The research has sampled 1,500 respondents across seven countries and has found “dramatic changes” in the consumer-brand engagement model driven by social media.
The research shows that consumers are becoming less tolerant, don’t like dishonesty and are more likely to switch brands. They are also more likely to share a bad customer experience with peers.
Of those polled, 43% of respondents have actually stopped using a company/product in the last 12 months due to a bad experience and 86% of respondents claim they would do so if the situation arose.
61% of respondents have told someone about a negative experience in the last 12 months and 13% posted an online review. 8% mentioned it on a social media site and 24% claim they would be likely to.
The majority of respondents claim that they are more likely to pass on a negative experience vs. positive (31% versus 4% with 66% saying no difference).
The importance of word of mouth is strengthened by the findings – 49% of respondents claim they are now more likely to tell others about experiences compared to three years ago, with only 2% saying they are less likely.
68% of respondents have become brand advocates on the basis of an experience in the last 12 months, with 86% claiming they would do so.
Most worryingly, negative experiences are over seven times more likely to be repeated through social media than positive experiences.
The research identifies a tribe of “Influencers” who are regular users of social media and comfortable with being an influencer and passing on their brand experiences to others.
Interestingly, these Influencers are actually more affected by advertising than other respondents and less impacted by the experiences of others. They base “significantly more” of their own new purchase decisions on advertising and significantly less on the experiences of others.
CMO Club president Jeffrey Merrihue says: “We’re working with Nunwood across Europe to get a deeper and broader insight into the web-revolutionised consumer world and its impact on brands.
“We want CMOs to share best practice internationally, based on measured outcomes – both good and bad. Social media has changed the traditional marketing landscape forever and marketers continue to enjoy a mix of phenomenal success and unmitigated disaster. We want our members to understand how their customers are using the various channels, how they react to brand communications, what attracts and inspires them and what bores and irritates.”
James Walker, chief strategy and corporate development officer at Nunwood adds: “We’re working towards a new model of consumer-brand engagement. The risks of a negative customer experience have been accelerated and amplified by social media. We’ve moved from a world of brand-centricity to a world of consumer-centricity where consumer, brand, experience and market sentiment are all interwoven.”
However, Molly Flatt, of word of mouth agency 1000heads, says:” It’s important to move the conversation with brands about WOM beyond the why and onto the how. These findings simply reiterate what has become something of a truism in marketing, and there are now many sophisticated approaches and case studies underway around how to action these insights. For example, the very term ‘influencer’ is now fiercely debated; companies may find it more powerful to engage passionate, relevant advocates who are authoritative in specific communities, rather than generic opinion leaders chosen simply because of their reach. Moreover, the study is very focused on online WOM, whereas a truly social approach must look to insights from our offline behaviour and WOM triggers too – real life is still where we talk the most. This is an interesting start – but will it bring anything new to an already established industry?”
The full research model will be unveiled at the Cannes Advertising Festival at the end of June, with previews at CMO Club events over the next two months.