Welcome!

Welcome to the digital presence and blog for FEED: The 2009 Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Report.

As you may or may not know, FEED is Razorfish’s annual consumer behavior report that traditionally charts how consumers are adopting new internet technologies and digital services. This year we changed tack and focused our efforts on understanding how digital is changing the way that consumers interact with brands.

What did we find out? Experience matters. A lot. So much so that experiences are becoming the new advertising or marketing. And these experiences are having an inordinate amount of impact on how consumers perceive a brand and ultimately purchase products. Moreover, we also found that consumers are actively engaged with brands across the entire digital spectrum. Consumers may be in control but so are brands which are so deeply embedded in the culture that consumers can’t imagine not making them a part of their world — on Facebook, Twitter or even their own blogs.

Here, at feed.razorfish.com, you will find our report in glorious HTML, plus a new FEED blog that I will be writing on a much more frequent basis (great comfort to those of you who followed my musings on the now retired Digital Design Blog, I’m sure). The sections of the blog correspond to this year’s report and include a PDF for download, a pack of charts for download and a link to Blurb in case you would like a professionally printed version of the study.

In the spirit of Stewart Brand, who famously proclaimed that “information wants to be free,” we are including the full data set, including charts, from our study for your review and use. Of course we should also add that Brand also said—less famously—that “information wants to be expensive.” Given that, please use freely but attribute appropriately. We hope you find it useful and look forward to carrying on the conversation both here and on Twitter with the hashtags #FEED09.

Looking forward to it!

@gschmitt

14 Responses to “Welcome!”

  1. Bob says:

    These reports are always chock full of invaluable information and beautiful design. Good work Razorfish team! Glad to see that you are also offering a printed copy via Blurb this year as well.

    Bob
    @onehalfamazing
    http://www.onehalfamazing.com

  2. Outstanding report – great job pulling all of this together! The piece that resonated with me most was the area of consumers looking for deals online. It seems obvious to me – offer up something special or unique through social channels – could be discounts, limited edition merchandise, or even just valuable, timely info. If we provide something that our customers can’t get anywhere else, our social efforts will be appreciated much more by the community.

    Thanks for the great work on this! Oh, and I’m following you now on Twitter too. :)

  3. Neil Cohen says:

    Excellent report. Engagement has always been a goal of marketing, but the dramatic changes in media usage and technology have redefined what engagement means. Adapt and master or perish.

  4. Walter Pike says:

    Thank you. The results appear intuitively correct, so that’s great.

    I wonder how they would apply in developing markets especially markets in which the main way of connecting to the net is via mobile phone, not necessarily by smart phone either.

    The approach to branding – is a focus on the customer experience instead of trying to tell people what the brand is more and more the brand needs to deliver its promise.

  5. Lisa Tweedie says:

    Hi

    Really enjoyed this report there are some interesting points and I liked the way you chose to look at early adopters. They should certainly give us hints about where we are headed with this. However I think it is a pretty big jump to say that this is now mainstream behaviour.

    You didn’t really explain what leads you to make this claim? Can you justify it?

    Lisa

  6. This is interesting…. but it all depends on your sample selection, 64% of Geeks okay…. but not my mother, I am sure.

    I agree with Lisa, after reading your report I wonder… mainstraim behavior…. where have you been in a cacoon? I understand you want to sell but hype gives research a bad name, does it not?

    So do your own brand a favor and get more humble will you please.

    Urs
    @ComMetrics

  7. blocshop says:

    Fuel for all agencies and brand folks! Thank you, Razorfish!

  8. Garrick Schmitt says:

    Thank you all for the kind words. Love putting this together every year — and there’s always something fresh to find. The role of offers/deals in social media this year was a big one, as was the impact of digital brand experiences on consumers’ brand affinity and purchasing.

    As for the questions/comments from Urs and Lisa, the reason that we believe that “Connected Consumers” are the new mainstream is because our data correlates nicely to the work of Forrester, Pew, eMarketer and a number of others — though our sample size is not nearly as extensive.

