Fluent, the Social Influence Marketing Report

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I'm excited to announce the launch of Fluent, the Social Influence Marketing report from Razorfish. This is the first report of its kind which understands who and what influences consumers at different points in the marketing funnel.

The insights in this report are built on three pillars - a survey with 1,000 North American consumers, six months worth of real conversational data to frame the introduction of a new social index and the experiences of Razorfish Social Media Leads across the world who advise marketers in industry leading companies everyday. 

The survey and conversational driven research also busts three myths about Social Influence Marketing. 

1. That companies have figured out how to build their brands in social media. They haven't. For example, six out of 10 consumers don't bother to seek out opinions of brands via social media. 

2. That television is dead. It isn't. Consumers view TV ads as more trustworthy than ads on social networks. Marketers need to do more in the social realm, but they need to do it in a way that builds trust first. Brands don't have the trust today.

3. That you cannot measure in the social web. Not only do campaign specific metrics matter and can be measured but we believe a SIM Score for the social web is extremely important. Think of it as the blood pressure for the brand in the social web. In the report, we introduce this index and show the SIM Scores of 5-6 brands in 4 industries. We also compare the online numbers to offline share of voice data to demonstrate how those two worlds are blurring.

Read Fluent, the Social Influence Marketing report and come back to the blog to share your thoughts, comments and criticisms. Over the next few weeks, I'll be delving into the insights more deeply over here. And if you like the report, please tell others about it!

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Hey Shiv - thanks for sharing this. Looking ofrward to reading it and feeding back in detail...

Thanks for sharing.

I especially appreciate your statement that "social influencers and social media have an impact on the general consumer population—not just a small elite of social media enthusiasts."

We all need to keep beating the drum on this, too—"top-down branding will become increasingly impotent."

Broadcasting, shaping messages, controlling the message, etc. will give way to humble engagement—companies (and maybe even politicians) will be forced to demonstrate true care/concern for customers by paying attention. That'll be a good thing.

Trey Pennington

Very comprehensive report. I look forward to digesting all of it. Just one point about item #1 above:
It may be a chicken-and-egg sort of situation, or maybe it's the way you've stated it, but the fact that 60% consumers don't bother to search for brands on social media sites doesn't mean that companies haven't figured out how to establish their brands in social media. It seems to me that it means that consumers aren't yet using social media to its fullest potential.

Perhaps a better way to phrase it - if you have the statistics to back it up - would be to say that 6 out of 10 companies don't have a social media presence. That way, it puts the onus on the corporation rather than on the consumers.

Scott Monty
Global Digital Communications
Ford Motor Company

Look forward to reading the full report. I agree with Scott above that the public is just not aware of how to search on social networks. In fact, there are companies out there that don't even know how to search on social networks for customers that are asking for help.
The tables are turning on marketing and I look forward to being right in the thick of it!
Caffeinated Marketing

Did a quick skim of the full report, this is good stuff. Very interested in the SIM score and applying it against clients. I've long used net sentiment as one benchmark and combining it with share of voice in one metric makes sense. Thanks for the good insight.

Anonymous Coward said:

Does the world really need another goofy document reader? You couldn't publish this as a PDF? Had to show off your interactive chops? But in doing so, only show that you don't get it.

I'm especially interested in filtering this report down to small businesses that make up the majority of my clients. Also, interested in division in results by industry. Will delve in and return to be a part of the discussion.


Bede Fahey Author Profile Page said:

The report looks great.

I think that this particular phrase in the report is key, "Conversations about brands, products and services are increasingly woven into the interactions of social networks as a means to connect with others, and these conversations have great influence even though people aren’t consciously asking about brand opinions"

Social media is still influencing people, even though they may not know how to, or may not choose to, search for information there.

Is the true potential of social media going to come from people performing vertical searches there to find out information? Or, like "traditional" word of mouth marketing, is it less about consumers soliciting for information, and more about their friends and other trusted sources volunteering it in the course of a normal conversation?

I think it will be the latter and the report seems to confirm this. The conversations are already happening, and people are already being exposed, without specifically searching.

Scott Gould Author Profile Page said:

Thanks for this, and to all the commenters thus far.

I was reading Workplace media's report that 96% of online users said their opinion of brand did not change if they did not have social media.

Now, of course those brands may not loose brand appeal, but through social media they may dramatically increase their audience - this would be Scott Monty's "onus on the corporation"

But still this article, combined with this post itself, points to the mass internet market whose experience of Social Media begins and ends with Facebook. I call these the 'digicools' who use technology because it's cool, as opposed to the 'digit
alls' who are continually using the latest technologies.

