The Cycle

WOM lacking among communicators

Ketchum and USC Annenberg’s Strategic Public Relations Center have announced the results of their survey, Media, Myths & Realities, which shows that communicators are sorely lacking in word-of-mouth programs, despite the fact that many consumers rank family and friends as number one on a list of resources when making decisions. Experts were also high on consumers’ lists for things like medical decisions.

Only 24% of communicators said they have a WOM program in place and, while many comms pros say that their company’s Web site is an effective way to share news about the organization, consumers only rank that sixth or seventh. The study also found that consumers are less likely to take info from media outlets at face value; personalization is key with 22% of US consumers using social networking sites and 19% using blogs. Increased media consumption in emerging BRIC markets requires cultural knowledge specific to those consumers. For instance, more consumers in Brazil, Russia, and India rely on network news than the US (85%, 79%, 72%, and 65% respectively).

The Media Myths & Realities survey is in its second year, with introduction of media habits in BRIC countries a new addition. In the US, 1,229 adults were surveyed (including 200 influencers, those who spur change through various activities), along with 500 communications professionals. In BRIC countries, 300 consumers and 200 influencers (same definition) were surveyed.

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