The study revealed that almost two thirds of 18-39 year olds (65%) who are aware of the scandal feel that all those involved in the incident should come forward and admit to their involvement. Females in this age group are more likely to feel this way (68%) than males (62%).
The above views are generally very firmly held with 43% “strongly” agreeing with the statement that “all those involved should come forward and admit to their involvement” and a further 22% “somewhat” agreeing. On the other hand, only approximately 1 in 8 (13%) disagreed, either strongly or somewhat, with the statement.
The survey also found that the Australian population is slightly more divided about whether or not Cronulla Sharks management should name the individuals involved. Almost half (49%) of the survey respondents agreed with the statement that “Cronulla Sharks management should name and shame those involved”, while some 28% disagreed.
There appears to be a strong feeling among younger Australian adults that those involved in the scandal should not leave Mathew John’s on his own to take the rap for the incident. On the other hand, while a significant proportion of this group still feels that Cronulla Sharks management should name those involved, they are slightly more divided on this issue.
About the study:
The study was conducted online among a sample of 330 (18-39 year old) males and females across Australia. Fieldwork took place from 21-26 May utilising Toluna’s Australian panel of some 50,000 double opt-in respondents.
Sponsorship of sports, arts, and charitable events has developed into a mainstream marketing activity. What's next? Justifying the expenditure, says Aha! Research managing director, Peter Steyn.
"Taking full responsibility of client satisfaction and dissatisfaction is the trademark of a successful company", he told Zara. "When consumers of services are let down, serious damage can be done to the company's brand image. This is becoming more critical in the digital age as online word-of-mouth can spread dissatisfaction with the brand around the world to millions in a split second", he said.
"Every economic downtown is followed by economic prosperity. Now is the time to understand current and new customers to be well prepared from the economic recovery". Read the full article
According to estimates, each of the top 12 sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics spent about US$70 million to have their brand associated with this truly global event. Although watched by up to four billion people worldwide, it remains difficult for marketers to assess the impact of sponsorship on their business. Continue reading....
According to the findings of the 2008 Heidrick & Struggles’ Asia Digital Marketing Survey conducted by Aha! Research (report publicly released by H&S), there is no shortage of interest and intent to explore digital advertising options. Yet, spending – so far – has failed to keep pace with plan. For instance, while marketers in the U.S. and Europe placed upwards of 20-25% of their total advertising budgets on digital channels in 2007-2008, Asia wallowed closer to 10-12%. And while our survey respondents say they plan to increase digital ad spend to as much as 28% in 2009, evidence of this is spotty at best.
Add to this the uncertainty of the current global economic climate, and the debate heats up as to whether it is best to “go digital” or remain conservatively attached to the more traditional TV, newspaper and outdoor advertising options. In late October, when our survey results were coming in and the scale of the financial crises was dawning, 47% of respondents anticipated that world events would “moderately” impact their 2009 marketing budgets, whereas 27% expected that it would “significantly” affect them.
Funding is not the only thing that has – or could – limit digital ad spend in coming months. Marketers throughout Asia confess only limited comprehension of digital marketing and its inherent benefits. Others say that media planning or creative agencies remain poorly equipped to handle their digital marketing and advertising needs. In other words, 2009 is lining up to be a pivotal year for digital marketing in Asia, where marketers will either get onboard the digital bandwagon and spend in new, innovative, and cost-effective ways, or retreat to the safe – albeit less interactive – TV, radio and print mediums.
The objectives of our survey were:
- To explore regional marketing dynamics across all sectors as it relates “digital”
- To seek an explanation as to why “digital” spend is low relative to total marketing spend in a region where web and mobile penetration is ubiquitous
- To collect insights as to how regional “digital” marketing will evolve in coming years specific to investment, tools and key focus areas
- To understand the linkage between expected trends in digital marketing and the skills/people required to drive its development
Heidrick & Struggles and Aha! Research surveyed 92 different firms across a spread of industries. The majority of respondents were employed in the FMCG sector and worked for multinationals with large marketing departments of 50 or more staff in their marketing teams (47%). About one-third (30%) of the sample had a marketing budget exceeding US$40 million a year. The survey sample enjoys very strong geographical or business links to mainland China. With the most Internet users in the world and a burgeoning middle class, China is tipped to continue to be a driver of world growth, even during the current downturn.