    I highly recommend “The Broad Reach Of Social Technology” from Forrester’s Sean Corcoran http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/0,7211,55132,00.html as just one data point. And Forrester’s “The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2009, US” http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/0,7211,54959,00.html as another.

    Thanks again for all of the thoughtful comments.

  9. Jacob Wright says:

    Hmmm I think you need to revise your ideas about the mainstream. You state that “connected consumers” spend around $150 per month online. Yet the national US average online spend this year is usually estimated between $70-90 in a variety of other reports. This makes your sample significantly more active online than the mainstream.

    Additionally, while the data is interesting, I’d have to take issue with the writing of the report. There is no evidence in this data for claims like:

    “Our findings lead us to believe that marketers need to dramatically rethink their future strategies, shifting the majority of their efforts toward actively engaging consumers”

    or

    “According to our study, the overwhelming majority of consumers who actively engage with a brand (e.g., follow a brand on Twitter or enter a contest) can evolve from passive reactors to advocates almost instantaneously.”

    There is no way you can make the latter statement unless you measured the people’s brand affinity before and after the interaction, which you did not. This is confusing causality with correlation. It’s particularly unfortunate to make this claim given that your own data shows that 1/3 of people following a brand do so because they already buy that brand.

    tl;dr summary – some nice data, very misleading report

  10. Garrick Schmitt says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful critique, Jacob. Always appreciated. Per your first point, our spending requirement was actually much lower than you have stated: it’s $150 online over the past 6 months. As for conclusions, we are always open to differing opinions. Thanks again for the close read.

  11. Jacob Wright says:

    Fair enough! In that case I retract the first criticism, but stand by the second one…

  12. Garrick Schmitt says:

    Sorry I missed the second part of your comment, Jacob. Per the sentence you quoted: “the overwhelming majority of consumers who actively engage with a brand (e.g., follow a brand on Twitter or enter a contest) can evolve from passive reactors to advocates almost instantaneously”

    I want to stress the word “can” — this statement was never intended to be definitive. Rather, I wanted to point out (and, yes, stress) how immediate the medium can be in regard to consumer experience *and* how unique digital is where a consumer can move from awareness (e.g. clicking on a banner) through consideration to purchase (e.g via paypal) and then become either an advocate or the inverse. My intent was discuss the impact of digital’s immediacy, or velocity, on the traditional marketing funnel. Sorry for any confusion.

  13. Lisa Tweedie says:

    Thanks for your response Garrick. Sadly I don’t have the spare cash to buy the Forrester reports (-;

    I do follow all the freely available stats and reports though and I really would be fascinated if there was solid evidence for these effects you have found in the early adopters being taken up by the majority!

    In the report you mention widescale uptake of broadband as being an indicator – here in the uk we have huge uptake of mobile – most peoples grannies can text now! But often the folk that can text have no idea how to use the internet. They are certainly not “personalizing their experiences everywhere they go”. Your average punter is very unlikely to have behaviour like the readers of your report because they will be a very different segment of the population in terms of education and aspiration! I am very wary of making sweeping generalizations when it comes to technology adoption!

    Having said that the spirit of your report is correct. I do agree that we are probably wildly underestimating how fast change could happen. Especially when people start getting the next generation of mobile phones.

    And we do need to prove this with valid data – so that companies and governments start taking it seriously. I stand by my intial point your data is a fabulous indicator for where we are going but it doesn’t show that this is mainstream activity YET!

    Thanks again
    Lisa Tweedie

    @lisatw

  14. Marci Ikeler says:

    First of all, fantastic report. Excellent content, well written, and beautifully designed.

    I have a question following up on that of some of the other commenters. While it makes sense that the “connected consumers” will become the mainstream in coming years, what percentage would you say they make up of the overall population right now?

    Thanks, and again, great job,

    Marci Ikeler

    @marciikeler