown here are these things good at? Base: Web users aged 16-54 years of age

Social media’s sphere of influence

40%

RESEARCHED OR TALKED ABOUT ONLINE BEFORE BUYING

30%

Web users*

20%

RESEARCHED USING SOCIAL MEDIA

10%

PURCHASED THROUGH A SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE

Mobile phones & services

PC, laptops or tablet computers

Travel, flight or hotel

Household appliances

Home entertaining equipment

Fashion, clothing & accessories

Beauty or personal care products

Q: Which of these products/services have you ever... * Percentage of web users who have shopped for the listed categories in the last two years and used social touchpoints Base: Web users aged 16-54 years of age

3

TrANSFOrMING A ‘pOINT OF INFLUENCE’ INTO A CALL TO ACTION

Consumers are organically having conversations about brands prior to purchase, but marketers are not always using these conversations as a distinct point of influence on the path to purchase. We also found that these points of influence occur across categories. Once marketers can establish where their points of influence are for their category and brands, we think there is an opportunity to create social environments that transform organic community conversations into product information portals. Once inside the portal, consumers seeking brand information should be given the option to obtain more information, participate in a brand experience that underscores brand benefits, request a sample or more personalized information or link to make a purchase. By converting influence into action, marketers can use media more effectively, and improve the consumer and shopper experience by providing relevant information and expediting the shopping process. In return, consumers are more likely to share positive experiences about brands with their communities and hopefully become brand loyal.

Case study: Kia
Optima, one of Kia’s core sales vehicles was relaunching with an upgraded product offering. Optima now had innovative and futuristic brand attributes, but was more positioned among mature drivers. We needed to attract a younger audience and get people talking about Optima in a new way. The NBA, with its All-Star game, would be an ideal platform to engage our social influencers. Kia came up with an idea that would get these key influencers talking and drive the social conversation all the way to Kia’s website. We collaborated with basketball star Blake Griffin, who agreed to jump over a Kia Optima during the All Star game. The conversation on social platforms caught fire, driven by our partnership athletes and celebrities who were all tweeting about the jump. Search and social worked in tandem and there were overlays on YouTube with a clear “call to action” driving people to the Optima Explore page. And Kia’s audience certainly heeded the call – Kia saw a 24% increase in sales following the All-Star weekend.

Implications for marketers
• Build branded platforms and tools that help amplify the social curator’s voice. • Go far beyond the 30-second spot and create additional content, such as behind the scenes footage, historical timelines and cultural associations. These will drive discussions and provide a link to brand discovery. • nlist a team of brand and category relevant social E influencers to preview new products and campaigns, stimulate dialogue and disseminate content along the path to purchase.

HOw TO CrEATE A MEdIA SyNErGy EFFECT FOr yOUr brANdS
Find your brand’s Top 10%
In addition to the robust consumer segmentation studies conducted by many marketers to create clusters of consumers based upon purchasing behavior, we suggest completing a comprehensive analysis of social influence. This would be achieved by determining which consumers have the potential to influence the purchase decisions of others. Our Influencer Multiplier is a proprietary scoring method that quantifies the relationship between sociability, purchase behaviour, and media consumption. The Influence Multiplier can be used to optimize media plans by ensuring that the Top 10% are adequately represented within the consumer audience. Since they are an influential source of category and brand information, their inclusion allows brand messages to reach more people in less time. On a global basis, marketers can use the Influence Multiplier to help prioritize media budgets between markets based upon the strength of national scores. We have found that individual market scores vary due to the different media landscapes, stage of technological development and cultural drivers. Our analysis suggests that a marketing message is more likely to spread quickly in markets with a higher Influencer Multiplier score.

Create immersive multi-screen experiences
Marketers can design personal brand experiences by creating media synergy across multiple screens that provide a meaningful and actionable brand experience. This can be achieved by carefully studying the consumer’s media multitasking behavior, their path to purchase, and understanding their motivations and preferences (eg, unique content, access and experiences). By leveraging these insights, a message broadcast to the masses on television can directly create a personal, customizable, consumer-powered experience in search, mobile, and social media. These immersive brand stories are already being told by brands such as H&M, Century 21 and GE who are using TV to direct viewers to a richer online or mobile brand experience, as seen in campaigns executed during this year’s US Super Bowl. For example, brands that made the most of their Super Bowl advertising investment ($3.5m for a 30-second TV spot) led with TV with visible calls to action, such as a URL or Twitter hashtags. Successful brands intuitively navigated their consumers to other paid media, such as search and mobile, complementary owned media and earned media touch points. Social was then used to extend the experience and brand engagement with relevant social response. (IPG Mediabrands Digital Marketing Report 2012 Super Bowl™)

