CMO Council Study Measures Increasing Security Concerns Across Customers, Corporate Executives, Marketers and Media, but Finds Companies Too Slow in Adopting Best Practices for Crisis Containment and
PALO ALTO, Calif. (September 18, 2006) — Marketing executives are failing to keep pace with the financial, customer and brand implications of information security in the digital age, according to the latest findings of a major research initiative by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. With customer sensitivity, media scrutiny and public awareness about security escalating in every sector of the economy, companies must do more to develop contingency plans and brand strategies to address both the risks and opportunities associated with security, the study warns.
The research initiative, entitled Secure the Trust of Your Brand: How Security and IT Integrity Influence Corporate Brands, represents the most comprehensive study to date on how security is impacting business value and performance, customer confidence and retention, and brand reputation and integrity. In collaboration with Symantec and Factiva, a Dow Jones and Reuters company, the CMO Council study includes major surveys of corporate executives, marketers, and customers, including a survey of more than 2,000 consumers in North America and Europe conducted with Opinion Research Corporation, as well as in-depth discussions with 25 leading marketing executives on the study’s advisory board. Other key elements of the research include extensive analysis conducted by Factiva of media coverage surrounding security breaches and issues and additional brand and business performance analytics conducted by the Zyman School of Brand Science at Emory University’s Goizeuta Business School.
Secure the Trust of Your Brand demonstrates that information security issues, especially information breaches and lost customer data, are having a tangible impact on customer loyalty, company stock valuations and executive agendas. The study suggests that leading corporate marketers and brand managers should and will play a growing role in addressing security concerns in their companies. However, many companies have been slow to implement contingency plans, new corporate and product messaging, and other marketing and brand communications that address the security issues.
Among study findings:
The study identifies three critical actions in the preservation and promotion of brand trust:
“An organization’s most valuable assets are its reputation and its ability to sustain customer loyalty,” said Alan Scott, chief marketing officer, Factiva. “Security breaches and negative publicity for an organization can put that trust in jeopardy. Those companies that can effectively manage their reputations have a better chance of attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.”
Marketing in Security Sensitive World
Although the vast majority of marketers and other executives polled believe security is an important marketing and business concern, the report revealed that many marketers are slow to develop new brand and customer communications strategies for a security sensitive world. For example, 64 percent of marketing executives believe security and IT integrity significantly impact corporate and product bands, versus 19 percent who do not. Some 76 percent believe security breaches negatively impact the brands of companies whose securities have been compromised. However, in order for companies to differentiate their brands based on security and trust, those companies need to have a solid security foundation to prevent breaches and loss of customer data.
However, 60 percent of all marketers report that security has not become a more significant theme in their company’s messaging and marketing communications. Only 29 percent say their company has a crisis containment plan for security break-ins and failures, while another 27 percent said they didn’t know if such a plan exists. In contrast, some 49 percent of other corporate executives say they are aware of a crisis containment plan, indicating a possible disconnect between marketers and other business units.
Slightly more than half of all marketers surveyed said they believe their role and influence in addressing security policies will increase in the future.
“As our digital dependency grows, the connection between information security and brand trust becomes much stronger,” said Donovan Neal-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “Our study shows that, while some companies are aggressively addressing this issue, too many are not and, therefore, run the risk of brand and business value erosion.”
The complete report on the Secure the Trust consumer findings, as well as an Executive Summary featuring key findings of all of the Secure research, can be downloaded at www.cmocouncil.org. The final comprehensive report, available later in September, can be pre-ordered on the site.
About Factiva ®
Factiva, a Dow Jones and Reuters Company, provides essential business news and information together with the content delivery tools and services that enable professionals to make better decisions faster. Factiva’s unrivalled collection of more than 10,000 authoritative sources includes the exclusive combination of The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times ®, Dow Jones and Reuters newswires and the Associated Press, as well as Reuters Fundamentals and D&B® company profiles.
Factiva’s innovative, XML-based and Web services-enabled technology platform provides access to this rich content collection via Factiva’s role-specific products or through customized enterprise, group or personal solutions. Executives, information professionals, marketers, salespeople and other professionals can easily monitor and understand the latest news, market trends and business challenges relevant to them – directly from the Microsoft® Office and job-specific applications they use every day. www.factiva.com
About CMO Council
The CMO Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior marketing and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. Approximately 2,300 top marketing executives are represented on the CMO Council worldwide, accounting for well over $50 billion in aggregated annual revenues. Visit the CMO Council website to find out about the initiatives geared to address executive marketers’ challenges at www.cmocouncil.org