Corporate Eye

Negative Brand Buzz Gains Influence in Consumer Buying Decisions

Data from the 2011 Cone Online Influence Trend Tracker research report from August 2011 provides further evidence that online brand buzz (both positive brand buzz and negative brand buzz) directly influences consumer buying decisions.

According to the study, 87% of respondents (up from 80% in 2010) stated that positive information they read online has reinforced their decision to buy a product or service that was recommended to them. An even bigger jump between 2010 and 2011 was seen in how negative buzz affects consumer buying decisions. In 2011, 80% of respondents (up from 68% in 2010) stated that negative information they read online has made them change their minds about purchasing a product or service that was recommended to them.

Furthermore, the Cone study revealed that consumers spend more time researching products and services online prior to making a purchase decision than they did in previous years. In fact, almost every reason why consumers go online before making a buying decision increased by approximately 10 percentage points! Check out the percentage of respondents who indicated the reasons why they conduct research before deciding what to purchase below:

  • Research product or service information: 69% (up from 61% in 2010)
  • Search for consumer or user reviews: 64% (up from 55% in 2010)
  • Search for the product or service on ratings websites such as Consumer Reports, Yelp, and Angie’s List: 50% (up from 43% in 2010)
  • Search for opinions from product or service experts: 43% (up from 38% in 2010)
  • Read articles or blog posts about the product or service: 42% (up from 28% in 2010)
  • Solicit opinions from their social networks: 12% (up from 10% in 2010)

As the numbers above show, the biggest jump in where consumers go to get information prior to making a buying decision came from reading articles or blog posts about the product or service which increased by 14 percentage points between 2010 and 2011. It’s a perfect example of why content marketing is so important to brands and why you need to be taking time to publish amazing content and to promote great content (and content related to your business) published by other people.

Of course, with online brand buzz comes negative publicity, too, but as the Cone report indicates, you can’t operate successfully by simply pretending online negative buzz doesn’t matter or by not publishing content at all. Follow the 3 Fs of brand reputation management, so you know how and when to successfully respond to and manage negative brand buzz.

Image: ugaldew

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.