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ARF Using Social Media to Transform Research

January 7, 2009

New York, NY – January 7, 2009

Marketers have been quick to begin using social media for marketing campaigns but the Advertising Research Foundation believes that the real payoff from social media will turn out to be new consumer insights that can be turned into innovation and better customer relationships.

This message will be delivered loud and clear by leading edge marketers at a one day conference in San Francisco on Jan 27, 2009, “Transform Your Research by Listening ... West Coast Edition”.

“In social media, people talk about their needs, lifestyles, and brand preferences in their own words, so we refer to this form of research as ‘listening’”, said Joel Rubinson, Chief Research Officer at the ARF.

“The ARF draws a distinction between the brand backyard and the consumer backyard”, Rubinson continued, noting that marketers hear different things in each environment. “The brand backyard refers to managed communities sponsored by the marketer, like Dell Idea Storm where customers can post ideas, have discussions with other owners in the community and get an early glimpse at what Dell is working on. The consumer backyard is not controlled by the marketer as it refers to social media like Twitter, Facebook, etc. It is particularly important to monitor social media to identify customer problems and threats to brand reputation as J&J found out when a recent Motrin advertising campaign had to be pulled because it generated negative comments on Twitter.”

Leading marketers, notably Procter and Gamble, Unilever, General Mills, Microsoft, Levi Strauss, Nielsen, and WPP have been working together as the core leadership team of the ARF’s new “Research Transformation” initiative to learn new ways to best bring humans and markets to life for their organizations. Demonstrating how to utilize social media for new insights to the industry is the first phase of this mission.

The past fall events on this topic were sellouts indicating the desire and need for knowledge on listening. The upcoming one-day conference, “Transform Your Research by Listening ... West Coast Edition”, on January 27th in San Francisco will highlight the tools used to mine insights and provide practical applications on social media. Industry leaders from P&G, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, Facebook, Charles Schwab, Clorox, HP, Intel, Crispin, Porter+Bogusky, Nielsen, Millward-Brown, Barack Obama’s pollster (Joel Benenson) and noted author Charlene Li (“Groundswell”) will share best practices that are impactful and influencing the field.

In the coming months, the ARF will continue to educate the industry on how to use social media via a “bootcamp”, the impact of using storytelling to bring research results to life, and additional knowledge on research transformation at its 55th Annual Convention + Expo on March 30 – April 1.

“The ultimate objective is nothing less than to transform the practice of research”, commented Bob Barocci, President and CEO of the ARF. “Leading marketers are working with us on this initiative because they agree that research is falling farther and farther behind the consumer and we need to overhaul tools, sources of data, and researcher skillset if we are going to provide value to the marketing organization. However, we need to do it right; we need to prove how social media can best be used to lead to trustworthy insights and inspire the marketing organization in new directions.”

Media Contact
Advertising Research Foundation 
Barry Schwartz
212-677-8700 Ext 18

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