Canadians follow the social crowd in brand choices

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on August 3, 2011

Canadians follow the social crowd in brand choices

For many years, brands and products have acknowledged the importance of being recommended by friends and family, but in the new world of social media there is transition that needs to be made from 'recommend' to 'like', according to a poll by Ipsos Loyalty.

Almost half (49%) of internet-using Canadians said that they are either strongly (5%) or somewhat (44%) influenced by brand or product recommendations by members of their social network. The influence of social network recommendations is significantly stronger for those aged 18-34 (56%) than for online Canadians aged 55+ (40%).

Within social networks, being "liked" or "promoted" is also critical, as four out of ten (41%) online Canadians are influenced when those in their social network "like" or "promote" a brand or product. Once again the influence of being "liked" is significantly higher for online Canadians aged 18-34 (46%) than for online Canadians aged 55+ (34%).

According to Dave Pierzchala, vice president for Ipsos Loyalty, "These results show that social networks influence impressions and ultimately the bottom line. For younger Canadians the importance of being 'liked' is the generational equivalent of being 'recommended' at a backyard barbeque."

At the same time, nearly half (48%) of online Canadians who use an online social network either "follow" or "like" at least one brand, with younger online Canadians being more apt to do so. Six in ten (59%) of younger online Canadians (18-34) follow as least one brand and they follow an average of five brands. At the other end of the age demographic, less than a third (30%) of older online Canadians (those 55 and over) follows a brand and on average they only follow one brand).

Not all online relationships last forever, however, as 28% of online Canadians said they have "unliked" or stopped following a brand or company in the past. Younger online Canadians are more fickle (41% have "unliked" a brand) than their older online counterparts (only 15% have "unliked" a brand). The main reason given for "unliking" brands was that the consumer "simply lost interest" (55%).

"Brands and products cannot assume that, once a consumer befriends their organisation, they will be friends for life. To be successful, organisations must work on their virtual relationships as hard as they work on their face-to-face ones," concluded Pierzchala.

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