New Report Highlights Importance of Social Media for Global Players

By Berghind Joseph, PRNE
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

LONDON, June 8, 2011 -

Social media are increasingly being used by leading international
businesses to enter into dialogue with their critics as well as their
supporters, according to a new report produced by corporate communications
practice BergHind Joseph. The report, 'Building reputations: How global
companies are using the web to talk (and listen) to the world' is released
this week and highlights online developments in three areas critical to
businesses wanting to be seen as true Global Players - dialogue, innovation
and the creation of social value.

BergHind Joseph reviewed the corporate websites of the top 100 companies
in the Fortune Global 500 to identify how the largest, best-resourced
companies are using the web to communicate with their increasingly critical
and demanding world-wide audiences. The study found evidence of global
companies' willingness to break with the traditional 'command and control'
approach to corporate communication and become more open to dialogue through
social media and other online channels.

Roger Burgess, Knowledge Director of BergHindJoseph says, "Social media
and the internet have levelled the playing field for people who are critical
of corporate policies and behaviour. Anyone who can operate a keyboard can
now gain worldwide attention for their views, leaving companies with a
choice: do they engage and put their own views forward alongside those of the
critics, or do they leave the field to their adversaries? We were surprised
to find that - although they are still in a minority - many global companies
are opening up to online dialogue."

The consultancy found that a significant number of corporate websites now
contain links to 'official' social media channels. In mid-March 2011, the
count was: Facebook pages - 28%, Twitter - 28%, YouTube - 20%, Flickr - 8%,
LinkedIn - 6%. Many companies also operate micro-sites containing blogs and
social media links, and there are long-standing online communities on some sites sites - most of them operated by US technology companies such
as IBM, HP and Verizon.

BergHind Joseph's study also explored global companies' use of corporate
websites to position them as innovators or thought leaders, and as creators
of social value, as well as financial value and product benefits. Global
Players are using their websites to show how they are addressing global
challenges that concern people around the world, such as climate change,
ageing populations and urbanisation. Some, including Nestle, Unilever and GE,
are adopting a more business-led approach to social and environmental issues,
seeing corporate responsibility as a business opportunity instead of a moral
obligation or reputational insurance-policy.

Ian Brownhill, BergHind Joseph's Managing Director adds, "True global
leaders are using their websites as communication channels which allow them
to build reputation and engage in the worldwide battle of ideas. The old
model of the corporate website as the place you go to download PDFs is dead.
The new generation of corporate websites is more dynamic and immediate - a
place you can find out what companies are doing and thinking, and talk back
to them if you have something to say."

    For further information please contact:

    Nick Bowman
    T: +44(0)20-3117-0000
    F: +44(0)20-3117-0041


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