sábado, 7 de diciembre de 2019

Place Branding in Poland: Challenges, Success Strategies and Trends | Interview with Piotr Lutek

If you thought place branding practice looks the same no matter where you are in the world, well – think again. There are significant differences in how the branding of cities or destinations – or indeed entire regions and countries – is approached across the globe. Piotr Lutek, Managing Director of boutique place marketing agency Synergia, in this interview introduces us to his place branding work in Poland. Read about the challenges, success strategies and the trends to keep an eye on.
Piotr, at Synergia you specialize in creating and reviving brands of places, as well as consumer products. Do you remember the first time you heard about “branding” in the context of cities or regions?

It feels like it was ages ago. 2006 perhaps, when I was looking for a good topic for my dissertation. Place branding seemed very fresh and it really was. Only a few books available. White space to explore. Then I set up Synergia and started the consulting business. My doctoral thesis is still ongoing, but I hope to have it finished by next June. Working for cities and regions is so time-consuming that other activities must wait.
In your view, what is city branding all about? And how does it relate to the concept of place marketing?

Good question. There are many different definitions and approaches.

Personally, I am most intrigued by changes that a certain place triggers in anyone who experiences it. Something must happen in the customer’s mind. Basically, the relation should be two-sided, because places also derive from people visiting them, or living there. If this exchange is working and growing, place brands can emerge.

Place marketing is, in my opinion, some kind of engineering. Resources converted to products/benefits, then transferred to chosen people to make their life better and easier. It is tactical. Place branding, on the other hand, is more about feelings and beliefs.
Place Brand Trigger is the methodology you use for place brand implementation. In a nutshell, how does it work?

Easier said than done. This is a general problem of almost all place branding projects in Poland. On a paper you can put anything you like concerning values, brand idea or desired outcomes. Key initiatives as well. So often we have a brand strategy document ready and…nothing happens, or implementation gets messed up.

That was the starting point for Place Brand Trigger. We developed a simple, 12-fields matrix that helps place marketing teams to go smoothly from brand strategy birth to its implementation and management.

In the rows you get the most important areas of management, like the organization that should be behind a brand, product, communication and experience. The columns represent the three crucial phases of place brand development: incubation, animation and maturation. Each field of the matrix consists of set of tasks to do and precisely determines goals to achieve.
How can branding be a driver of economic growth for cities and regions, such as in Central and Eastern Europe?

Place branding has an enormous impact on the economic performance of any city or region. There are obvious benefits, like boost in sales of a place’s products and services, a stable position in consumers’ consideration set, but also mental strength of residents and investors – how likely and willing they are to set up new businesses.

For places located in Central and Eastern Europe, incremental value can be generated by creating strong place brands. I would call it “the shortest way to European standard of welfare.”

Why is it so? To understand this statement properly, you have to go back 70 years, to the time when the new deals after WWII were established. Due to the long-lasting Soviet occupation, many parts of this region had no chance for regular growth, due to limited access to relevant knowledge, money and customers.

Nowadays, branding is one of most powerful tools to reduce this gap and to keep up with the West, by changing people’s attitudes, strengthening perceptions of high quality and increasing awareness.

My home city, Lublin is a good example. Since 2007, the year when the strategy “The City of Inspiration” was launched, everything has changed. Much more visitors from all over the world, a huge number of investments and new business activities. The city is pretty much alive, with the Old Town often extremely crowded. Lublin as place to visit, work and invest is working well, and has great prospects for the future.
Reducing the many facets of a city or region to one overarching theme for effective positioning can be challenging. How do you go about this – what do you advise your clients?

Simplicity always pays off. That is my most important piece of advice every single time when the future position of a place is discussed. By simplicity I mean: promise only a value you can deliver. “Overpromising” is a common mistake made by many places.

The temptation to tout yourself as the best place for anyone, for anything and anytime is really strong and we have to work hard to bring place marketing teams down to reality.

Many place marketers know that the sweet spot for effective positioning is between our resources and competencies, unfulfilled customers’ needs and a white space of the market.

However, few seem to remember that it’s not about “the best we have to give”. The right question is: “what we are able to propose better than others that helps consumers to live, work and achieve their goals better, faster, cheaper or smarter?”

Once you realize this, you’re on a straight way to success.

My third advice to clients concerns testing the idea on which a place will be positioned: how different is it from other places, and to what extent will current experiences in the city be in line.

My last advice for any place marketer who is facing a positioning process: watch Australia’s 2008 promo campaign “Come Walkabout”:

Andrew Hoyne in his interview points out that there is an unfortunate trend towards a superficial design approach, often resulting in a graphic campaign rather than a strategic brand solution. Is this something you also witness?

Definitely. I also have many examples of that kind from Poland. It results from misunderstanding the core of branding. It is commonly forgotten that a brand with its equity is among a place’s most valuable assets: unique and very hard to copy.

There are three main reasons for the situation you mention. First, local authorities are unaware of the role a brand can play in creating a competitive advantage for a place. They can easily imagine new roads, swimming pools or even facilities for new investments, but it’s much harder for them to understand that something is happening in consumers’ minds and that they are able to drive this process. So, they regard branding only as a promomotional issue and spend money on harmful and expensive campaigns, often widely spread and broadly targeted but not linked to real requirements.

Secondly, heritage. You probably do not know about the case of Kazimierz Dolny, a very small, lovely town in eastern Poland. Full of art galleries, cultural events and lots of visitors year by year. Everything started in 1925 when some young artists decided to settle down there due to the magnificent scenery. The almost 100 years of heritage have created a brand too strong not to be considered. Even though the mayor’s office is not clearly brand-oriented, residents are and know very well how to sustain this source of local welfare.

Lastly, short-term thinking. There is a significant lack of patience among city or regional authorities and their staff responsible for brand management. They are not able to face the fact that place branding is a long journey, not a short sprint.
Which trends or changes do you observe in how cities and regions in Poland approach place branding?

Concerning place branding, I can divide Polish cities and regions into two groups. The first one includes the places that have made the most of European grants, launched their brand properly and step by step have been moving forward. Still investing in brand communication, they also work on customer experience and new products for different segments. A few of them have understood the benefits of placemaking and the importance of local community engagement.

The others are running around in circles. The dead-end group with a superficial design approach, or even withdrawing from the “brand project” altogether. This group is much bigger than the first one.
What does city branding need, to be successful?

You need to find:
a powerful idea for positioning
a good benchmark city to get inspired (but don’t copy it!)
the right people to manage your brand
local community endorsement
enough time to wait for initial results
Which aspects of the place branding process do your clients struggle most with?

Each case is different and should be considered separately. But of course there are some common problems places face constantly: lack of funding for brand building or local elections can easily disturb or even interrupt the process. One of the biggest cities in Poland, Poznań is a good example of this.

But maybe a not so obvious problem lies at a tactical level – going better versus going unique. It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending money on copying or improving solutions already implemented by other places and getting poor results at the end of the day. If something works in NYC, there is no guarantee it will work in Warsaw.

A place should appreciate and understand its identity – culture, history, specific character of people, some kind of local tension or spirit – and create a brand on this basis. Find and go your own way. For more than 10 years we have been trying to convince cities and regions to adopt this point of view.
Which cities or regions have inspired you recently for their innovative approach to place branding?

I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but I find this city a good example to follow in terms of effectiveness, cohesiveness in brand building and uniqueness of the brand idea. The city settled in the middle of nowhere, barely 100 years ago. Unbelievable story and great case to learn and get inspired. A pure concept and consistent actions are enough to accomplish global no 1 position among cities for entertainment.
Anything else you’d like to mention?

Place branding is not about a tagline or logo. It’s about the place’s contribution to the world and how it connects with global values.

Thank you, Piotr.

viernes, 29 de noviembre de 2019

How Cities Like Copenhagen Succeed with Talent Attraction | Interview with Morten King-Grubert

Morten King-Grubert, in charge of talent attraction at the Nordic place management consultancy Future Place Leadership, in this interview shares his experience of building a talent attraction strategy from scratch for the city of Copenhagen in Denmark.

