Monday, June 13, 2011

Report: Why passion is important for brands

SAY Media, in collaboration with comScore and TRU, have announced the findings of its “Guided by Voices” research study aimed at understanding the motivations and influence of “Passionate Voices” and their followers. Passionate Voices are defined as independent content creators who use blogs, Twitter or other digital means to produce content, build audience and shape opinion around the things they love.
According to the study, followers of Passionate Voices represent a very attractive consumer segment for marketers: they are younger (average age of 35 vs. 41 among rest of internet), more affluent (median HHI $62K vs. $51K), and more connected (580 members in their personal/professional network vs. 340). They are also highly influential, showing early adopter behavior (69% are the first to try new products vs. 45%) and actively seek opportunities to tell family and friends about new brands and products (74% go out of their way to recommend products vs. 60%).
“New technologies have enabled passionate people to create and distribute content around their key areas of interest and expertise,” said Matt Rosenberg, vice president, solutions. “As these people collectively reach more of the online audience, consumers’ expectations of media are changing.  This is an affluent, connected, influential group, and they are putting more faith in these Passionate Voices as opposed to traditional media outlets.  Marketers need to take notice and explore opportunities to work with these independent creators.”
Furthermore, followers of Passionate Voices take action based on the content they consume. Similar to the recommendations of a friend or family member, Passionate Voices are a source of active inspiration for their audience. Forty-percent of the followers of a Passionate Voice told a friend about something they learned, 29% emailed an article, 19% made a purchase, and 15% completed a project, such as trying a recipe. Due to their propensity to take action and because of their large networks, followers of Passionate Voices have the power to amplify and give scale to content or to a brand’s message.
The ability consumers have to proliferate content and brand messaging beyond the initial audience is not lost on these Passionate Voices, who understand how to provide value to their audiences. As Julie Carlson, founder and editor of Remodelista, put it, “We’ll never run a product or do a feature on anything we wouldn’t live with in our own home. For us, it’s very personal. If we think somebody has a great product, we’ll work with them to find a solution that appeals to our readers and inspires someone to click through.”
In addition, results from this study found that followers of Passionate Voices believe ads across these sites are more interesting (58% vs. 51%), relevant (62% vs. 51%), memorable (52% vs. 45%) and trustworthy (52% vs. 41%) than ads on traditional media sites. This perception provides marketers with an opportunity to connect with these audiences by building advertising programs that integrate seamlessly with the point of view and message of the creator.
“Advertising on passion media sites is not just about making money and creating impact for an advertiser,” says Mike Masnick, founder and CEO of Techdirt. “It really has to make sense for the community as well. SAY Media understands this and it’s one of the reasons why I chose to partner with them.”
Additional Research Findings:
  • On average, consumers who characterize themselves as “very interested” in a specific category follow approximately 10 individual voices related to their passion.
  • Followers of Passionate Voices speak their minds (83% often tell family and friends about products that interest them vs. 73% for the rest of the internet) and consider themselves social and well connected (71% self-identified as social and well connected vs. 56%).
  • They use social tools extensively to share with their large networks (35% more likely to use Facebook on a daily basis, 4x more likely to use Twitter, LinkedIn and/or foursquare daily).
  • Not only are followers of Passionate Voices consuming content from multiple voices, they consume it wherever it is distributed, whether that be on a web site (70%), via en email newsletter (33%) or using social tools like Twitter (23%) or Facebook (12%).