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Two-Thirds of American New Media Users Feel They Can Influence Business Practices by Voicing Opinions Online

Yet they are more likely to act with their wallets than their voices

Submitted by: Cone Communications

Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Research, Reports & Publications

Posted: Oct 20, 2009 – 08:00 AM EST


BOSTON, Oct. 20 /CSRwire/ - Forty-four percent of American new media users are searching for, sharing or discussing information about corporate responsibility (CR) efforts and programs and are highly confident they can have an effect on business, according to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study.

Sixty-two percent of users polled believe they can influence business decisions by voicing opinions via new media channels. About a quarter have contributed their point-of-view on an issue (24%) or contacted a company directly (23%). A full 74 percent expect companies to join conversations about their corporate responsibility practices happening on new media.

Yet, new media users are even more likely to bypass dialogue for action:

  • 30 percent have made a purchase based on POSITIVE information learned about a product, company or brand; and,

  • 23 percent have switched brands or boycotted a company based on NEGATIVE information learned about a product, company or brand.

Consumers are most interested in information that will inform their purchasing decisions. Respondents said they want companies to tell them what is in products and how they are made (85%) and provide additional details about information, labels and claims shared offline (e.g., in the store, on the package, in an advertisement) (83%).

"Consumers are using new media channels to inform purchase decisions, yet are not always stopping to engage in dialogue," says Jonathan Yohannan, senior vice president of corporate responsibility at Cone. "There is an opportunity to engage them beyond information-seeking behavior to build a relationship that can be mutually beneficial for both consumers and companies."

Channel Disconnect
Overall, consumers show strong signs of empowerment, comfort and trust with corporate responsibility communications in new media. Three-quarters of new media users say it is an effective way to learn about CR efforts, 65 percent believe they know where to look for such information and 47 percent think companies are transparent and honest when talking about CR efforts through new media channels.

Consumers are relying largely on Web 1.0 channels such as Web sites (27%) and email (22%) to explore CR, indicating channels that foster a dialogue and deeper engagement - such as social networks (15%) and blogs (11%) - are being underutilized.

"Companies need to leverage traditional channels to drive people to places where conversations can happen in real-time," says Yohannan. "The value of engaging consumers and broader stakeholders in this way is to enhance reputation, build loyalty and even lead to business innovation."

The 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study is a three-part survey which explored new media users' interactions with brands, their support of social and environmental issues and their engagement with corporate responsibility practices. For additional findings, please visit or contact Andrea List (

About the survey:
The 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted September 11-13, 2009 by Opinion Research Corporation among a representative U.S. sample of 1,048 adults, comprising 503 men and 545 women 18 years of age and older. Respondents who indicated they never use new media sites or tools were filtered out of the survey, resulting in a sample size of 587 "new media users." The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is ± 5%.

About Cone:
Cone ( is a strategy and communications agency engaged in building brand trust. Cone creates stakeholder loyalty and long-term relationships through the development and execution of Cause Branding, Brand Marketing, Corporate Responsibility and Crisis Prevention and Management initiatives. Cone is a part of the Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC) ( Omnicom is a leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company.

For more information, please contact:

Andrea List Associate
Phone: 617-939-8418

For more from this organization:

Cone Communications


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