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With brand awareness cited as their primary brand-management goal in 2010, most corporate brand executives say online communications and traditional public relations—not social media—are still the most effective channels to reach their audiences, according to a survey from MiresBall and KRC Research.

Over two-thirds of surveyed brand execs (68%) say online communications—including their own corporate websites—are the most valuable vehicles for generating awareness and brand loyalty among consumers.

Below, other findings from the 2010 State of the Brand Report, based on interviews with 189 US corporate brand executives.

Social media is helping marketers find new customers: 52% of brand execs say social media provides an opportunity to reach customers previously unreachable.

But opinions are split on the marketing effect of social media: 35% say social media is making it easier to create customer loyalty, and nearly as many (30%) disagree that building customer loyalty has become easier because of social networking.

Challenges Posed by Social Media

Brand execs are also split on the challenges posed by social media: 40% agree social media creates new challenges for protecting a brand's integrity, and 37% disagree.

At the same time, 41% of brand execs say the effect of social media is not serious enough to lead to a change in brand strategy, whereas 44% say social media has prompted them to change brand strategies.

Though many brand leaders are still struggling with social media, 80% say they expect to use social media in their brand-building activities within the next two years.

Looking for real, hard data that can help you match social media tools and tactics to your marketing goals? The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs, gives you the inside scoop on how 5,140 marketing pros are using social media to create winning campaigns, measure ROI, and reach audiences in new and exciting ways.

Impact of Economic Downturn

The economic environment has affected brand leaders' priorities. Pricing pressures is cited as the top challenge for brands in 2010, followed by brand awareness, the rise of strong competitors, and changes in customer demographics.

Meanwhile, 48% of brand execs say the economic downturn has made it more difficult to create brand loyalty, but 35% have used the downturn to their advantage.

Brand-awareness building continues to be the main goal for brand execs: 40% say it is in 2010, compared with 33% who said so in 2007.  

About the data: Conducted by KRC Research for MiresBall, findings are from the 2010 State of the Brand Report, which polled 189 company owners, senior executives, and brand managers from Oct. 15 to Nov. 30, 2009. Participants were from companies with revenues ranging from $10 million or less a year (37%) to more than $1 billion annually (22%).

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