In its 2008 Annual Yearbook, the Asia Digital Marketing Association (ADMA) reported that 87 percent of its pan-Asian membership had a marketing budget for digital media. About 15 percent of total ad spend was devoted to digital. It is important to note here that ADMA’s membership represents that portion of the Asia marketing community already sold on digital’s attributes. A more general slice of the marketing community shows that overall knowledge of digital marketing is much lower.
Even so, the proportion of budget devoted to digital is increasing. In 2007, our survey found that 11 percent spent more than a third of their budget online, mainly on display advertising and EDM (Electronic Direct Mail). In 2008, 75 percent of our respondents said their digital budgets would increase. 28 percent of respondents said they would devote a third or more to digital marketing this year.
Overall, digital ad spend was closely linked to prior experience with new media. The more experience our respondents had, the more likely they were to employ digital media in the execution of their ad campaigns.
Prospects For Digital Ad Spend
While the trend line for digital ad spend is on the rise, the current economic distress lends a cautionary note. In times like these, overall marketing budgets tend to shrink. It is difficult to say what impact this will have on digital. If presented as a lower-cost and more accountable channel, there is a chance that digital could trump traditional TV, radio and print as marketers allocate this year’s budgets.
Still, our survey findings suggest that beyond funding, three key issues linger and threaten to hold back widespread digital spend:
- A lack of knowledge is preventing marketers from spending on digital. It is our assertion that top-line managers and CEOs fail to grasp the medium’s relevance
- The metrics used to measure ROI are convoluted and can be difficult to compare across different campaigns. Ironically, the proven matrix for TV and print are even less reliable than digital given the “non-interactive” nature of these traditional mediums
- Large marketing departments lack the in-house talent to deliver and measure a digital campaign. Specialist agencies are the drivers of digital media, and generally provide a standard of work that is well received by their in-house project managers
In The Digital World, Knowledge Is Power
Central to our research is the finding that a company’s leadership is more likely to be involved in digital marketing if they understand how digital media works. The Internet is still a relatively new channel for connecting to consumers, so we understand why some CEOs may not have fully grasped its power. Even so, those leaders, who take the time to understand how it all works, stand to reap the rewards.
The survey revealed three expertise groups among marketing decision makers; The Experienced, The Inexperienced, and The Naïve. About 22 percent of the survey sample said they had either a good or very good understanding of digital marketing. About one third said they enjoyed a “good” level of experience. By far the biggest group was ‘The Naïve’ – a whopping 44 percent of respondents.
When asked why they had not to date spent more on digital marketing, Asia Pacific marketers claimed that budgetary constraints were holding them back. When pressed further, they confessed that without sufficient knowledge and the right skills in place within their organizations, they remained reluctant to take the digital plunge; a situation further compounded by the fact that most marketers felt that agencies – upon whom they depended – also lacked the appropriate digital skills and execution know-how.
So it remains that finding the right people – either internally or externally – is a major hurdle. Digital is at the cutting-edge of marketing. Trying to understand a unique and diverse marketing channel such as digital requires time and commitment. Our findings show that those who have had a uniform positive experience tend to direct more of their budgets towards digital. To back that finding, smaller, younger companies (we define them as firms with less than 50 employees) are significantly more likely to use digital compared to medium or large firms. There is a generational gap at play here as well. The fact remains that a new generation of consumers – the ‘Y Gen’ and the ‘Millennials’ – do not use media in the same way that their parents did, and a new, younger generation of marketers know this. The MySpace generation watches YouTube, not cable TV. They chat on Instant Messenger, not email. If brand managers want to interact with them – and interact is the key word here because you cannot broadcast a message to this generation of consumers – then digital is a key component. On the other end of the spectrum are large, multinational organizations. Our survey suggests – perhaps not surprisingly – that larger budgets and in-house resource breed greater marketing experimentation – particularly in all areas digital. We found that companies in Asia with more than 50 marketing professionals (47% of the survey sample) are more likely to experiment with digital, while those with medium-size budgets and limited autonomy are less inclined to innovate and more inclined to stay in line with status quo marketing mediums.
