Journalists in Ogilvy study say they trust earned media most to drive brand reputation

by | Jul 1, 2019 | Public Relations

Media coverage has always been PR’s best tool for earning reputation-boosting credibility for clients, and new research announced at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity affirms that even journalists themselves believe earned media is the top reputation driver for brands and businesses.

The findings of the2019 Global Media Influence Surveyfrom comms giant Ogilvy reveal that corporate announcements such as financial reporting, CSR initiatives and strategic business decisions are most influential in shaping earned media coverage and driving brand reputation worldwide. The survey of more than 300 journalists found that these tactics in isolation significantly outweigh the power of third-party endorsements such as social media influencers, highlighting the continued importance of sound earned strategies in an increasingly diversified media landscape.

Twitter is the social media platform that most often informs reporters’ coverage

Twitter ranked first in the survey by an average of 48 percent of reporters worldwide compared to 29 percent of those who cited Facebook or Instagram.

“We continually see brands looking for ways to break through in a media landscape that is constantly in motion and increasingly noisy, but once again we see that earned media is at the core of establishing longstanding, trusted reputation,” said Tara Mullins, senior vice president of Ogilvy’s Media Influence offering, in a news release. “What’s interesting this year is that on average, earned coverage appears to live longest on Twitter, likely due to Twitter’s ability to compile major headlines of the day and streamlining the discovery process with users never having to leave the platform.”

An overwhelming majority of journalists (89 percent) research past coverage in their reporting

This is a good reminder that both positive and negative stories live forever online, emphasizing the lasting impact of earned media strategies. To that end, a plurality of reporters (46 percent) believe a balanced combination of earned, owned and paid media is necessary to successfully manage corporate reputation and influence their coverage. An average of only 10 percent of journalists worldwide cited third-party social media influencers alone as the most impactful contributor to brand reputation.

Additional key findings include:

In North America, EMEA and Latin America, Twitter is the platform that most often informs reporters’ coverage

In Asia Pacific (APAC), Facebook and its Instagram platform are the most impactful (41 percent), followed by WhatsApp (34 percent) with Twitter a distant third at 20 percent.

Overall, Facebook ranks second to Twitter in social media influence worldwide (29 percent to 48 percent, respectively)

WhatsApp ranks third overall with an average of 17 percent.

Snapchat is the social media platform least likely to inform coverage, trailing not only Twitter and Facebook but also WhatsApp, WeChat, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

Latin American journalists consider government policies and regulations more influential on coverage (71percent), ranking social media dead last among influencing factors

Latin American journalists are also more likely to consider industry developments such as stock market performance in their coverage of brands and companies.

North American journalists are more circumspect toward the influence their coverage has on a company or brand’s reputation

A majority of North American reporters believe their coverage has only “Some” impact on shaping reputation (61 percent), while their counterparts in APAC, EMEA and Latin America all say they have “A lot” of influence (53 percent, 61 percent and 79 percent, respectively).

Now in its sixth year, Ogilvy’s Global Media Influence Survey has quickly become an indispensable industry resource, surveying hundreds of reporters and editors around the globe from 22 offices across North America, EMEA, APAC and, for the first time, Latin America.

Ogilvy’s Media Influence team fielded a six-question survey of 311 news media professionals across the North America, Asia Pacific, Latin American and EMEA regions. The survey assessed new strategies for an increasingly digital world and focused on the sentiments of reporters, editors and producers who cover a vast range of topics, including national news, business and financial news, law and human resources news, as well as consumer trends, technology, entertainment, politics, healthcare, travel and multiethnic communities. The survey was conducted in April 2019 via phone and email by Ogilvy’s Media Influence staff members based in 22 offices across the globe.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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