This interview is for everyone interested in talent attraction, how Copenhagen does it, or if you want to know where we’re headed and which pitfalls cities should avoid.
Morten, as Director of Talent Attraction at the Nordic place management consultancy Future Place Leadership, advising cities and regions on how to attract and retain talent is your daily business. Do you remember the first time you came across this topic? What got you interested?

I do remember this clearly. It happened in my private life. My wife (an American) and I (a Dane) were relocating from California to Copenhagen and as such I did what we in technical terms call family reunification; seeking to get permission to have a non-EU-citizen enter our borders.

And the process was horrible! (A lot better now a decade later, thankfully). I remember being treated almost like a criminal, being threatened with deportation, honestly because the public officials had lost an unimportant document that they claimed we had not included in the application.

I struggled to understand how we could give all my life story and data way beyond acceptable GDPR [European data protection] levels in different application forms, only to show up for the first meeting with public officials (from a country claiming to be global digital frontrunners) and being asked my name and how to spell it.

Or the best joke of the experience: finding a piece of paper in the trash that my wife had thrown out, wondering why on earth did she not keep such an important letter, offering free Danish classes to a newly arrived foreigner. Then I realized the letter was in Danish, so she had not understood it.
How have your views on talent attraction and place branding changed since then?

Fundamentally, I think my views are the same. But my understanding of the complexity of how to solve the challenges has broadened significantly.

I feel that every day we as a country, metropolis or city must prove to my wife and the thousands of other international people in our region that we are worthy of their efforts. They have relocated from thousands of miles to be part of our world. They have left behind family and what they know, to explore the unknown. And if we don’t do a good job of welcoming them (and their spouses and children) into our workspace and private life, they will leave. And if they do, we will lose their great contribution to the multicultural, diverse and innovative society that we need.

What I have learned though is that this is easier said than done. You need the right legal framework, which is very tricky. You need the right multi-helix governance structure and collaboration platform between public officials in government, regional and local city level, the start-up and corporate world, universities, NGOs and support organizations / programs – from relocation and welcoming services to spouse-care, and so on.

Then, of course, this is a very crowded space. Most regions are seeking to attract the same talents, so you need to find your niche and the right approach to stand out in your attraction efforts.
Before joining FPL you built up Copenhagen Capacity’s talent attraction and retention efforts from scratch. How did you do this?

Firstly, we understood that, as an economic development board, we (Copenhagen Capacity) should only act if a) this really supports economic growth in the region and b) there is a significant market failure, where existing entities cannot solve it by themselves. This clearly was and is the case within talent attraction and retention.

Then, early on, we realized that a lot of good activities were actually happening, but they were all over the place and not strategically aligned between different municipalities. In short, the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing, and the wheel was reinvented over and over again.

We then spent a considerable amount of time understanding the target group which to us was both the universities and companies to receive the talents, and the talents themselves. We wanted a very customer-driven approach. The life cycle experience of the talent in question – from being attracted in the first place to ultimately leaving the region again – became our guideline to strategically consider how we as a region were performing on each step, what to prioritize and what to do concretely.

As for achievements, I would say the first highlight was getting a thank you note from an international student, who had stayed on in Denmark after completion of his studies. The person was down to his last dime, still had a career in Denmark as his dream scenario and finally landed a position. This was very heartwarming.

You can build a gigantic project and work on a multitude of cool things, but at the end of the day, talent attraction and place branding are about people and making an impact.

Another highlight was the moment when the talent department was recognized not as a project but a permanent fixture, and thus was added to the bylaws of the organisation.

I see so many great talent attraction initiatives which break their neck fundraising and with project development over and over again, and in the process they make short-term decisions that are not beneficial in the long run.
Why are sound talent attraction and -retention strategies so important nowadays?

Access to talent is widely recognized as a key driver for growth in the 21st Century. The demographics are clear for most economies too. Talent is becoming a scarcity. And to compete globally, local talent is not sufficient. You need the best and brightest. Period.

In the past this has solemnly been a challenge for employers. But with globalization, these employers will simply leave if the region cannot offer the right talent. At the same time:

Talents are increasingly picking the region that matches their lifestyle preferences first and then they look for the job. Thus, as a region, you need to get involved in this space. How can you make your place relevant for the talents your region needs? How can you work with employers and combine their employer brand with the brand of the place?
Place promotion agencies usually primarily focus on attracting foreign direct investment. How does talent attraction relate to attracting FDI? Where is the link?

Simply put – and this is the experience from Greater Copenhagen dating back more than a decade ago already – the foreign direct investors were becoming less and less interested in market access or a tax subsidy. The primary reason why they would select region x over region y for their next international expansion/investment was access to talent.

At the very least, as an investment promotion agency you need to have a strong emphasis on the talent pool in the region. And most likely you will find that it is not sufficient to compete among the best. Thus, you need to add talent attraction and retention on top of your FDI activities.
With more and more employers realizing the need for a strong place brand in order to attract the talent they need – how do the two interact, or overlap?

I was recently on a panel at the European Forum for New Ideas in Sopot, Poland. The topic was on employer branding and talents. The main representatives on the panel from some of the biggest employers of the country were well aware that they cannot identify and recruit the talent they need locally. They were also well aware that the further away from the HQ location they need to recruit, the more the location of the job matters, as the talent in question will relocate to a new region.

Thus the conversation was all about combining employer branding and place branding. Obviously, relocation is nothing new. But such conversation did not exist 10 years ago to the degree they do today.

When I meet international talent during my workshops, I often ask them how many Danish companies they can mention. The room typically goes quiet after 4-5 companies have been named. Sure Lego, Maersk, Carlsberg and maybe Novo Noridisk get a mention. Imagine the large pool of SMEs, or every other company in Denmark. All of the sudden they are completely unknown to the target group of future employees.

Leveraging the place brand will help in such instances. Copenhagen, Denmark, The Nordics can be a better interest and lead generator than the company itself, to be honest.
Employers are starting to adjust their branding to the values of gen Y and Z, namely trust, low hierarchy and purpose – the ability to help solve real challenges of the world. How does this influence place branding? Or, what could place branders learn from employer branding in this regard?

I am not convinced all employers have seen the light yet. But yes, I agree they should adjust their employer brand. Look, Gen Y is here now. Gen Z is coming fast and in large numbers.
What can you as a place offer to these people?
How are you making a difference in the world?
What is your purpose?
How are you working with the UN sustainable development goals?
To what degree does livability in your place align with the values of these new generations and the encounters they will have with your public administrators and public spaces?
Where is the trust, flexibility and empowerment, for example, in your own organization and city?

If you cannot answer these questions, well then your future citizens will most likely go elsewhere.
Which part of attracting and retaining talent did you find the most challenging during your time at Copenhagen Capacity?

Coming from what is often perceived as old fashioned, inefficient public sector with limited business skills, I think our biggest initial challenge was to convince employers that we could in fact create significant value for them. Not coming to them with another “project”, but rather a business solution.

Working as agile and innovative as the private sector, rather than our own public “box-thinking” was part of the solution. And then co-creation. Not presenting the finished public sector answer to the world’s problems, but working closely with the employers from the get-go to really understand the underlying issues – and to develop solutions together.
Which trends do you observe in talent attraction, and place branding more broadly? Where are we headed?

Like everybody else probably, I am excited to see where digitalization and AI will take us in the field of place branding and talent attraction. For one, a lot of admin bureaucracy and wasted resources for the talent (and the public sector) can be optimized with digital solutions. The amount of paperwork and visits to x different public entities when you relocate is insane.

Yet, at the same time, the personal connection and service is so important when a new talent arrives, that we cannot go all digital. Figuring out the right balance will be very interesting to watch.

One of my favorite topics now is moving from “war on talent” to talent mobility between regions. How can we better share talents, say between Copenhagen and Berlin or Bilbao? Can you turn “goodbye” into “let me help you get to your next adventure” and thereby, through regional partnerships, in reality foster talent sharing?