Marketing In Cyberspace: Mitigating The Risks
Big dreams, hot money, Internet start-up, Internet boom and Internet bust. This is an industry that promises to deliver much but has a chequered past. No wonder many organizations are reluctant to invest.
The survey asks decision-makers why they had not devoted a bigger slice of their ad spend to digital. Many said they doubted the reliability of statistics and measurement metrics used by digital marketers, and questioned the effectiveness of digital marketing over traditional advertising media. Indeed, the metrics used in digital marketing are far from complete. A McKinsey & Company study from June 2008 found a trio of reasons to explain the problem of metrics on the Web; constantly evolving technologies, inconsistent ways of measuring share, and an industry reliance on media models that just do not apply to the Internet. They also found that marketers who effectively plan and understand what it is they are trying to do, and who
target a specific demographic, appears to be highly satisfied with the results of their campaigns. Experience, it seems, rules the day. Is it that seasoned “old media” marketers failed to understand that a range of metrics can be used to measure outcomes online? Is it possible that mature marketers failed to grasp that a TV-style ratings system does not apply online? And if there is a generational divide in Asia’s marketing community, do younger marketers feel that digital is more accountable, and ultimately more effective? In fact, our survey reveals a strong correlation between digitally well-versed marketers and their propensity to depend on Web and mobile channels.
Despite evidence to the contrary, old school marketers hold fast to the idea that traditional marketing offers a better brand impression or returnon- investment. This group holds to the belief that “consumers ignore online advertising”. When we consider that by some estimates, consumers are bombarded with between 245 to 3,000 commercial messages each day, such a position might seem reasonable. In reality, heavy users of Internet, email, mobile phones and other forms of interactive mediums are quite amendable to online advertising. Interactive messages, they say, can be intimate, relevant, and even entertaining. If well-conceived, an engaged consumer remains open to “brand” messages, and that means a higher probability of retention or conversion
Digital Talent In Short Supply
When asked why some marketers resisted the draw to digital, a range of reasons was given. “Most marketers are not equipped with the right skills,” said some. “Finding a good B2B digital agency,” was noted as cause for concern. Still others said: “Getting the right people” and “finding the right expert marketers” remained barriers to new digital investment.
Across the board, one of the greatest weaknesses the survey uncovered was the lack of creative digital skills in the market. Among the survey’s Experienced group, respondents agreed that creative talent was in short supply. They felt that the digital talent required was unlikely to be found within the Asia Pacific marketing community. In its absence, regional marketing organizations say they will continue to look to creative agencies and media buying organizations to provide them with the digital skills and know-how that they require. Indeed, our survey findings suggest a strong correlation between the strength of these vendor-marketer relationships and the subsequent degree to which marketers are inclined to invest in digital media, suggesting once again, that knowledge and trust in this emerging media leads to greater
investment and digital ad spend.
Make no mistake, digital marketing is on the rise. Even so, Asia Pacific marketers are holding back, largely due to:
- A general lack of understanding that prevents decision-makers from investing more
- Unease with metrics used to measure today’s digital campaigns
- A shortage of skills or lack of confidence sufficient to create successful digital marketing campaigns.
The key to all these problems is education. Marketers owe it to themselves and their brands to explore the diverse opportunities that digital provides. Research also shows that without support and patronage from an organization’s senior-most executives, digital investment lags.
The point is, like all things, consumer tastes, preferences, and advertising tolerance have changed. A new generation of consumers who gather news and entertainment via laptops and mobile phones, are less inclined toward TV ads that broadcast a myopic message, and are more inclined toward brands that seek consumer input and participation across a diverse array of mediums. For those who seize the challenges of interactive marketing, innovation and experimentation will remain the hallmarks of change. For laggards, the end of your marketing days may be at hand.
