Experts: TV Creates Awareness, Web Influences Behavior
"In the studies we've done, traditional media is a great way to raise awareness," said panelist Steve Farella, the CEO of Targetcast TCM. "If you want to influence people, it's interactive and individual media."
But, said panelists, one of the major challenges online involves coping with the power consumers can wield over brand image. Panel moderator Steve Rubel, a public relations consultant with CooperKatz, cited the example of Federal Express, which came under fire after serving a cease-and-desist order to a blogger who had furnished his home using free FedEx boxes and chronicled the experience on his Web site.
Panelists cautioned that companies need to show restraint in handling such scenarios, to prevent them from ballooning into major public relations blow-ups. "A negative situation tackled with a cease-and-desist order will only create a more negative situation," said panelist Jason Heller, the managing director of Horizon Interactive.
Although consumers have always had the power to badmouth companies, the Web has given people a far broader reach than in the past, said panelist Leo Kivijarv, vice president, research director of PQ Media. "We've always had opinion leader research," he said. "The influentials, as the opinion leaders are now called, now have a bigger effect on brands, and brands are having to talk to them now."