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Content Foreword
Foreword 2 The rise of social media across Asia is not a story about the importance of blogs. It is not
about how people can collaborate on wikis or join in social networks. All of these are just
Introduction 3 pieces of the story. The bigger trend is that social media is allowing connections between
people in a way that has never happened before. From international friendships to regional
What is Social Media? 5 conversations, the web is moving from a static collection of pages to a more social
communications platform where word of mouth counts. What does this mean for brands?
The Social Media evolution 7 That the world we are all marketing our products and services in is changing around us,
because our customers are evolving along with the tools available to them. This is not just
Why should brands care? 9 happening in one part of the world, it is a global shift.

Asia Market Analysis 11 Yet it is not happening in the same way in every country. The problem with much of the
social media advice is that it is based on lessons learned in one part of the world without
Social Media dynamics 31
a more local connection. As a global agency, we face this cross cultural challenge often.
Social Media planning 33 So much so, that it has led to the collaborative piece that you now hold in your hands. This
is a study about the impact of social media across Asia and how it is helping to bring brands
Measurement 36 to life. It was prepared by bringing together digital experts from more than 10 countries
across the Ogilvy network. Top rated bloggers, digital strategists, public relations pros and
Tips for success 37 media planners all shared their expertise to develop a comprehensive look at Asia from
market to market.
Case studies 40
The result is a surprisingly fresh look at social media from the perspective of 12 different
How to get started 48 countries across the Asia region. In this guide, you will see actionable insights, useful
statistics, and relevant country-based information. When I first read it, I found it uniquely
References 49
useful. Since then, I have kept it beside me as I started to plan global social media strategy
Acknowledgements 50 as an invaluable cultural resource to understand the state of social media in key markets.
If you are trying to unlock the potential of social media, I suspect you will find this report
similarly illuminating.

Rohit Bhargava
SVP, Digital Strategy & Founding Member of Ogilvy's 360 Digital Influence Group
Author, Personality Not Included (a guide for brands on using your personality for marketing)
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All brands can have a social life. Big brands, small home grown brands, business brands,
consumer brands and individuals who want to create their own ‘personal’ brand. Social media
is democratic by nature and the barriers to entry are relatively low.

This study provides direction to brand marketers and digital consultants on how to design a
social media strategy in Asia as part of a brand’s overall digital strategy. It starts by defining
social media, as well as giving insights into its similarities and differences across key Asian
markets - China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore,
Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. It then provides practical, hands on advice on what steps brands
should take to plan their social media strategies along with frameworks and tips for success.

As social media is changing, this is a dynamic study which invites you to share your questions,
observations and experiences. By exchanging ideas, it will get more marketers to better
understand social media in Asia, and in turn deliver more effective solutions that not only
enhance consumer’s lives but deliver deeper value to brands.

This study does not have all the answers, but hopefully goes some way towards addressing
the key questions or at least stimulating the debate.

Please join the conversation at

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1. Social Networking Platforms

What is Social Media? Sites that connect friends and their peer networks together spurred by user generated content
of all forms. These networks are growing by the day to become habitual platforms for people
Social Media is the combination of channels, platforms, communities, content1 and tools that to stay in touch. Often thought of as ‘interactive address books’, big players in Asia include
power the phenomenon of peer to peer communication or ‘word of mouth’. Cyworld, Hi-5, Mixi, Friendster, Orkut, Facebook, Bebo and My Space.

This breaks down into 6 areas [see Figure 1]: 2. Social Bookmarking Platforms
1. Social Networking Platforms This is an emerging area in the region riding on the back of the power of aggregation. These
2. Social Bookmarking Platforms sites aggregate and promote content on the web through indexing, user-collaboration and
3. Content, Applications & Media voting mechanisms to save time. Examples of this include, digg, Yahoo! Answers
4. Blogging Platforms and Wikipedia.
5. Social Gaming
6. Social Connectivity Tools 3. Content, Applications & Media
There are a number of sites that are considered the forefathers of ‘Web2.0’, by making it easy
Let’s describe these briefly in turn. to create, store and share content by putting that power in the user’s hands. These entities
essentially host and store proprietary content of all forms, and because of their richness are
becoming destinations in their own right. They also become the source of a lot of the content
that users are publishing back into their social networks and include FlickR, You Tube and
application developers such as

4. Blogging Platforms
Blogs and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) continue to be a major source of social media providing
platforms for communities to come together, opinions to be voiced (often anonymous) and
discussion on a range of topics. These have evolved from the modern day form of a ‘public
diary’ to a ‘broadcast platform’ for individuals to share their news and connect. The personal
nature of blogs continues to remain popular particularly for entertainment and educational
purposes as well as for citizen journalism. Today bloggers have credibility as public informers
and as a result of RSS and micro-blogs, are highly inter-connected and collaborative. Key
enablement platforms include blogger, blogspot, typepad, twitter and wordpress.