Thoughts from the Aha! Research team:
Market researchers have been measuring the impact of word-of-mouth for ages by asking consumers a simple question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand X or company Y] to your friends, family or colleagues?” We have always known that this is an important measure, but now in the era of Online Buzz, it may very well be the most important measurement tool you need to grow your brand.
“Buzzmeister” - the master of their domain
Ty Braswell, former V.P. New Media at Virgin Records who managed online campaigns for artists including Lenny Kravitz and Janet Jackson, says “Developing an online buzz requires capturing the attention of folks I call ‘Key Multipliers. Their social status is connected to finding something really cool and passing the buzz on to their friends. They find new stuff, bring it to their not-so-online friends, and this role as ‘buzzmeister’ keeps them popular in their peer group. They are defined by what they hunt.”
Buzzmeisters are masters of their domains, or fields of expertise. The ‘gadget guru’, the ‘travel teamster’, the ‘high-quality hunter’ and the ‘value finder’ all declare with pride and joy that “I love it – and so will you”. Online Buzz is digital word-of-mouth and it is flourishing in online social media.
Wikipedia defines Social Media as “...the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and ‘building’ of common meaning among communities, as people share their stories, and understandings.”
Word-of-mouth is no longer limited to gossip around the water-cooler or over the fence with neighbours. At the press of a button, Online Buzz via Social Media is global and brings with it both huge opportunities and major pitfalls for public relations, brand management, advertising and research professionals.
Bloggers are blogging and consumers are… advertising managers
A recent survey (May 2008) by Hong Kong-based Aha! Research and PR Consultancy firm, Text100, conducted among corporate news and technology bloggers across eight countries in Asia Pacific, found that 84% welcome information from PR firms and corporations. These bloggers prefer email and comments on their blog over other forms of contact. They want “opinionated responses by corporations to their blog posts“. It’s all about informal buzz rather than traditional marketing communications.
Informal online buzz can extend to consumers creating ads of their favoured or despised brands. These can generate a lot of media coverage for their innovation, creativity and audacity.
A recent California Management Review article, by Berthon P. et al, explores the factors that drive consumers to generate their own advertisements and the strategies available to companies to respond. The authors contend that the consumer is starting to run the show for marketers and the consequences are significant. Consumers are empowered with Online Buzz to make or break brands.
Good and bad Online Buzz
Happy consumers who truly own, nurture and promote a brand represent “good profits”. “Bad profits” are earned from customers who continue to purchase but who generate a negative and damaging buzz.
It is assumed that loyal customers keep purchasing a brand in the long term. Marketers have traditionally focused on loyalty and been satisfied with high scores of customer retention and continued purchasing as indicators. The problem is that various exit barriers such as price and marketing incentives may induce customers to continue purchasing even though they are unhappy with the brand. On the other hand, consumers who discontinue purchasing may not be unhappy with the brand but responding to other circumstances in their lives. Clearly, regular customers may not necessarily be solid drivers of growth.
If loyalty and customer retention are not good predictors of future growth or profitability what is?
A loyalist who is willing to put their own reputation on the line in recommending a brand to their friends, family and colleagues.
“Buzzmeisters” as “net brand promoters”
We need “promoters” who can drive positive buzz to take charge of our brands. Research by Reichheld FF, in the Harvard Business Review, shows a strong correlation between a brand’s growth rate and the percentage of its customers who are “promoters” of that brand. These “buzzmeisters” may be the most cost effective marketing managers for our brands.
Reichheld’s validated scale is a zero-to-ten semantic differential scale with “Extremely likely to recommend” at the one end and “Not at all likely to recommend” at the other end. Respondent answers are classified in the “promoters” of the brand, those who are “passively satisfied”, and those who are “detractors”. Subtracting the percentage of “detractors” from the “promoters” produces a “net promoter score”. It has been found that in most industries, this is the most important measurement and the one number you need to drive growth and profitability.
