When Did We Start Trusting Strangers? New Research from Universal McCann

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by: Matt Rhodes

Earlier this year, we posted about research from Universal McCann looking at the impact of social media. Thanks to Simon at Curiously Persistent, I came across some new and equally interesting research from the team their. This time they look at the influence we have online, how we respond and react to other people, and how user-generated content informs our decision making.

This is a timely piece of research, as we posted last week, 25 million US adults base their purchasing decisions on social media. The Universal McCann research looks into this behaviour in more detail.

I won’t try to summarise the whole thing here, but it has become required reading at FreshNetworks. For us the research is particularly useful in highlighting how and why people are using social media and online communities to effect change across a range of domains, from politics to shopping. The data on which these conclusions are based are worth exploring in more detail but the message for brands is clear: we’re in a new world of transparency.

In this world, it is easier for people to have their voice heard and to hear the voices of others. Everybody matters and everybody can be part of an exchange with each other and with a brand. Brands need social media strategies to reach out to these people and to truly engage in these new transparent terms. Scary stuff at times, but there are some great examples of where this has worked (and if you want to see some jump to the end of the presentation below).

Some more reading

Original Post: http://blog.freshnetworks.com/2008/10/when-did-we-start-trusting-strangers-new-research-from-universal-mccann/