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New Edelman Opinion-Leader Study Shows Rise of CSR, Blogging & Web in Japan.

Tokyo, Japan, Dec 14, 2005 - (JCN Newswire) - Edelman, the world's largest independent public relations firm, today announced the results of the 2005 Edelman Japan Stakeholder Study, a new survey of Japanese stakeholders that shows majority credibility for corporate CSR efforts, the rise of blogging, trust in 'personal contacts' and news articles (rather than advertising), and the emergence of corporate web sites as the most trusted information sources about companies.

Highlights of the 2005 Edelman Japan Stakeholder Study survey include:

- 55% say CSR is a sincere business shift rather than just image-building (42%)

- 87% have heard of blogging; 52% have done it (or visited a blog)

- 53% trust news articles, 43% trust 'personal contacts,' just 3% trust advertising

- More (29%) trust websites than newspapers (25%) for company information

The 2005 Edelman Japan Stakeholder Study survey, conducted by Harris Interactive Inc., polled a total of 140 Japanese opinion-leaders from seven stakeholder groups: senior business executives, institutional investors, government, media, NGOs, up-scale consumers, and employees.

CSR: Communicating Social Responsibility More Important than Ever

The Edelman poll discovered a widespread belief (55%) that corporations are paying more attention to Corporate Social Responsibility as a sincere shift in the way they do business today rather than just as a way to improve their image in the marketplace (42%).

"Most think that CSR programs are fundamentally changing the way companies are doing business instead of being just a marketing gimmick," says Robert Pickard, President of Edelman, North Asia. "This means that effective communication of those programs should enjoy high acceptance and support from the public. It also means that companies will feel increased pressure to do more and communicate more about what they are doing on CSR."

The survey found that there may be a different stakeholder conception of CSR than has been traditionally assumed. When asked about the characteristics of a socially responsible corporation in Japan, 94% said 'Stands behind its products and services when something goes wrong,' with a minority (48%) saying 'Concerned about/active in doing something about community welfare.' According to Pickard, "This may underscore the importance of effective communications during a crisis as the corporate 'moment of truth' on CSR."

Blogging is Becoming Known and Popular

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of the Japanese stakeholders surveyed said that they have heard about 'blogging' or 'blogs,' and a majority (52%) said that they have themselves done blogging or visited a blog online.

"Blogging in Japan has a higher profile and higher participation rates than most have assumed," says Keizo Kumazawa, Deputy Managing Director, Edelman Japan.

"This reflects the modern fact that today's consumers want to be active participants in two-way conversations with companies, not passive recipients of one-way advertising messages. This should have dramatic implications for marketing in Japan."

Indeed, this is a conclusion that can be drawn from another of the survey's findings: 53% of Japanese stakeholders believe information they get from news articles -- compared to a mere 3% for advertising -- while 43% believe information they get from 'personal contacts' (like friends or family). Pickard says: "Blogging is the rising and democratizing media source that gives voice to the opinions of these personal contacts, so corporate communicators and marketers need to challenge their assumptions about the effectiveness of advertising and look at new ways of earning media coverage and building relationships with bloggers online."

Websites More Trusted than Newspapers for Corporate Information

The Edelman Japan Stakeholder Study found other evidence supporting the growing importance of online communications. While 60% of stakeholders turn to newspapers first for trustworthy information (compared to 17% for television and 23% for the Internet), corporate websites (29%) are now the most trusted and believable communication vehicles for information about companies -- compared to 25% for newspapers. The gap increased when stakeholders were asked how likely they are to use each communication vehicle to get information about a corporation: 42% said company websites and 33% said newspapers.

"The implications of this are clear," says Pickard. "Every corporation should have an Internet communications strategy and engage with journalists and other stakeholders online - or be left behind. We're also wondering if newspapers may need to do more to extend the power of their brands to their online portals, especially as they face the long-term demographic challenge of fewer younger readers of the paper editions."

About the 2005 Edelman Japan Stakeholder Study

The 2005 Edelman Japan Stakeholder Study -- created as part of the firm's third annual Asia-Pacific Stakeholder Research Study in 10 countries -- was conducted in partnership with Harris Interactive Inc., the fastest-growing market research firm in the world (and known for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry). The objective of the study was to understand which factors are most important to stakeholders when corporations build relationships with them. For a copy of the extended findings, please send a request by e-mail to japan@edelman.com.

The 140 respondents -- who were surveyed during 20-25 minute face-to-face interviews in October -- represented seven different stakeholder groups, including: senior business executives (c-suite executive decision-makers); institutional investors; government officials (mid-range officials or above, such as senior officers and senior executive officers); media representatives (senior business editors/reporters/journalists and producers); NGOs (managers or above working in institutions, non-profit organizations, industry associations and/or trade associations); up-scale consumers (middle- to upper-class consumers with buying power); and employees (working at either multinational or large corporations).

About Edelman

Founded in 1952, Edelman is the world's largest independent public relations agency with annual revenues of USD 252 million (JPY 30 billion). The firm's more than 2,000 professionals serve clients from 43 offices in 23 countries. In 2005, The Holmes Report, a respected PR industry journal, named Edelman "International Agency of the Year" (and in 2004 the "Firm Most Admired by Clients"). Japan's fastest-growing international PR consultancy, Edelman offers a full spectrum of the most state-of-the-art public relations services available today. From CSR consulting to crisis communications to word-of-mouth campaigns, Edelman is working to set a new PR standard by helping world companies communicate in Japan, and helping Japanese companies communicate around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.edelman.jp.

Source: Edelman

Contact:
Edelman Japan KK
Noriyoshi Tsugama

3rd Floor, Toranomon 45MT Building
5-1-5 Toranomon, Minato-ku
Tokyo 105-0001 Japan
Phone: +81-3-6403-5213
Email: nori.tsugama@edelman.com


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Publication:JCN Newswires
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Dec 14, 2005
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