Calculating the one most important measure
Maintain a high level of reliability and reduce non-response bias by keeping your survey short and simple.
- Select a statistically valid sample of your customers, and ask them the all important question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand x or company y] to your friends, family or colleagues?”
- Subtract the percentage of “detractors” from the percentage of “promoters” to determine your “net promoter score”.
- Benchmark this score against your other brands, other branches, sales representatives, customer segments or whatever other factors make sense such as your competitors’ brands.
- Focus your marketing initiatives on improving your “net promoter score”.
Hong Kong (PRWEB) September 13, 2008 -- A survey conducted by Aha! Research has found that the 2008 Beijing Olympics official sponsors have enjoyed significant benefits as a result of their involvement. Sponsor brands were shown to have experienced higher brand recommendation and brand attitudes compared with non-sponsor brands.
According to estimates, each of the top 12 sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics spent about US$70 million to have their brand associated with this truly global event. Although watched by up to four billion people worldwide, it remains difficult for marketers to assess the impact of sponsorship on their business.
Measuring the effectiveness of sponsorship within the marketing mix has always been challenging, and as such its high costs can be difficult to justify. In this online survey conducted among 1,330 Chinese respondents randomly selected from an online consumer panel provided by GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.), Aha! Research employed the crucial measures of brand recommendation and brand attitude to assess the marketing effectiveness of the brands that sponsored the event against those that did not. Awareness of sponsorship is a strong determinant on the scores of both these measurements, which also underlines the value of so-called ambush marketing.
"This research is groundbreaking in terms of understanding the effect of sponsorship, consumer awareness of it, and the importance of the two critical measures of brand recommendation and brand attitude," explains Peter Steyn, managing director of Aha! Research based in Hong Kong. "Research in most industries has found that high levels of brand recommendation and positive attitudes toward a brand are the most effective measures in determining brand loyalty and predicting future growth and profitability. This survey found that not only sponsorship itself, but more importantly, sponsorship awareness (whether accurate or not), differentiates brands on these two crucial measurements. Both measures exert a significant influence on consumer decision-making, as people often simplify buying decisions by opting for familiar brands."
The survey covered 29 official Beijing Olympic sponsors and partner brands. Ranked on recognition of brand being an official sponsor, the top five were Coca Cola, China Mobile, Lenovo, Bank of China and PICC. Those sponsors that achieved less than 20 percent recognition included Manulife, Atos Origin, Johnson & Johnson and BHP Billiton. Among the 41 non-sponsor brands mentioned in the survey, those with high levels of incorrect brand sponsorship recognition were Li Ning (67 percent), China Life Insurance Company (54 percent), Nike (50 percent) and Sina (41 percent).
In the analysis of the survey data, 25 comparisons were made between a sponsor and a non-sponsoring competitor, for instance Air China compared to non-sponsor United Airlines, and Budweiser compared to non-sponsor Heineken. In all but 11 comparisons, the sponsor brand scored significantly higher on respondent's likelihood to recommend the brand to friends and family than the non-sponsor brands.
However, the survey data suggests that recognition of a brand being a sponsor is more crucial. All nine sponsor brands tested on brand recommendation showed a significantly higher score among respondents aware of their sponsorship than those who were not aware. This is also true for non-sponsor brands. Eleven of the 15 non-sponsor brands measured on brand recommendation also scored higher among those who incorrectly identified the non-sponsor brand as a sponsor. These findings clearly show the importance of sponsorship awareness among consumers.
The survey measured consumer attitude towards five brand sponsors - Air China, Bank of China, Tsingtao, Samsung and Adidas - against their five non-sponsor counterparts - United Airlines, ICBC, Heineken, Nokia and Nike. All sponsors, except Samsung and Adidas, scored significantly higher for brand attitude than their competitors. However, among all the sponsor brands, scores were significantly higher among respondents who correctly recognized the sponsor brand. Similarly, among the non-sponsor brands, scores were significantly higher among respondents who incorrectly identified the non-sponsor brand as a sponsor - except for Nokia.
