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New Study Finds Global Executives Struggling to Find Sweet Spot with Social Media

Weber Shandwick and Forbes Insights Survey Cites Social Media as a Driver of Brand Reputation; Much Work to be Done to Attain World Class Standards


1. It’s not the medium — and it’s more than the message: World class brands are much more likely than the average brand to create original content. Forty-five percent of them create content specifically for social media purposes, compared to 28% of all global companies. World-class brands depend upon much more than just the medium to make themselves social.


2. Put your brands in motion: World-class companies do more than build an inventory of social media tools. They apply their tools in more social ways than the average global company. For example, they are 44% more likely to offer brand-related mobile content, 43% more likely to participate in “check-in” apps, 41% more likely to do proximity marketing and 40% more likely to have their own branded YouTube channel.


3. Integrate or die: World-class organizations are much better integrators of brand personality — they are nearly twice as likely as other organizations to have a consistent brand personality across all social and traditional media channels and are much more likely to include a social media element to their traditional print or broadcast messaging.


4. Make social central: Sixty-one percent of world-class brands have a dedicated social media strategist or manager, vs. 41% of all global brands. According to one global executive respondent, “The most important thing we can do is to centrally plan social media activities across all channels to amplify key messages.”


5. Listen more than you talk: World-class companies fine-tune their messages to customers and integrate what is on their fans’ minds into their brand stories. Nearly twice as many world-class brands have changed a product or service based on fan recommendations compared to the average global brand.


6. Count what matters — meaningful engagement: World-class brands place more weight than other brands on their number of contributors when measuring social media effectiveness. Social contributors are ranked #1 by world-class companies but #6 by other companies as a key metric.


7. Think global: Executives managing world-class brands consider global reach as important as customer service as a driver of corporate reputation while the average global executive ranks global reach last.


8. Go outside to get inside: World-class companies are nearly twice as likely as average global companies to engage outside support to measure their brand’s social performance.


9. Be vigilant: To protect their social brand integrity, world-class brands are always on high alert. They are 85% more vigilant since Wikileaks has been in the news and are 58% more likely to be concerned about privacy violations.

• North American companies are most likely to have integrated their social media brand strategies into their overall marketing or communications strategies (73% vs. 54% in EMEA, 60% in APAC and 62% in Latin America).

• While EMEA organizations are just as likely as those in other regions to have a centralized social media function, they are the least likely to have a dedicated social media strategist/manager (62% vs. 77% in North America, 70% in APAC and 78% in Latin America).

• APAC brand executives are significantly more likely than executives in other regions to report difficulty quantifying social media results/gauging ROI (27% vs. 19% in North America, 17% in EMEA and 14% in Latin America). In fact, this is APAC executives’ number-one barrier to using social media more extensively. APAC is also the most likely region to cite lack of talent to effectively implement social media as a barrier, which could be a reason for or by product of ROI challenges.

• Latin American brand executives expect the most from their brand’s online sociability. On average, they project in three years that 72% of their brand’s reputation will be attributed to its online sociability. This is higher than what executives in other regions expect (65% in North America, 63% in EMEA and 66% in APAC).