“People don’t trust big companies, they do trust their friends”

This quote comes from Jim Farley, Group VP of Marketing at Ford, who this year moved 25% of his marketing budget out of traditional media and into digital marketing and social media.  According to Jim, when new products like the Ford Fiesta are pivotal to company growth,  “the company must rely on others to tell the story.”  That’s Jim’s company on the left and his constituents on the right.  Who would you believe?  For Ann Handley’s full interview with Jim, go to  http://ow.ly/1n3g9O

In a related move,  Pepsi, for the first time in 23 years, will not have any commercials in the Super Bowl. Instead, the company is spending $20 million on a social media campaign called, The Pepsi Refresh Project, where users give ideas to Pepsi for ways to refresh their communities.

It’s a coincidence there are so many numbers in the 20’s in the first two paragraph, but there’s nothing coincidental about the facts that:

  • 90% of all purchase decisions begin online
  • 75% of people shop online before they buy offline
  • 85% are looking for an independent review
  • They have an average of 130 friends on Facebook; an average of 127 followers on Twitter (again, just a coincidence the number are so close) I think 🙂
  • Positive perceptions of a company increase by 36% if there’s a blog on their website
  • 14% of people trust advertising
  • Only 18% of TV ad campaign ever generate a positive return on investment and Pepsi spent over 142,000,000 on Super Bowl ads over the last decade

Now I think Pepsi’s Super Bowl commercials are some of the most iconic advertising, ever, and believe their effectiveness was probably much greater than average.  I’m sorry and sad to see them exit the Super Bowl, altogether.

But, for those 86% who don’t trust advertising, now they’ll hear about Pepsi from who they do trust, their friends.

Remember that Google Trends chart 2 posts down on Jan. 4 (see below).  Well, do you think the year is off to an interesting start?  Would you agree with these companies decisions?


2 Responses to ““People don’t trust big companies, they do trust their friends””

  1. January 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Timely and well-written post. Last night I saw 2012 at the theater, and on the way I saw a car in the parking lot. It caught my eye, as at first glance I thought “BMW”. I looked until it parked and checked it out – a Ford Taurus. Surprising, as those old cars had a terrible reputation. Makes me hopeful that perhaps Ford is starting to get it right.

    one can hope.

    But you can bet I will be checking consumer reviews before ever buying one.

    • 2 robpetersen
      January 17, 2010 at 4:03 pm

      Appreciate this input, Jim, especially for a brand with fences to mend, and the willingness to give them a second chance. Thanks. Rob

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