The French Blogosphere: Branding and Communication

    July 24, 2006

More than one-quarter (26.7%) of the French online population visit a blog at least once a month.

One in five (18.8%) have posted a comment on a blog and 8.1% have created there own blog. Thanks to blogs, Internet users can become co-creators’ of the Web and, subsequently, of the world, as onliners agree that blogs enable the greatest freedom of expression (92.2%), are both reactive and interactive (81.3%), create a closest possible relationship between people (75.7%), and are considered more critical than any other source of information (62.9%).

“Thanks to blogs, the Internet has become a primary source of information for French Internet users,” say Laurent Flors, CEO of crmmetrix. “Now considered more critical and more interactive than other forms of interconnectivity, blogs bring people closer. This marks a significant move from “interruption marketing” to “conversation marketing”, where listening and conversing become critical for brands and organizations as a source of listening to and learning from what people are saying about them.”

The top three subjects for French Internet users are “news” blogs (54.2%), while 46.2% refer to music blogs and 41.6% to cinema blogs.

“It is interesting to note that brands are right there too”, say Guillaume Weill, Managing Director of crmmetrix Europe. “Nearly one quarter (22%) say they consult blogs to get brand information. Clearly, brands need to be listening, to be in line with ever-changing brand perception and image. And as the blogosphere in France grows, this will become even more important for brand managers to track.”

“The diversity of interests confirms the richness of blogs as an information tool. It’s a safe bet to say that the next French presidential election in 2007 will involve the Internet and blogs to an unprecedented level,” adds Laurent Flors, CEO of crmmetrix. “Indeed, news subjects already interest more than 50% of blogs readers, and this independent of their age or gender. Blogs with political content are for the moment more consulted by older men, but more than 80% of general blog readers judge the information credible”.

Personal blogs are by far the most consulted (90%), followed by group and association blogs (46.3%) and media blogs (38.2%). Nearly one-third (29.9%) of French blog readers have visited a brand’s blog. Brand blogs offer brands managers an incredible opportunity to dialogue and exchange with their customers, and even if they want to express dissatisfaction, almost all (98%) consider this can have a strong positive influence on the brand image.

Laurent Flors concludes, “The first results of BaroBlogs, the Barometer of the Blogosphere testifies to the opportunity for brands, companies, and other organizations to better listen and understand their customers. For brands to be in the conversation’ speaking to them is not enough any more – it is fundamental to first listen! Check in again at the beginning of October 2006 to see what US Internet users are saying about the power of blogs.”

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Laurent Flores, PhD is founder and CEO of crmmetrix, the customer-listening company that builds relationships and drives innovation. Laurent drives the crmmetrix vision while consulting with Fortune 500 clients worldwide from crmmetrix offices in New York, Paris, Singapore and Shanghai. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of relationship marketing, WOM, innovation and website effectiveness at international conferences such as WOMMA, AMA, ARF, MSI and ESOMAR. He sits on the ESOMAR board (the World Research Association) and is a member of teh first elected board of directors of WOMMA, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Laurent blogs at