Case study: F&N
Soft drink brand F&N in Malaysia had been synonymous with fun for many years, but was under attack from Fanta which was encroaching on its space and growing market share. In order to regain its territory, Initiative Malaysia tapped into the ‘dance reality’ phenomenon and created a massive ‘dance mob’ that saw TV and social working in combination across a full multiscreen experience. The F&N Custom Song & Dance was introduced via Malaysia’s first outdoor augmented reality screen (utilizing the largest LED screen in the country). People learned the dance moves and saw themselves live with the virtual dancers. The experience then extended across TV – with celebrity hosts picking up the dance moves – online through F&N’s Facebook page and then amplified with online coverage by the leading online newspapers. With 86% of the youth target engaged via the campaign, F&N saw a massive 18% increase in spontaneous brand awareness and maintained its market-leading position.

Implications for marketers
• Anticipate online/offline interactions across multiple screens. Be ready for 24/7 connectivity, immediate search-and-find, and on-demand delivery. • Set aside an emerging technology exploration budget to become comfortable with the unknown. Keeping your finger on the pulse is the only way to stay ahead of social influencers. • Forget waiting to discuss must-see TV around the water cooler, activate Social + TV to give viewers the opportunity to join in real time discussion and connections.

Integrate everything
Media synergy is not business as usual, it requires new beliefs, practices and organizational structure. While many have adopted integrated marketing in theory, nearly 20 years after its conception, most organizations function in separate silos. To create a media synergy effect, marketing departments such as brand management, advertising, media and digital, as well as their accompanying budgets will need to be integrated. If physical integration of a company’s marketing departments is not feasible, then an integrated planning approach with frequent communication among cross-disciplinary teams is a must. Integration is also required outside of an advertiser’s marketing department. Marketing will need to work more closely with other departments such as customer service or retail/trade to activate, monitor and respond to conversations occurring at the points of influence. Additionally, marketers will need to seek new methods of collaboration among groups of agency, media and technology partners that may have once seemed unimaginable. Those who are nimble enough to adapt to new work styles or have the capability to deploy technology solutions that facilitate integration will win.

Implications for marketers
• Train team members to become “T-shaped” – being specialized has its limitations. Marketing organizations need talent with broader communications expertise and that ability to creatively solve problems. • Bring the team together to create team respect that drives collaboration. Encourage an agency exchange program across partners. Designate time for specialists in media, advertising, design, digital and public relations to gain respect for aspects of building connections. Learn how ideas are originated, cultivated, executed and optimized.

FIVE ESSENTIAL TAKEOUTS FOr MArKETErS

1 2 3 4 5

Target the power source. Target the top 10% of influencers in order to accelerate marketing effectiveness.

Engage with social influencers early and often. They have the power to make or break campaigns. Test brand messages with them pre-launch and carefully monitor their feedback during the duration of the campaign.

Go far beyond the 30-second spot and create additional content, such as behind the scenes footage, historical timelines and cultural associations to drive discussion and provide a link to brand discovery.

Enlist a team of brand and category relevant social influencers to preview new products and campaigns, stimulate dialogue and disseminate content along the path to purchase.

Integrate everything. Encourage an agency exchange program across partners. Designate time for specialists in all agencies to gain respect for aspects of building connections.

AbOUT INITIATIVE Initiative is a performance-led media communications company. Initiative believes that all marketing should be performance-driven. Data, analytics, insight and innovation are central to all our services, and we hold ourselves fully accountable to client business goals. This commitment to performance is at the heart of Initiative’s unique process and culture. Owned by the Interpublic Group, Initiative is part of media management group Mediabrands and a partner of Magna, IPG’s centralized media negotiation entity. Initiative employs more than 2500 talented professionals, working in 89 offices across 71 markets, worldwide. Initiative’s comprehensive range of performance-led communications services include: research and insight, media planning and buying, digital communications solutions, content creation, and evaluation and accountability services.

CONSUMEr CONNECTIONS Through our Consumer Connections program of research, we are connected to 230,000+ consumers across more than 50 markets. We interact with these consumers to understand purchase patterns and media behaviors across continents to bring fresh insight into their lives and the role of the brands they use. The powerful single source data we gather as part of this programme also informs planning decisions delivering enhanced ROI for our clients.

www.initiative.com

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