We are already talking to leading regions about this and look forward to pilot concrete initiatives soon.

domingo, 24 de noviembre de 2019

Non-mobile phone users: What hinders their access? Rubén Weinsteiner

Mobile phones are common across many emerging economies. Yet, mobile phone ownership is not equally embraced either among nations or within them. Across the 11 emerging economies surveyed as part of this report, up to one-in-five people do not own or even share a mobile phone.
While myriad factors affect why people don’t own or use mobile phones, a few key ones stand out. First, non-mobile phone users tend to be put off by the cost of owning mobile phones – and, particularly, the cost of the device itself, more so than the cost of data. Second, many non-users see limited value to mobile phones for their lives. Linguistic difficulties and technological literacy also affect non-users, though at somewhat lower rates. Non-users are also concerned about the security of mobile phones and the sensitive information they contain.
And, while majorities of non-users would like to own a phone in some countries surveyed, non-users elsewhere are content to continue without digital connectivity.

The share of mobile phone non-users varies in emerging economies

The number of mobile phone non-users varies in emerging economiesAcross the 11 countries, a median of 6% say they neither own their own mobile phone nor regularly use someone else’s device. Nonuse varies across these countries – ranging from a low of just 2% in Vietnam to a high of 20% in the Philippines.
Nonuse tends to be more common among adults with lower levels of income and education.1 In the Philippines, for instance, 10% of people with more education say they do not use a phone, compared with 38% of those with lower levels of education. This pattern exists in all 11 countries surveyed. Similarly, across most nations surveyed, older people are more likely than younger to be non-users.
However, gender differences in nonuse vary markedly by country. For example, in India, 24% of women are non-users, compared with 11% of men. In most other countries, there are smaller or no significant differences in nonuse by gender.
Given that mobile phone use is relatively common, the main analysis in this chapter involves only the eight countries where there are sufficient sample sizes (about 100 mobile phone non-users or more) to allow for additional analysis of non-users’ experiences.

Multiple factors contribute to why people don’t use mobile phones

In each country, mobile phone non-users were asked whether each of 12 factors was part of the reason they do not use a mobile device. These factors ranged from issues related to cost – whether of data or the device itself – to issues of digital literacy or linguistic difficulty, among others. If non-users mentioned that more than one of the 12 factors played into their decision not to use a phone, they were also asked which of those they had named was the top factor hampering their use.
Device costs are a key reason people across emerging economies don’t use mobile phones Results indicate that, while myriad factors have an impact on people’s decisions not to use phones, financial constraints are key. Across the eight countries with a sufficient sample size to analyze, a median of 51% say the cost of a mobile device is a reason they do not own a mobile phone. Among those who gave multiple reasons that they did not use a phone, device cost also is the top reason people cite for not owning a mobile device (a median of 17% of non-users across eight countries). A median of 34% also say data costs are a factor in why they do not use a mobile phone, though a median of only 5% say this is their top reason.
Others may simply not find a mobile phone imperative for themselves or their families: A median of 48% say they do not use a phone because their family already has a device, and another 43% say they simply have no need for one. Concerns about complexity also rank as a key issue for many: A median of 43% say they do not use a mobile phone because the device is too complicated, while 31% say they cannot read well enough to do so.

The cost of the device itself most concerns non-users

Device costs, more than data costs, are a reason people don’t use mobile phones In five countries, around half or more mobile phone non-users say device costs are a reason they do not own a mobile phone. This ranges from a low of 30% who cite device costs as an issue in India to a high of 89% in Venezuela.
For most non-users, the cost of data is less of a concern. In Venezuela, for example, while around nine-in-ten (89%) see device costs as prohibitive, half say the cost of data is a reason they don’t use a device. While the relative gap between device and data costs may be smaller in other countries, more people in each country say device costs are a hurdle to ownership than say the same of data costs.
Still, data costs are a deterrent for many; a median of 34% say data costs are a reason they do not use a mobile phone. This is highest in Tunisia (63%).

Worries about theft of a phone and information security deter some from owning phones

Theft of phone and info security are drawbacks in some countries Certain publics view security as more of an issue than others. More than three-in-ten mobile phone non-users in Colombia, Mexico, South Africa and Tunisia report both worries over theft of the device itself and information security as reasons for non-ownership. While Venezuelan non-users worry about theft at a similar rate, information security worries there are half as prevalent. Lebanese and Indians who don’t have mobile phones are less concerned about both the physical security of their devices and information security. In Lebanon, for example, 3% of mobile phone non-users report worries about the device being stolen and information security, respectively, as reasons for non-ownership.
However, when it comes to identity theft in general, about nine-in-ten Mexican (91%), Colombian (89%) and Venezuelan (87%) non-users say they are at least somewhat concerned. In all of these countries, two-thirds or more say they are very concerned about the general possibility of identity theft.

Some mobile non-users see little use for a device or have other means of accessing the internet

In five countries, around half or more say they do not have a mobile phone because someone else in their family does. In contrast, few non-users say they do not use mobile phones because they have other means of accessing the internet; a median of only 19% across the eight countries say this.
Reported lack of need for mobile connectivity is highest among non-mobile phone users in Lebanon (64%) and India (61%); in most countries, around a third or more of non-users cite this as a reason. Only in Venezuela, where rapid inflation has left large swathes of the country in dire poverty, do few non-users (13%) report that not needing a device contributes to them not using one. Similarly, 89% of Venezuelans report device costs as a reason why they do not currently have a mobile phone.
Many mobile phone non-users say someone else in their family having a phone is a reason they don’t use one; few already have access to the internet Mobile phone complexity is a deterrent to ownershipIn addition, some also say they opt not to use a phone simply because they perceive phones to be too complicated. Across the eight countries, a median of 43% say this is the case for them. It is not just smartphones that non-users may see as too complicated. In Mexico – the country where feature phone ownership is highest – 58% of non-users say that perceived difficulty is part of their rationale for not using mobile devices. In Lebanon, too, around half of non-users say the difficulty and complexity of phones affects them.

Literacy, language difficulties can be an obstacle to mobile-phone use

Some mobile phone non-users say their limited reading ability is a reason they don’t have phones For those with limited reading abilities, mobile phones may hold less appeal, even though technology companies are working to make communication via voice activation, image and video easier for less-literate users.
This survey shows that people’s evaluations of their own reading ability contribute to whether they have a mobile phone. Across the eight countries, a median of 31% say their own limited reading ability is a factor in why they don’t use a device.
Limited reading ability is a greater factor in non-users’ assessments in countries with lower levels of adult literacy. For example, in India, the country with the lowest level of adult literacy among the eight discussed here (74%, according to the World Bank), nearly half of all mobile phone non-users say their limited reading ability contributes to them not using mobile phones. At the other extreme is Venezuela, where 97% of the adult population is literate, and only 10% say limited reading ability has an impact on their decision to not use a phone.
In most countries, the availability of applications and websites in people’s preferred languages is rarely cited as an issue. Across the eight countries, a median of 12% say the fact that they can’t find information in their desired language on apps or websites contributes to their lack of phone use. Only in Tunisia and Mexico do one-in-five or more non-users say this is a factor for them.

A share of non-users cite limited mobile service as a reason they don’t use a phone

Some non-users say unreliable service is a reason they don’t use mobile phonesAlthough access to reliable mobile service varies across the countries surveyed, lack of service is not a key reason most non-users give for why they don’t use mobile phones.
Across the eight countries, a median of 18% say limited mobile service is a reason they don’t use mobile phones, ranging from a high of 31% in Tunisia to a low of only 2% in Lebanon.

Many but not all non-users would like to have a mobile phone

Mobile phone non-users split over whether they want a device in the futureDespite the perceived challenges and barriers, many non-users would like to own a mobile phone in the future. Venezuelan non-users stand out for their keen interest in acquiring a mobile phone; 86% of mobile phone non-users in Venezuela say they would like to get a phone in the future. Elsewhere, these numbers vary markedly, from around half or more desiring a mobile phone in South Africa (65%), Colombia (61%) and Tunisia (52%), to fewer than half in Mexico (41%), the Philippines (35%), India (31%) and Lebanon (9%).

