Digital Readiness Survey from Zeno Group Finds Social Media to Be Corporate Reputation Blind Spot for Executives

 Digital Readiness Survey from Zeno Group Finds Social Media to Be Corporate
                     Reputation Blind Spot for Executives

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2012

Survey suggests more than one-third of CEOs ignore their company's social
media reputationwhen making important business decisions

NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Zeno Group, the
award-winning mid-size public relations agency, today released findings from
the Zeno Digital Readiness Survey, which reveals many executives fail to
consider social media reputation when making business decisions. In fact,
more than one-third of executives (36 percent) say that the CEO of their
company does not care or cares little about the company's reputation in social
media. In addition, while most organizations say they would take some action
to respond to an online crisis, at least 10 percent report their organizations
would not take any action at all to engage with audiences online to address a
damaging article or social media post.


The online survey polled 300 U.S. corporate executives, spanning a range of
industries and titles of VP or higher, includingC-suite executives, such as
CEOs, presidents and chairmen. Notably, over half of respondents described
their firms as primarily business-to-business (B2B) companies, and all
companies had annual revenues of at least $1 billion. 

From a sector view, the Zeno Digital Readiness Survey reveals a stark
difference between B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B companies in not only
executive attitudes toward social media, but also in their ability to respond
to an online challenge.

Specifically, the Zeno Digital Readiness Survey finds:

  oB2B companies lag their B2C counterparts when considering social media
    reputation. B2C-focused executives say their company's CEO frequently
    considers social media reputation in their decision-making, with 70
    percent indicating it's always or sometimes a factor, compared to 57
    percent of B2B executives. This leaves a significant number of B2B
    executives (43 percent) who indicate the CEO largely ignores their
    company's online reputation, compared to only 30 percent from the B2C
  oB2C companies are prepared to respond more quickly to online audiences in
    a crisis. 63 percent of B2C executives believe their firms could respond
    to a negative online post within 24 hours compared to only 45 percent of
    B2B executives.
  oB2B companies are less likely to engage online in a crisis. B2B
    executives are twice as likely to say that their firm would not engage an
    audience online at all to defend their reputation (13 percent, compared to
    6 percent of B2C executives).

The overall findings suggest social media is a "corporate reputation blind
spot," especially for B2B companies – a concerning notion considering social
media now accounts for almost a quarter of people's time spent online.[i] As
a result, companies that continue to ignore the online community or dismiss
its influence are putting their reputations at risk.

"Given the explosive growth of today's digital platforms, the Zeno Digital
Readiness Survey shows a much larger percentage of companies than one would
expect turning a blind eye to valuable customer views and insights," said Mark
Shadle, managing director of Zeno's Corporate practice. "These businesses,
regardless of sector, risk serious reputational damage, as well as miss out on
important stakeholder feedback, when they ignore social media conversations
about their companies and their industries."

Attitudes toward social media reputation also appear to differ by company
size. Executives in larger firms (with more than 10,000 employees) are more
likely to say their CEO always or sometimes considers their company's social
media reputation, as compared to those at companies with less than 10,000
employees (71 percent versus 55 percent, respectively). Among smaller firms,
the tendency to ignore social media reputation is even more pronounced; 45
percent indicate it is rarely or never considered in decision-making, compared
to 29 percent of larger firms.

Similarly, when looking at company size by revenue, larger firms are also more
likely to respond quickly to a damaging issue online, with a majority of the
largest firms (with revenue of $10 billion or more) saying they could react
within 24 hours(63 percent), in contrast to 42 percent of smaller firms (less
than $5 billion in revenue).

"In these results, we see too many organizations that are still not ready to
use social media to their advantage, either to advance their reputations or
defend them," added Shadle. "Maintaining a positive social media reputation
is no longer an optional communications strategy, but instead is a business
imperative to be embraced by the entire organization, all the way up to the
CEO's office."

About the Survey

The Zeno Digital Readiness Survey was conducted online within the United
States by Harris Interactive betweenOctober 4-11, 2012 among 300 corporate
executives at companies with revenue of $1 billion or more. No estimates of
theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Zeno Group

Believers in the fearless pursuit of the unexpected, the award-winning Zeno
Group operates as one firm across elevenfull-service offices in New York,
Chicago, Santa Monica, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Toronto, London,Beijing,
Delhi, Jakarta, Singapore, and three satellite offices in Amsterdam, Sao Paolo
and Tokyo. Zeno is the 2011 and 2012 winner of the PR Week US Mid-Size Agency
of the Year and 2011 Holmes Report US Creative Agency of the Year. The firm's
practice areas include consumer, health, technology and corporate, all
supported by planning, digital engagement and media. Clients include:
AstraZeneca, Bacardi, Bausch & Lomb, Brocade, DreamWorks Animation, Emirates,
Facebook, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Kia Motors America, Life
Technologies, Lipton, Micron Technology, Inc., Nature's Path, Oak Investment
Partners, Office Depot, Q -Cells, Pizza Hut, RIM, Sears, Seattle's Best Coffee
and VeriFone. Zeno Group is a member of the Daniel J Edelman Company. Please
visit us at, like us on Facebook or follow us @zenogroup.

Mark O'Connor
Zeno Group
212-299-8960 (O)
203-246-9534 (M)

[i] "State of the Media: The Social Media Report, Q3 2011," The Nielsen
Company, September 2011

SOURCE Zeno Group

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