I'm convinced we are missing the whole point of social media - the actual mass society - not just innovators

Robert Bolongaita said:

It was not surprising to me that two-thirds are not asking for recommendations. My guess is that majority of respondents are users of, or had LinkedIn and/or Facebook in mind, when answering the question. Those sites simply do not provide the context for that kind of interaction to happen. The challenge for marketers is to find a social networking platform that provides the right environment or context where people can be found socializing precisely because they are in the market for a product, service, or something. Then it becomes easier to push messages through because users' mindsets are open to such communication.

John Borys said:


I reference your report on my Twitter site: wheresyourbuzz
as "The new media mantra" and have read your report. I have replied to your treatise briefly on AdWeeks Tweatfreak, and would like to express my views here in this forum with a more in depth reply.

Maybe the best way to say that I am qualified to be able to do this is to say -- that I am the "elephant in the room." I am the guy that creates the brand messaging. As a Creative Director, (NW Ayer, Bozell, LL&H, to name a few) the guys that brought you
"Be all you can be," "A diamond is forever," "Reach out and touch someone"... now you get it! (more on this point to come) and now Director of Brand Strategies, and Principal for my own Brand Consulting firm, I can provide a unique alternative perspective, given my expertise and experience in creating creative, memorable, persuasive brand messaging. I only mention my background to let you know I am the real deal, henceforth
"the elephant in the room." .... call me "Peanuts"

Ok, .... agreed - I'm bad, your bad. (Social media 101, the sniff test...)

Good report- the challenges are many, to: 1) firms like Razorfish, 2) Agencies, 3) the new media, 4) businesses trying to communicate a brand. There is an interesting article on my Twitter site "Forget the hubcaps, we want the whole car, Dude." with a link to Google's strategy to "educate the beast" (i.e. people like me, & Agencies) about the "new media" Google is finally an adolescent,-- meaning that it is now flexing it's muscles and seeing the potential it has-- and is, hot for teacher. Meaning the whole car, (The Agencies that control the big ad budgets) the reach and impressions Google has given its size now -- is seeing the potential to woo Agencies and guys like me. The article picks up on one of the comments from the "Zillas" (as in Godzillas) we view "the new media" Google as "Frenemy" (both friend and enemy) still with me- Situational analysis: Current Perception: that the "new media" is both perceived as a friend and an enemy. How does this current perception influence the selling strategy? It's no surprise that both you and Google are taking an "Educational approach" to selling the "new media." Kudos for "Buzzing from the ground up" - Agencies should take notice of "the buzz" and perceive Razorfish as "in touch" with this new stuff. The messaging, how you communicate this, (to Agencies) will make for a interesting creative campaign. I digress, occupational hazard. Right now your in the creating the "Buzz" phase... (Call me, you know where to find me, I found you)

Hey, Are we still social? ... (which brings up another interesting point- Where does social cross the line with sell?)

The potential of "the new media" SIM, Twitter, Facebook, etc, etc. will allow brands to further connect with their customers. This is a good thing, a wonderful thing. Brand Image messaging and Brand Tactical messaging will be in positions to further connect emotionally. "Tactical Brand emotional connections"... very cool stuff... (Die Hard 2)

But, the "Essence" of the brand, it's DNA, it's "reasons to buy" expressed in a creative, persuasive and memorable way, will always come from (Agencies, and creatives like me) from the top down. There is a "craft" to communicating a brand, repeatedly. The methodology, and experience of working on Brands within this context (Be all you can Be, A Diamond is forever) are why everyone's so hot for teacher... The Agencies that get it and consultants like me will exploit this "new media" to further make emotional connections with customers to their brand.

The new media will be yet, another way to reach out and touch someone. (AT&T, 1984) how far reaching and relevant. Still.

The metrics, or SIM score are a good start. But reducing GM's SIM to one number, is too broad. IMHO. I'm a CD, but we do look at some of the stats. I would want to look at the stats that support your conclusion " No significant variations in responses were ascertained in reference to general population vs. active social network users... This cuts both ways.??

There are some interesting disconnects between consumers not always realizing how much influencing they are doing, and being influenced when conversing across social platforms. I would add were is the analysis on 2nd and 3rd order of effect? But this beyond the scope of this forum.

All, in all you have an excellent report here. There are elements within the report- that depending on the "audience" could be shaped more persuasively, but that is another conversation also.

You might consider "Buzz" vs."Repeatability", or sustainability in brand messaging across social media? What can brands do to develop Brand loyalty within Social media? One issue that brands will have to deal with more effectively within social media is engagement. More "Buzz" also means more "Bad Buzz"... the inverse to this is great! "More Buzz, means Mo Betta Buzz"

Shiv, let's keep in touch... it's a social thing.

John Borys, Director of Brand Strategies

Simon2 said:

Interesting. I'll have to check out Fluent soon. Hopefully there's something insightful about online video marketing; I've personally found online video marketing extremely helpful, because it's not too hard to make a video and put it up on YouTube alongside AdWido and Vimeo.

DwightBain Author Profile Page said:

Useful research- thanks!

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