As with the brand recommendation measure, the survey showed that where respondents correctly recognized a sponsor brand, or incorrectly identified non-sponsoring brands as sponsors, they had a more positive attitude towards the brand. Clearly for sponsoring brands, it is crucial to ensure high consumer awareness of their sponsorship to maximise their return on investment.
"Survey results suggest that the investment brands made in sponsoring the 2008 Beijing Olympics are possibly justified for most, but likely not all," concludes Steyn. "Millions of dollars were spent this year by the sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Our research indicates that most of these brands are enjoying improved recognition, attitudes towards their brand and brand recommendation. But there's a sting in the tail - it is not enough to be a sponsor - brands must take the initiative before, during, and after the event to communicate their leading role to consumers to make the most of the significant sums they have invested."
For further information, please contact:
Peter Steyn, Managing Director, Aha! Research
Brand recommendation may be the ultimate yardstick for measuring sponsorship effectiveness in the digital age
To justify these hefty investments, marketers and their agencies are spending great effort on evaluating the effectiveness of their sponsorship investments through brand visibility measurements such as brand awareness, brand recall, and brand recognition. Other measurements are also employed such as brand image transfers, purchase intent, and future financial performance analysis. However, the correlation between increased brand visibility and increased brand sales has been difficult to establish as extensive performance analysis is prohibitively complex. Visibility measurements are merely first-line measures of sponsorship impact and do not themselves serve to facilitate understanding of consumer engagement with sponsorship. Clearly, there is a need for a measurement tool that is easy to administer, analyze, interpret and most importantly, has a strong link between sponsorship investment and brand profitability.
In the digital age, marketers need to reconsider the applicability of traditional measurements of sponsorship effectiveness. They need to recognize the importance of online social media in building their brand equity. The power of word-of-mouth is amplified exponentially through online social media and gossip is no longer limited to groups “gathering around the water-cooler”. When a consumer makes a brand recommendation online, it has an immediate and global audience and carries the credibility of a non-commercial message. As a result, the consumer is increasingly taking control over the marketing communication function and the firm is no longer in exclusive control. Online word-of-mouth through consumer generated advertising, product review blogs, and other social media, can build or destroy brands in the wink of an eye.
For corporations as well as brands, online social media offer immense opportunities to build equity globally so building and monitoring positive brand recommendation through word-of-mouth should be an essential element of any brand strategy. Unquestionably, brand recommendation has never been so important to marketers.
Several studies have found that, in most industries and in most economic conditions, brand recommendation is a strong predictor of future growth and profitability. This necessitates that one of the primary communication objectives of marketers should be to increase the propensity for consumers to recommend their brand though word-of-mouth.
If brand recommendation is a significant driver of brand equity and is also strongly correlated to future brand growth and profitability, it may just be the ultimate yardstick for measuring sponsorship effectiveness.
A study conducted by Hong Kong based Aha! Research among Mainland Chinese consumers in the online panel of Global Market Insite (GMI), found that brand recommendation is a valid measurement of sponsorship effectiveness. Over the three days immediately following the closure of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a total of 1,330 online surveys were completed. The sample of online consumers surveyed was over the age of 18 and closely representative of China’s national online population.
This study found that brand sponsorship has a positive effect on both brand recommendation and attitude towards the brand. Claimed sponsorship (correctly or incorrectly recognizing a brand as an official sponsor) is critically important in achieving high levels of brand recommendation. Sponsors with a high level of claimed sponsorship, achieved a higher level of recommendation than sponsors with low levels of claimed sponsorship. Likewise, non-sponsor brands with a high level of claimed sponsorship also achieved high levels of brand recommendation, thus suggesting successful ambush marketing.
The findings clearly underscore the fact that the distinction between an official sponsor and a non-sponsor is critical.
Measuring brand recommendation in digital social media should be an essential element of measuring the effectiveness of sponsorship on future earnings. This does not only apply to measuring sponsorship effectiveness, but to all marketing activities.