Brand studies and relativity – It’s all about trust…

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The theory of brand strength and leadership is all around and about trust. No wonder that a lot of companies, agencies and consulting companies produce studies that show the importance of results in favor of their business reason – in order to make it a valid business reason.

Some days ago, a marketer said to me: „One day I will write about the theory of relativity research offers“. I can understand my business contact. Especially today. Why? See what kind of study results came out today focussing the relevance of trusted brands in connection to social networks.

As I read the RSS feed of a lot of advertising magazines, it appeared that in not more than two hours (!!!) I came across the following two „studies“.

A: Study, Scource Reuters – Study by Fleishman-Hillard, conducted with Harris Interactive

This Digital Influence Index study says brands using microblogging site elements that provide real-time responses to the public (like Twitter or Facebook) are winning a higher degree of trust from consumers.

Around 75% of respondents say they trust more more in companies that send out short, frequent messages like status updates on social networking sites. These companies deserve more trust from a consumer perspective. In times where leading companies have felt the power of social networks (BP, Toyota, Johnson&Johnson or Procter & Gamble), these findings show the importance of social web engagement companies should consider.

B: Poll, Source AdWeek – Study by Zogby Interactive

This poll suggests that Apple, Google and Microsoft are trusted brands about equally by consumers. But according to the study Twitter and Facebook lag far behind in that respect.

Only 13% of respondents said they trust Facebook completely or a lot. Now, the unbelievable number of 75% are just trusting it a little or not at all. And Twitter does not show better results with 8% trust completely/a lot versus 64% a little/not at all (28% were not sure).

And the numbers in the Gen Y were not better: 20% of the 18-29s trust Facebook completely/a lot – 72% trusting it a little or not at all. For Twitter it is 15% trust it completely/a lot and 66% saying they trust it a little/not at all.

Can you believe these numbers? People are posting their lives and conversations on this social networks. Though they don’t trust them. Strange, right?

Spot On!
So if we take these numbers of the study and the poll for granted, transfer and aggregate their essence, does it mean that we trust brands which show up regularly on Twitter and Facebook, but we don’t trust the platforms of Facebook and Twitter. This sounds bizarr to me. Now, I know that we have to double-check the number of repondents, the way in which the questions were put to the responding audience, the research conducting company’s interest and so on. And sure, a poll offers probably less value than a verified study. Nevertheless, it shows that trust in brands can be seen from different angles. News companies sell both with the same unverified trusted value of one news story. Reuters and Fleishman-Hillard to me sound more like a trusted news source, so I will trust with their findings. It reflects my knowledge…

And in some way I can understand what my customer meant when we was talking about the „theory of relativity of research“.

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