Rubén Weinsteiner

Mobile Divides in Emerging Economies

Rubén Weinsteiner

Some still do not have mobile phones, and even phone owners struggle with connectivity and costs; they also face security issues

Mobile phones recharge at a generator-powered charging station in Cebu, Philippines. In emerging economies, people can struggle for access to electricity for their phones.

As ownership of mobile phones, especially smartphones, spreads rapidly across the globe, there are still notable numbers of people in emerging economies who do not own a mobile phone, or who share one with others. A Pew Research Center survey in 11 emerging economies finds that a median of 6% of adults do not use phones at all, and a median of 7% do not own phones but instead borrow them from others. The mobile divides are most pronounced in Venezuela (32%), India (30%) and the Philippines (27%), countries where about three-in-ten adults do not own a mobile phone.

What is a median?

We can see a lot of things on a smartphone. You can learn more about life.Woman, 40, Tunisia

At the same time, the new findings show that mobile divides even exist for phone owners. Significant numbers of owners struggle to use their phones to full advantage. A median of 46% in these countries say they frequently or occasionally have difficulties getting reliable phone connections, 37% say it can be a challenge to pay for their phones and 33% report finding places to charge their phones is a problem at least occasionally. In addition, a median of 42% report frequently or occasionally avoiding some activities on their phones because they use too much data.

[Owning a smartphone] is not my priority. My priority is basic needs. Woman, 37, Philippines

In some countries, mobile owners’ problems are particularly striking. In Lebanon, for example, 77% of phone owners report having problems getting reliable mobile connections, and about two-thirds (66%) say they avoid doing things with their phones because those activities use too much data. In Jordan, nearly half (48%) report having trouble paying for their phone, while in Tunisia four-in-ten (40%) say it can be a challenge to find places to recharge their phones.

Beyond those concerns, other issues can disrupt life for a portion of phone users and sharers. Around three-quarters or more mobile phone owners in every country except India report concerns about identity theft, and around nine-in-ten or more in Mexico (95%), Colombia (94%), Tunisia (90%), South Africa (89%) and the Philippines (89%) say they are at least somewhat concerned.

Mobile phone sharers, too, are often quite concerned about identity theft; outside of India and Lebanon, at least half of mobile phone sharers in every country report being very concerned about this issue. For mobile sharers, too, concerns about device security can play a role in why people choose not to own their own devices. While cost is the primary reason mobile phone sharers give for why they do not personally have a phone (a median of 34% across eight countries reports this), the second most commonly cited reason is that a previous mobile phone was lost, broken or stolen. Another 2% say they do not own their own mobile phone because of concerns that it will be stolen.

Which countries are included and which are excluded?

Additionally, a median of 29% of mobile owners in these 11 emerging economies say they have frequently or occasionally experienced problems finding information online in their preferred language. This problem ranges from 17% of mobile owners in Jordan to 37% in South Africa.
People cite a variety of reasons why they don’t own or share mobile phones

The cost of phones themselves and data plans are important factors in why people don’t own or feel compelled to share mobile phones. But costs are hardly the only deterrent.

Among non-mobile phone users, a median of 51% across eight countries say the cost of a phone is a reason they do not have one, with non-users in Venezuela (89%) and Tunisia (71%) topping the list. A median of 34% of non-mobile users in these eight countries report that data costs are a reason. Non-users in Tunisia (63%), Venezuela (50%) and Mexico (45%) were particularly likely to cite data costs as a reason for not having a phone.

At the same time, a median of 48% of non-users in eight of these countries report the reason they personally do not have a phone is that another family member has a phone. This reason was especially likely to be cited by non-mobile phone users in the Philippines (59%), India (56%), Lebanon (49%) and Mexico (44%). This may be because these non-users can accomplish some kinds of mobile communications and other activities by relying on that other family member.

You can borrow a [family member’s] phone, right? They will say, ‘Why don’t you buy a [smart]phone like this?’ I answered, ‘I don’t have enough money.’Man, 49, Philippines

Technological literacy and general literacy issues also figure into the situation. A median of 43% of non-users say phones are too complicated for them, and 31% report they cannot read well enough to use a phone. Reading problems are particularly likely to be cited as a factor in India (49%) and Lebanon (45%).

A median of 43% of non-users in these countries say they have no need for a mobile phone. This is often the case in countries where relatively high levels of nonowners say other members of their family have mobile phones like India, Tunisia and Lebanon.
Phone hardships often come in multiples

As part of the analysis, Pew Research Center created four scales related to the different kinds of hardships people might experience related to mobile phones – whether they own them, share them or don’t use them at all. The scales synthesized people’s answers related to connectivity problems, financial difficulties, language issues and security woes, flagging cases where the issue prevented or frequently impaired mobile use. (A full description of the development of the scales can be found in “Obstacles to using phones” and Appendix B.)

This analysis finds that security hardships are the most commonly experienced across the 11 emerging economies studied, hitting a median of 69% of adults in these countries, followed by financial struggles (a median of 60%), connectivity difficulties (28%) and language issues (13%).

Outside of India, half or more adults report facing at least one security-related hardship, meaning many are very concerned about the security of their information or the physical security of their device. These hardships are especially common in Colombia (84%), Mexico (82%) and South Africa (79%).

Financial hardships are highest in Kenya, where 74% of adults report an issue related to affording mobile devices and/or data.

Connectivity issues are most common in Lebanon, where about four-in-ten adults (41%) report a frequent difficulty with connectivity. But, few mobile users have difficulty both getting reliable service and charging their phones.

The highest rate of language issues is found in South Africa, where about a quarter (23%) report a language issue. This may be due in part to the diversity of languages found in South Africa.

A key finding from this analysis of hardships is that barriers to mobile use do not occur in isolation. Between 27% and 67% of individuals in each country simultaneously experience two or more types of hardship, and between 1% and 7% of individuals experience all four types of hardship we asked about.

For the two most common hardships – security and financial – between 13% and 56% of individuals in each country surveyed experience both hardships concurrently. For example, around four-in-ten Filipinos (39%) simultaneously experience security and financial issues (for all country-specific numbers, see Appendix C). In fact, aside from India, roughly half or more who experience one of these issues also experiences the other (between 56% and 87%).

Some other findings from this analysis of hardships include:
Smartphone use is associated with higher rates of security issues in most countries – that is, people who use smartphones are either more likely to report concerns about their phone being stolen or about identity theft than non-smartphone users, or they are more likely to currently share a device because their last device was stolen, lost or broken.
Younger adults ages 18 to 29 experience higher levels of connectivity issues like poor service or problems charging their devices in several countries.
Those who can read some English face fewer language-related issues with mobile phones in most countries, including difficulties finding online content in their preferred language or feeling there were no apps or websites in their native language.

Those living in lower-income households face more financial hurdles.
Wide range of opinions on whether non-users would like a device

Despite these issues, a share of those who do not use phones in some of these emerging economies would like to do so. That is not universally the case, however. A median of 47% of non-users say they would like to have a mobile phone. That sentiment among non-users ranges from 86% of non-users in Venezuela to 9% in Lebanon.

It is possible that the people who report wanting to get a phone in the future desire to do so in part because they believe mobile phones have been beneficial to their societies. Indeed, in six of the seven countries for which this analysis is possible, majorities of mobile phone owners and nonowners alike say mobile phones have mostly been a good thing for their society.

These are among the major findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. It is part of a series of reports about the mobile landscape in emerging economies. Previous reports have covered the benefits and drawbacks people feel mobile connectivity has brought to them and their societies, perceptions about the impact of mobile phones on politics and information and the broader social networks of smartphone and social media users in these countries.

