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RISMEDIA, June 27, 2008-Fifty-five percent of consumers want an ongoing dialogue with brands, according to a recent survey conducted by ExpoTV, exploring how direct consumer engagement creates brand advocacy. The survey also revealed that positive brand experiences can generate word-of-mouth buzz: more than 60% of those polled said they tell 10 or more people about the products they like while a third tell 20 or more people.

This survey, administered to the consumers which make up the ExpoTV community, explored the growing desire consumers have to talk to brands. The willingness of a company to engage with consumers directly impacts loyalty and can even lead to increased purchase intent. In fact, 89% of respondents would feel more loyal to brands which invited them to participate in a feedback group, and 92% of those who have a positive experience communicating with a brand will recommend purchasing a product from that brand to someone they know. This data suggests that the key to empowering loyal consumers is through direct engagement and ongoing dialogue.

“We found that not only are consumers ready and willing to communicate with brands that they are familiar with, but they also want to communicate with brands that are new or unfamiliar to them,” said Dave Rubinstein, ExpoTV’s vice president of brand engagement. “This is especially encouraging for smaller brands which are just starting out, or for those that are expanding into product categories for which they are lesser known.”

While consumers are interested in engaging in a dialogue with brands around customer support and pricing, the survey showed that they are most interested in discussing product design. Nearly 50% stated that they would be interested in knowing what new products are coming out and expressed a desire to share their ideas on new products and services. Survey respondents were also interested in communicating about brands’ efforts to improve existing products and share positive experiences.

“What we’re finding across the board is that consumers are very eager to engage with brands and to share their opinions and experience in a constructive way,” said Rubinstein. “These are the individuals that marketers should be targeting because of their knowledge, enthusiasm and influence. Embracing them is the key to harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing and ultimately driving brand loyalty.”

Topping the list of consumer electronics brands consumers want to talk to are Sony, Apple and Microsoft and for consumer packaged goods participants list Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Pepsi as the top brands they are interested in communicating with. These same consumers are open to engaging with competitive brands if their first choice is not interested in hearing what they have to say. In fact, 93% of consumers surveyed would be interested or very interested in communicating with competitive brands that expressed interest in their feedback.

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