Retail, web 2.0 and sustainability:an analysis

A recent Zumer and Sustainable Life Media research is helping medium to small size retailers to better understand what is the connection among sustainability, consumers and web 2.0 tools.

The survey analizes the behaviour of 50 of the biggest companies leader in sustainability, at a worlwide level. Names such as Chevron, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Campbell’s Soup, Microsoft, Toyota, Starbucks appear in the list of the companies whose online conduct on the three top social media, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube was analyzed for six weeks between December 2010 and January 2011.

We have found three key points that can be summerized as follows:

1. Authenticity: sustainability must permeate the whole company and must involve the company’s stakeholders so that ensure an authentic online communication, a more effective management of external reputation and brand perception. This is perfectly in line with the Cone research we have posted a while ago: consumers DO PUNISH not authentic communication about sustainability.

2. Sustainability helps acquiring new market share: almost three quarters of the professional interviewed stated that sustainability-themed social media are the channels to be in in order to get the attention of new market segment and reinforce the company’s position in the more traditional ones

3.Mix platforms to get the best results: although Facebook is still the most favourite platform among the big 50 companies in the survey, with investments rising in 2011 too. Tweeting about sustainability is becoming very common too -investments will double by 2015, as well as are CSR dedicated company’s websites, while YouTube actions are still fragmented. Blogging about sustainability might be a very powerful tool, not yet fully implemented by companies (1-2% of total blog posts).

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