In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with diverse groups of participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report (see Appendix A for more information)

Rubén Weinsteiner

domingo, 17 de noviembre de 2019


Rubén Weinsteiner

The influence of the country-of-origin effect on a product is one important variable, but in this section the focus is on the consumer: the person who interprets the product’s cou-ntry-of-origin information and decides whether or not to buy the product. The consumer may possess preconceived ideas about the quality of products from certain countries (Cha-sin and Jaffe 1979); they may have opinions about their duty to their nation to buy local products (Bruning 1997), or they may have the tendency to buy products that are produced in countries that are economically, socially and politically similar to their own (Han 1989).
All of these factors contribute to a reaction consumers may have when faced with foreign products and services, and it is important to identify these issues in order to overcome barriers and create an effective nation brand. Furthermore, consumer reactions vary from country to country, and it is essential to recognize these differences between consumers.

National characteristics and national identity

The consumers’ perception of a product significantly changes (for the better and for the worse) when they are told the country-of-origin of the product (Bannister and Saunders1978). If the COO can influence consumers’ perception of a product or service, then im-proving the image portrayed through the COO should be positioned to increase the number of foreign consumers.
This study first introduced the idea that countries have images (like brands) in the field of academic research.When comparing a country’s image in different sectors, the image is not consistent (Jaffe and Nebenzahl 2001).
For example, French wine may be highly valued by consu-mers, but French technology may not share the same prestigious image. Consumer ethno-centrism, therefore, is likely to also vary depending on the product. Perhaps a Taiwanese consumer would prefer buying local, Taiwanese technology, however they would choose French wine over wine from their country.

Furthermore, consumers form their country image perceptions based on more than sim-ply purchasing that country’s products (Jaffe and Nebenzahl 2001). This is a step towards broadening the field of nation brand research: country images are formed not only by ex-ports; aspects such as tourism and media coverage also affect nation brand images. In addition, Jaffe and Nebenzahl present a widely-accepted objective of nation branding: “to create a clear, simple, differentiating idea built around emotional qualities which can be symbolized both verbally and visually and understood by diverse audiences in a variety of situations.
To work effectively, nation branding must embrace political, cultural, business and sport activities” (Jaffe and Nebenzahl 2001, cited in Fan 2005, p. 3). This broad sta-tement has motivated governments to design and implement wide-ranging country brand campaigns.

The notion of branding a country is validated by the idea that a nation’s image in-fluences perceptions of products (O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy 2000).Consumers perceive foreign products in two ways: reputational capital is a belief-driven factor for consumers, where the buyer believes that the nation is (or isn’t) able to create a product that stands up to the standards they seek from the product.
Alternatively, an imagery-centric approach relies on a positive association with a nation brand which affects consumer pur-chases. Since a nation’s image can be diverse and in some cases contradictory, the product that aims to exploit its nation brand should concentrate on the adequate, positive national characteristics for the product and for the target market. The authors posed the question of whether or not this image can be exploited to promote exports.

Consumer ethnocentrism

A study about opinion of American industrial buyer’s opinions of manufactured goods from Eastern European countries showed that American buyers perceived the products from Eastern European countries to be inferior to those from the United States (Chasin and Jaffe 1979). This study was a precursor to the idea of consumer ethnocentrism: the bias that a consumer has towards products from their home country. This study inspired Shimp and Sharma’s subsequent 1987 study, and Chasin and Jaffe’s study identifies an important goal of nation branding: overcoming buyer’s tendency to choose national products over international.

Consumer ethnocentrism is defined by Shimp and Sharma as “beliefs held by...consu-mers about the appropriateness, indeed morality, of purchasing foreign-made products” (Shimp and Sharma 1987, p. 280), andwas first systematically measured using the CETS-CALE, developed in the same study.

Though this study is a starting point for research into how consumers compare foreign-made and domestic products, the investigation calls for more research into how and when these tendencies are instilled in consumers.Subsequent studies have shown that brand origin recognition accuracy is quite low - the country of origin is for the most part insignificant in consumer’s brand choice (Samiee et al. 2005). Both studies allow place branders to identify regional tendencies and work to develop strategies that are aimed at the biases of consumers in each region.

Various factors influence consumers’ ethnocentric tendency to buy or reject imported products. Some of the factors that affect the consumer’s opinion are their acceptance of other cultures, their perception of patriotism, conservatism and individualism (Sharma et al. 1995). Consumers that exhibit qualities such as openness to foreign cultures and indi-vidualism reveal weaker ethnocentric tendencies, whereas patriotism, conservatism and collectivism describe consumers with stronger ethnocentric tendencies. Demographic va-riables also play a part in consumer ethnocentrism (Han 1989; Schooler 1971).

Higher income and level of education correlate to lower ethnocentric tendencies, suggesting that these consumers are more likely to buy foreign products (Sharma et al.1995). Furthermore, the consumers’ perceived need for the product moderates their ethnocentric tendencies: if the product is foreign but is considered a necessity, the consumer will display only mode-rate ethnocentric tendencies. Similarly, the extent to which the consumer perceives that buying this product poses a threat him personally and/or to the domestic economy also influences a consumer’s ethnocentric bias.

COO bias also seems to affect consumer trust when contemplating high-risk services, such as life insurance (Michaeliset al. 2008); in the same way COO does play a role in “low-involvement” products (bread, coffee), however when other clues are introduced, such as price or brand, the role of COO diminishes (Ahmed et al. 2004). The consumer prejudices highlighted in this study are essential to keep in mind when promoting a nation brand abroad.

The influence of national loyalty varies depending on the society in question. In a study examining Canadians’ preference for airline carriers (Bruning 1997), price was found to be the deciding factor for consumers when choosing between domestic and international carriers. The second most important factor was country-of-origin. North Americans’ con-sumers show that individual benefits (a lower price) win over the sense of belonging to a group (national loyalty). Consumers in India, despite showing nationalistic and ethnocen-tristic tendencies, value the quality of foreign brands, and in turn regarded foreign brands with higher status local brands (Kinra 2006). It is important that marketers understand where consumers place the most value in consuming a product.

In consumer studies, there is an important emphasis on the difference between consu-mer ethnocentrism and international animosity (Klein 2002). Whereas the former involves choosing between a foreign and a domestic product, the latter only refers to biases for or against goods from a specific country, not foreign countries as a whole. Unlike the country-of-origin concept, animosity does not simply influence the consumers’ judgment of the product’s attributes; instead it affects the consumer’s willingness to buy the product. This study is significant because it highlights the difference between a country’s receptiveness to foreign products and a country’s hostility towards specific countries. Nation branding research frequently points to the differences between nation brand perceptions from one country to another (O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy 2000; Fan 2005; Stock 2009a), and it is important to keep in mind the individual relationship that exists between two cou-ntries when valuing the consumers’ reactions to a nation brand.

There are irregularities in the traits of consumer ethnocentrism (Balabanis and Dia-mantopoulos2004). To begin, consumer ethnocentrism is not a focal point in all product categories. In some situations, consumers disregard COO information and prefer foreign products to national products. Furthermore, foreign companies cannot assume that if their country’s products from one sector sell well (or poorly) abroad, that products of another sector will be as widely accepted (or rejected) as those from another. In this study, Bri-tish consumers preferred German cars to American, French, Italian and Japanese, but not German television sets. This inconsistency in consumer ethnocentrism provides a starting point for nation branding: if a country can create a broad, positive nation brand image, it could help improve product images in each sector.

 Rubén Weinsteiner


Rubén Weinsteiner

The concept of country-of-origin is attributed to Robert Schooler (1965), who conduc-ted a study among Guatemalan students. When presented with a cloth product whose label identified the country that the product came from (either Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador or Guatemala), Schooler found that the Guatemalan respondents preferred products from Mexico and Guatemala to those from Costa Rica and El Salvador, thus showing that a hie-rarchy of product preferences exists based on country of origin. In reality, all four products had been produced in Guatemala. The study, though groundbreaking, has been deemed simplistic, since the study does not examine to what extent the country-of-origin effect influences consumers’ decisions.

