One of the most important findings by The Keller Fay Group, as reported by BrandWeek, is that 15% of the population are conversation catalysts. These influencers tend to recommend brands and products more often at the tune of 149 times a week vs. 79 for the average population. They also tend to have more conversations -- 184 vs. 114 -- and talk more about brands than others. What does not change is the categories they mention (see chart).
The media that influence most these conversations are TV, which prompts mentions 12% of the time and the Internet for 10%. The least effective media are billboards (1%) and radio (2%). TV ads are slightly more effective at prompting brand mentions (7%) than TV programs (5%). As I've seen elsewhere, the most effective ad medium on the Internet is still the company Web site.
The study places online consumer reviews, radio ads, and other Web sites, blogs and chat rooms, billboards, and sporting events all pretty low, at 1% each. I mentioned in another post that there seems to be an online credibility gap. I still see smart advertising as a conversation. I think the strongest point the survey makes is with whom this conversation should take place.
Translating the information into what I observe: it starts with the customer. A satisfied customer is one who will come back for more and tell everyone who will hear about it. Conversation catalysts talk to a whole lot more people and will be happy to share their experiences with them -- good, bad, or indifferent. Entertainment and media brands have the greatest sharing value built right in for those conversations happening around the water cooler.
Why is the company Web site still so important? It's your chance to put forth your story and people are still interested in hearing it and engaging in a conversation with you. This is one of the vital points companies need to remember especially in times of crisis. A company brand can have a great deal of equity, we've seen that in mergers and acquisitions where sometimes the acquiring company takes on the name, and brand, of the acquired.