In a subsequent study, Schooler (1971) studied foreign products in the United States. He found there were significant biases towards and against goods from foreign countries, and that the biases varied when stratified. For example, he found that consumers, depending on their level of education, were more or less accepting of foreign products. The higher the level of education, the more positively consumers valued the products. This conclusion has been confirmed by various other studies (Anderson and Cunningham1972; Dornoff et al. 1974; Heslop and Wall 1985). Gender also played a role in the country-of-origin effect: women were more likely to positively evaluate foreign products than men. Another finding in Schooler’s study was that age also made a difference, as younger consumers were more open to foreign products than older consumers. Country-of-origin perceptions have been shown to change over time.

A study evalua-ting the attitudes of Japanese businessmen regarding products from five countries in 1967 and subsequently in 1975 concluded that over the eight-year period, the businessmen’s opinions of the products were modified (Nagashima 1977). This study gives basis for the field of country image management, which aims to create positive attitudes or re-shape prior country images that, in turn, stimulate tourism, exports, and FDI. This study was the first to use a seven-point semantic differential scale, hailing results that more concisely represent the participant’s attitudes.

By compiling a literature review of country-of-origin studies to date, it facilitates out-lining the findings and shortfalls of these works to encourage further study of the field (Bilkey and Nes1982). In summarizing remaining issues such as what influences country-of-origin biases and whether these biases are superficial or rooted in a society, Bilkey and Nes encourage product-country image to become a growth industry and not a stagnant field of research. Through reviewing previous studies, the authors confirmed that COO influences consumer perceptions of the products, but could not determine how much of an influence this cue accounts for. This study also raises the question of whether the COO bias stems from the foreign country’s political, social, and economic development, or if the COO bias resides within the consumer and is influenced by attitudes towards nationalism, ethnocentrism, and previous experiences with imports. The latter part of this issue will be explored in the second part of this literature review.

The influence of the COO effect on consumers was challenged by the results of several studies. In one study, subjects were asked to assess Japanese, American, and German made cars based on thirteen features: price, handling, horsepower, acceleration, gas mileage, safety, driving comfort, passenger comfort, reliability, durability, workmanship, styling and color selection (Johanssonet al. 1985). This study was the first to use the multi-cue approach; by adding cues other than COO, the study attempts to simulate a real-life con-sumer situation.
The study found that country-of-origin effects were less significant than had previously been accepted and that other contributing factors influence the consumer’s decision-making process. One source of criticism of this study, however, is that respon-dents are asked to rate the product attributes in an artificial environment - they are not actually interested consumers making informed decisions about buying a car, rather are only deciding based on verbal cues rather than a tangible product (Bilkey and Nes 1982). A subsequent study distinguished between country of design (COD) and country of ma-nufacture (COM). With cars, it was found that COD was a significant indicator in percei-ved quality (Hamzaoui and Merunka 2006).

The halo effect and the summary concept are terms from other fields of research applied to the COO effect to describe the relationship between product and country, described in a study comparing American, Japanese and South Korean-made televisions and cars (Han 1989). The products were rated on a seven-point scale. The results of this study revealed that consumers employ either a halo effect or a summary construct when making decisions about products. The halo effect occurs when consumers use general information they know about a country to evaluate products that they have little knowledge about. Consumers use the summary construct when they are familiar with a country’s products and in turn deve-lop associations and beliefs about the country based on their evaluation of the product’s attributes.

The halo effect was examined further by Han when he hypothesized that country image is conceptualized as a consumer halo (Han 1990). By asking consumers via a multi-cue approach their opinions regarding technical advancement, prestige value, workmanship, price and serviceability of Japanese, American and South Korean cars and TVs, Han con-cluded that consumers were more likely to buy a product from a country based on how they perceived the economic, political and cultural characteristics of the country the product came from. This tendency is even more likely to occur when the product’s country is eco-nomically, politically and culturally similar to the consumer’s own country.

The conclusions of this study can be directly associated to the work of nation branders, who attempt to manage the image of a country in order to improve the opinions of con-sumers. When consumers recur to the halo effect to evaluate countries, it can have a real influence on aspects of the economy such as exports and foreign direct investment, not to mention perceptions of the culture exports and political actions. When attempting to brand a nation, governments, academics and marketing firms must act to manage the halo image of the country and either confront negative perceptions, familiarize distant audiences with the country, or reinforce positive images.

Every place (country, region, city, neighborhood, etc) has an image that develops in the minds of consumers by means of media, education, travel, immigrants, purchase of exported goods, etc. (Papadopoulos and Heslop 1993). The term Product-Country Image is used to describe the perception that consumers have about the products and their country-of-origin. Some products make special reference to their COO in their name or marketing strategy. For example, Spanair or American Airlines use their countries in the company names; Gucci and Ferrari are associated with Italy because of the brand names are derived from words and names in Italian.

These cues link the product to a country and therefore draw upon the country image to bestow unique characteristics upon the product. This study also identifies the idea of countries promoting their products as well as themselves as destinations for tourism and FDI, paving the way for future studies (Wee et al. 1993; Papadopoulos et al.1997).

The concept “brand origin” should be distinguished from country-of-origin or product-country image. Brand origin is defined as “the place, region or country to which the brand is perceived to belong by its target consumers” (Thakor and Kohli 1996, p. 32). The Spa-nish brand Massimo Dutti, part of the Inditex family, embodies the concept of brand origin. Consumers perceive the brand as Italian because of its name and therefore associate it with characteristics attributed to Italian fashion. The perception of the brand would perhaps be different if the brand had a Spanish name to match its real country-of-origin. Furthermore, the authors distinguish between brand origin and where the product is actually made. Mas-simo Dutti products are not produced in Italy or even Spain, in some cases. Country images are not stagnant (Nagashima 1977; Lampert and Jaffe 1998).

Each market will have different reactions to COO cues, an idea that must be taken into account when promoting a product and its origin abroad. In the case of Colombia, studies showed that Colombian consumers, when faced with unfamiliar products, will not depend on the country of origin cue in valuing the product (Concha Velásquez et al. 2011). Consumers who have had first-hand experience with the product will be less influenced by COO than those who haven’t.
This study, however, only tests one consumer product, beer, and does not look into how the market would receive other products of mass consumption which may be of more (or less) importance to the consumers in their everyday lives.On the other hand, instead of observing how a country’s image influences the per-ception of a brand, White proposes that the influence and perception of a brand can have positive effects on the image of a country (White 2012).
This study demonstrated a brand international that it is positively valued (like Skype technological program or the energy drink Red Bull) helps to improve the perception of unknown or small countries when consumers find out about the country of origin of the products (in the case of the products listed earlier, Estonia and Austria). Furthermore, the more familiar consumers are with a product, the more they associate it with a country or countries. The same occurs in reverse: the more familiar consumers are with a country, the more they know about the products available from this origin (Usunier and Cestre 2007).

Rubén Weinsteiner

Two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization

Two-thirds of Americans say the use of marijuana should be legal, reflecting a steady increase over the past decade, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The share of U.S. adults who oppose legalization has fallen from 52% in 2010 to 32% today.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (91%) say marijuana should be legal either for medical and recreational use (59%) or that it should be legal just for medical use (32%). Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) prefer to keep marijuana illegal in all circumstances, according to the survey, conducted Sept. 3 to 15 on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

As in the past, there are wide partisan and generational differences in views of marijuana legalization. Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (78%) say marijuana use should be legal. Republicans and Republican leaners are less supportive, with 55% in favor of legalization and 44% opposed.

Majorities of Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) say the use of marijuana should be legal. Members of the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) continue to be the least supportive of legalization: Only 35% favor legalizing marijuana, while 64% are opposed.

The generational divide in views of marijuana legalization exists within both party coalitions. Large majorities of Boomer (81%), Gen X (76%) and Millennial Democrats (78%) say the use of marijuana should be made legal, compared with 53% of Silent Generation Democrats who say this.

Millennial Republicans also broadly favor legalizing marijuana use; in fact, Republicans in this generation are almost as supportive of legalization as Millennial Democrats (71% vs. 78%). Gen X and Boomer Republicans are more closely divided, with 55% of Gen X Republicans and 49% of Boomer Republicans favoring legalization. GOP members of the Silent Generation are the least likely to favor marijuana legalization: Just 21% say marijuana use should be legal, while three-quarters (76%) say it should not.
Around nine-in-ten Americans favor legalization for recreational or medical purposes

In addition to asking respondents about whether marijuana use should be legal in general, the Center asked a separate group of respondents about legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. Nearly six-in-ten Americans (59%) favor legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, while another 32% say it should be legal for medical use only. Only 8% say it should not be legal.

About two-thirds of Democrats (68%) say marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use, compared with 49% of Republicans. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say it should be legal just for medical purposes (38% vs. 28%) or that it should not be legal at all (12% vs. 4%).

Younger adults are somewhat more likely than older adults to say that marijuana use should be legal for both medical and recreational use. About two-thirds (69%) of those ages 18 to 29 say it should be legal for both types of use, compared with 48% of those ages 65 and older. Most adults 65 and over nonetheless favor legalization in some form.

The growth in public support for legal marijuana has come as a growing number of jurisdictions have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug for recreational purposes.

Meanwhile, 33 states – plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands – have legalized the drug for medical purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Marijuana remains illegal under U.S. federal law. However, several Democratic candidates for president have proposals to legalize or decriminalize marijuana use.

jueves, 24 de octubre de 2019

National Politics on Twitter: Small Share of U.S. Adults Produce Majority of Tweets

Those who strongly disapprove of Trump produce majority of tweets from U.S. adults that mention national politics

The social media platform Twitter plays a prominent role in how politicians, media outlets and advocacy organizations promote their agendas and engage with political issues. Although these entities represent a highly visible portion of the political Twitter ecosystem, less is known about the political tweeting habits of the 22% of the American public that uses Twitter. A new Pew Research Center analysis sheds light on this question by collecting and analyzing the tweets of a random sample of U.S. adults with public Twitter accounts1 over a period of one year surrounding the 2018 midterm elections (from June 10, 2018, through June 9, 2019).

The findings of this analysis paint a nuanced picture of just how prevalent political speech is among U.S. adults on Twitter. On one hand, 39% of users with public accounts tweeted at least once about national politics – which includes mentions of national politicians, institutions or groups, as well as civic behaviors such as voting – over the study period. On the other hand, national politics is a relatively small element of the total Twitter conversation among U.S. adults. Content explicitly related to these issues made up just 13% of all tweets analyzed over the year studied.

And as our previous research found to be true of Twitter content more broadly, this analysis finds that a small share of users produce the vast majority of content related to national politics: 97% of tweets from U.S. adults that mentioned national politics over the study period came from just 10% of users.

A total of 2,427 respondents with public Twitter accounts participated in the survey; collectively, they produced more than 1.1 million tweets over the course of the study period (June 10, 2018-June 9, 2019). The Center used a guided machine learning model to classify each of these 1.1 million tweets as related to national politics or not (see sidebar and methodology for more details on this process and the types of content that are included in our definition of political tweets).

The study design helps to illustrate which types of users are most drawn to tweet about national politics in the first place. Most notably, those with intense views of President Donald Trump are among the most prolific political tweeters.

Tweets from users who strongly disapprove of Trump are especially prominent: This group generates 80% of all tweets from U.S. adults and 72% of tweets mentioning national politics. Those who strongly approve of Trump (who produce 11% of all tweets from U.S. adults) create 25% of tweets mentioning national politics. Taken together, strong disapprovers and strong approvers of Trump generate 97% of all tweets mentioning national politics from U.S. adults on Twitter. In interpreting these results, it is important to note that it was beyond the scope of this study to classify the share of tweets that explicitly mentioned the president, or that expressed particular views about his administration’s policies. And as noted above, the definition of political tweets used in this analysis includes a wide range of phrases and hashtags not related to Trump.

The prevalence of tweets mentioning national politics from U.S. adults who strongly disapprove of Trump is tied to two factors. First, this group makes up a larger share of Twitter users than of the general public. The share of U.S. adults on Twitter who strongly disapprove of Trump (55%) is 7 percentage points higher than the share of the general public that holds this view (48%). Second, this group is more likely to tweet about national politics than others on Twitter. Strong disapprovers of Trump make up 55% of all U.S. adults on Twitter, but their frequency of tweeting about national politics results in them generating 72% of all the tweets about this topic from U.S. adults.

By contrast, U.S. adults who strongly approve of Trump are underrepresented on Twitter relative to their presence in the population as a whole: 15% of Twitter users strongly approve of Trump, compared with 29% of the general public. However, those who strongly approve of Trump are similar to those who strongly disapprove of him in that they also are more likely than other groups to tweet about national politics. Twitter users who strongly approve of Trump generate 25% of the political tweets that come from U.S. adults – larger than the share of all Twitter users they represent (15%).
Those who tweet about politics differ from those who avoid the topic or tweet infrequently

Pairing a survey with an examination of the Twitter behaviors of U.S. adults also allows for a comparison of the attitudes and characteristics of political tweeters with those of other Twitter users. Political tweeters – defined as those who tweeted at least five times in total, and at least twice about national politics, over the year of the study period – are almost twice as likely as other Twitter users to say the people they follow on Twitter have political beliefs similar to their own (38% of political tweeters say this, compared with around one-in-five among nonpolitical tweeters). By contrast, nonpolitical tweeters are more likely to say they aren’t sure about the political beliefs of the people they follow or that they follow people with a mix of political views.

And greater engagement with national politics on Twitter is tied to political behaviors that extend beyond the social media platform. Those who tweet about politics are more likely than other users to report engaging in a variety of political activities, such as attending rallies and contacting elected officials.

Prior research by the Center has found that politically engaged Republicans and Democrats in the general public are more likely than less-engaged partisans to hold a range of negative attitudes about the opposing party. And this new analysis indicates that partisans who tweet about national political issues tend to have colder views of the opposing political party relative to other users who are less politically active on the site. This difference is especially pronounced among Republicans: 51% of Republicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party who tweet about national politics give a very cold rating to Democrats, compared with about a third of Republicans on Twitter who don’t tweet about politics.

Measuring whether or not tweets talk about ‘national politics’

A central challenge of identifying and analyzing political content (on Twitter or elsewhere) is that many types of speech or online activity might be deemed “political” in some form or fashion. The general concept of politics might encompass numerous actors at the federal, state or local levels, as well as issue-specific concepts ranging from abortion to immigration to taxes. In an effort to create a broadly reasonable and functional definition of what tweets are considered “political” for the purposes of this analysis, we chose to focus on tweets that specifically mention or engage with national politics.

For the purposes of this analysis, a tweet is considered to discuss national politics if it mentions or expresses support or opposition toward national politicians or elected officials, political parties, ideological groups or political institutions, or specific political behaviors like voting. This definition of political content excludes tweets that are solely about state or local politics. It also does not include general discussions of issues (even if those issues may be of national interest) unless they also include a mention of a national politician, party, institution or organized political behavior.

Researchers identified tweets about national politics using a two-step process. First, they used a custom text classification model to classify political tweets based on the language used in the tweet. As an example, tweets encouraging Americans to vote in a national election or using common political hashtags would be classified as political during this step. Second, researchers searched for mentions of the Twitter usernames of members of Congress and other notable national politicians. All tweets mentioning these usernames were classified as political. As a result, tweets that engage with national politicians on Twitter are classified as political even if the content of the tweet is otherwise not obviously political. For instance, a brief reply to a member of Congress saying “happy birthday” would be classified as being related to national politics.

It is important to note that this method may fail to correctly classify tweets that use irony, sarcasm, memes or images to convey feelings or ideas about national politics. In other words, this analysis captures only the specific subset of the larger political conversation on Twitter that involves overt or explicit discussion of, or engagement with, U.S. national politics.

Despite the bounded nature of this definition, the estimates produced by this model largely align with the self-reported tweeting behavior of participants in the survey. For those who say they never tweet about politics or have, but not recently, the model estimates that just 2% of their tweets mention national politics. But among those who say they have tweeted about politics within the previous 30 days, an estimated 26% of their tweets mentioned national politics.
Older Americans produce sizable share of tweets by U.S. adults mentioning national politics

Reflecting the modest share of all Twitter users they represent, older adults on Twitter don’t produce a great deal of the total content. But this group is much more inclined to talk about national politics in their tweets than younger users. Those ages 65 and older produce just 10% of all tweets from U.S. adults, but these older Twitter users contribute 33% of tweets related to national politics. More broadly, those 50 and older produce 29% of all tweets but contribute 73% of tweets mentioning national politics. By contrast, 18- to 29-year-olds produce 20% of all public tweets from U.S. adults, but just 4% of political tweets.

In addition to these age-related differences, Republicans who describe themselves as conservative and Democrats who indicate that they are liberal are more likely to tweet about national politics than others in their parties. Researchers used an 11-point scale ranging from 0 (“very conservative”) to 10 (“very liberal”) to measure how individuals self-identified ideologically. Among Republicans and Republican leaners who identify as conservative (0-4) on the scale, 25% of tweets mention national politics. But just 9% of tweets from Republicans at the midpoint or liberal end of the scale (5-10) do the same.

Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, there is a similar pattern: 17% of tweets from Democrats who identify as liberal (6-10) on the scale mention national politics, compared with 5% among those who do not identify in this way (0-5).

The different types of Twitter users examined in this report

To compare the attitudes and behaviors of different types of Twitter users, researchers classified respondents to the survey into one of three categories based on how often they tweet in general, as well as whether they tweet about national politics.

Political tweeters are defined as those who tweeted at least five times over the study period, with a minimum of two of those tweets discussing national politics. About three-in-ten (31%) U.S. adults are in this group. Political tweeters are particularly likely to be Democrats: 67% of political tweeters identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party; 28% identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP. The model used in this report estimates that 13% of all tweets produced by this group are political. Among those who say in the accompanying survey that they have tweeted about politics in the last 30 days, 78% meet our definition of a political tweeter based on their Twitter behavior. This group also contains some of the most active tweeters in the sample in terms of overall tweet volume.

Nonpolitical tweeters are defined as those who tweeted at least five times over the study period, but had no more than one tweet in that time that mentioned national politics. This group makes up 26% of U.S. adults on Twitter. Overall, 63% of nonpolitical tweeters identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party; 33% identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP. Less than 1% of all tweets from this group are political in nature.

Infrequent tweeters are defined as those who tweeted fewer than five times in total over the year and includes those who did not tweet at all. Infrequent tweeters make up 43% of all U.S. adults on Twitter. Overall, 54% of infrequent tweeters identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party; 42% identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP. This group accounts for fewer than 1% of all tweets produced by U.S. adults; 6% of their tweets are classified as political.

Political tweeters report visiting the site with great regularity: 73% of this group says they use the site at least once a day. The other two groups contain a smaller share of regular visitors to the site: 48% of nonpolitical tweeters and 33% of infrequent tweeters say that they use the site on a daily basis.
Political tweeters are more likely to follow other people who share their political views

Most U.S. adults on Twitter report that they follow people with a mix of political views (37%) or that they don’t know the political views of the people they follow (34%). A quarter (25%) say most of the people they follow on Twitter hold similar political views to their own, while just 4% say that most of the people they follow have political views that are different from theirs.

The above relationship – in which a majority of users follow either a mix of people with different beliefs or say they aren’t sure of the political views of the people they follow – holds for the three types of Twitter users identified in this analysis (political tweeters, nonpolitical tweeters and infrequent tweeters). Still, the share of Twitter users who say they follow people with political views similar to their own is much higher among those who tweet about national politics (38%) than it is among nonpolitical tweeters (17%) and those who tweet infrequently (20%). In part, this dynamic is driven by the fact that nonpolitical tweeters (39%) and those who tweet infrequently (37%) are more likely than political tweeters (25%) to say they don’t know the political views of the people they follow.

Democrats and Democratic leaners on Twitter are about twice as likely as Republican and Republican-leaning users to say that most of the people they follow hold similar political views to theirs (31% vs. 15%). A previous Pew Research Center report found that Democrats make up a larger share of all Twitter users than of the general public overall.

Both Republicans and Democrats who tweet about national politics are more likely to say they follow people with similar political views than those who don’t tweet about politics. However, reflecting differences between partisans among all Twitter users generally, a larger share of Democrats (45%) than Republicans (25%) who tweet about national politics say they mostly follow people with political views that are similar to their own.
Political tweeters have ‘colder’ views of members of the other party

Partisans who tweet about national politics are more likely than those who do not to give members of the other party a “very cold” rating (a rating of less than 25 degrees on a 0-100 “feeling thermometer” scale).

This phenomenon is particularly prominent among Republicans: 51% of Republicans and Republican leaners who tweet about national politics give a very cold rating to Democrats – significantly higher than the shares of Republicans who don’t tweet about politics.

Among Democrats and Democratic leaners who tweet about national politics, 54% give a very cold rating to Republicans. Somewhat smaller shares of Democrats who don’t tweet about national politics give an equally cold rating for members of the other party.
Greater levels of political activity and engagement among those who tweet about national politics

Those who tweet about national politics are more likely than those who do not to report engaging in a range of behaviors related to political activity and engagement.

For example, 35% of national political tweeters say they have contacted an elected official within the last year, compared with 14% of nonpolitical tweeters and 21% of infrequent tweeters. Political tweeters are also more likely than the other two groups to say they have attended a political rally or protest or contributed money to a candidate running for office in the last year.

Within both political parties, national political tweeters are more likely to report engaging in political activity than nonpolitical tweeters.

Larger shares of Democratic political tweeters than Republican political tweeters say they participated in each of the three types of political behavior measured in the survey. This pattern is consistent with surveys of the general public conducted during the 2018 midterm election campaign, which found higher levels of political engagement among Democrats than Republicans.

National political tweeters also are somewhat more likely than other Twitter users to say they regularly follow the news. About two-thirds of national political tweeters (65%) say they follow the news closely whether or not something important is happening, slightly larger than the shares of infrequent tweeters (59%) and nonpolitical tweeters (53%) who say the same.
U.S. adults on Twitter skeptical about the accuracy of news from social media sites

Most Twitter users (57%) say they expect the news they see on social media sites to be largely inaccurate; 41% expect the news they see on social media to be largely accurate.

However, political tweeters are more evenly divided: 48% expect the news they see on social media to be largely accurate, while a comparable share (51%) expects it to be largely inaccurate. Other Twitter users with public accounts are more skeptical: 64% of nonpolitical tweeters and 58% of infrequent tweeters say they approach news stories from social media sites with the expectation that they will be largely inaccurate.

Differences on this question are driven largely by views among Democrats.

Democrats and Democratic leaners who tweet about politics are more likely than Democrats who don’t tweet about politics and Democrats who are infrequent tweeters to say they expect news stories from social media sites to be largely accurate (54% compared with 37% and 46%, respectively).

However, there is no comparable relationship among Republicans and Republican leaners. About two-thirds of Republicans across all three groups of Twitter users say they expect news stories from social media sites to be largely inaccurate.

Among the general public, Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to express distrust in news organizations and rate the impact of the national news media on the country negatively.
The most prolific political tweeters have behaviors and attitudes distinct from other U.S. adults on Twitter

As a group, political tweeters differ in numerous ways from those who tweet about nonpolitical topics and from those who rarely tweet at all. It’s also the case that there are meaningful differences within the group of users who tweet about national politics. The most prolific political tweeters (defined as those who tweeted at least 10 times and mentioned national politics in at least 25% of those tweets) stand out even from other political tweeters (whose political tweets make up a smaller share of their total output). Prolific political tweeters make up just 6% of all Twitter users but generate 20% of all tweets and 73% of tweets mentioning national politics.

Compared with other political tweeters, even larger shares of these highly prolific users say they largely follow others on Twitter who share their political views (51%) and that they follow the news closely whether or not something important is happening (92%). And this group is highly active in more traditional forms of political activity: 57% have contacted an elected official in the last year, while 38% have made a political donation and 34% have attended a rally.