5. Social Gaming
Asia would not be complete without the mention of social gaming and it will be interesting to
see how this phenomena will spread. The internet has made it possible for users to connect
and escape into gaming worlds where teams can compete and participate realtime against
other gamers. These specialist sites include World of Warcraft and Ragnarok, and have a
tribal following.

6. Social Connectivity Tools

All of the above entities would not be able to operate if it wasn’t for the connectivity tools that
power them – email, SMS, RSS feeds, instant messenger and live chat. Each of them fuel the
dialogue and connectivity that make it the place to flirt, debate, game, share, exchange, vent.
Platforms for deeper connections.

Figure 1: Asia Social Media Landscape

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The Social Media evolution

Social media is an evolution in the development of social connectivity. In the offline world,
people buy their newspapers to get their news. They take pictures, print them out, put them
in an album and share with friends. They call their family for a chat. They send letters and
birthday cards to loved ones. In the digital world, nothing has really changed, it’s just become
so much easier. Technology has made things faster, more affordable and is able to deliver it
on a larger scale making it accessible to everyone – from individuals to the smallest brand.

SPEED – ability to connect faster

SCALE – ability to reach far more people than ever before
COST – ability to participate, create and generate content

As a result, traditional media entities have taken note and seized the potential of the
interconnected-ness of the consumer worldwide. BBC is among many to create its YouTube
channel, AOL has invested USD850m in Bebo not to mention entrepreneurial players in the
region such as Li Ka Shing’s USD120m punt in Facebook, the launch of a dedicated YouTube
channel in India and the many VC funded social media entities that are popping up in China,
Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Malaysia. The list goes on.

Social media has transformed the way people consume information, and that will continue to
happen. News spreads faster, trends gather pace, people connect and information is available –
to all - on an unprecedented level.

And the implications are significant. If you’re not online for a few days let alone hours, you run
the risk of being out of date. Social media launches stars. Take the Backdorm Boys in China,
Duk-In Joo in Korea, Wan Wan in Taiwan, Kenny Sia in Malaysia and Mr Brown in Singapore.
It also fails them. Take Edison Chan in Hong Kong and the high society exposés by Brian Gorrell
in the Philippines.

It’s also big for politics and news. Campaigns are being won and lost through social media in
Asia, and the web is the platform for a new type of reporter - the citizen journalist. Take the
election campaign in Malaysia and the amazing coverage of the China earthquake in Sichuan
Province in early 2008. These examples are all evidence that social media is transforming the
way consumers interact with each other online, and most importantly that people really do
listen and trust what other people have to say.

Humans are social beings, they like to share things, talk together and technology
lets them do it on an unprecedented level.

Ken Mandel
Regional Managing Director, Yahoo! South East Asia
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Why should brands Right now, the largest single group of users on the Internet today is in Asia. Half a billion

in Asia care? Asian users. And that’s only 14% penetration. So when they get to 70% penetration which
is where we are in the US and some parts of Europe, we’re talking about a couple of billion
people. That’s a very, very big customer base. It’s a very diverse customer base but the
There are 4 key reasons: internet can reach all of them once we get to that penetration level. So this is a really
exciting place to be.
1. Social Media is big in Asia.
Brands cannot underestimate the size of social media in Asia. Over 450 million consumers are Vinton Cerf
engaging with social media, some of whom are as dependent on it as their Western counterparts, Vice President & Chief Internet Evangelist, Google Inc.
if not more. When social media eventually goes mobile, the numbers reach over a billion, and
this scale is something that brands cannot ignore.
The consumer can now make a huge stink about something if they are not
2. Consumer opinion counts more than ever. happy about it. And so if a company isn’t going to be there online monitoring
Consumers in Asia are talking about your brands whether you like it or not, and that opinion that and contributing to the discussion in a positive way, then they’re going
has a huge impact on their views of a brand and consideration to purchase. 7 of the top 10 to pay the price. The most obvious examples are that simply a blogger is
markets that rely most on ‘recommendations from consumers’ hail from the Asia region2. The unhappy with a product and will post something online and that then through
internet is a platform that people listen to and learn about your brand. If you’re not participating Google, through search engines becomes a kind of mecca, a big kind of
in the discussion or feeding into it, you are likely to lose. water fountain around which other disaffected users and consumers will
gather. Now if the company doesn’t know that that website exists, or tries
3. Consumers are highly connected and harder to reach then before. to ignore it or worse knows that it exists and tries to crush it, then they are
The diversity of Asia needs no reminder, and this further accentuates the need to understand going to experience serious problems.
commonalities and differences in media repertoire as well as consumer motivations. Marketers
are losing the ability to reach consumers in the way they used to as social media starts to Jeremy Wagstaff
displace aspects of traditional brand advertising. Building a corporate website and driving Technology Commentator, BBC, WSJ,
traffic is simply not enough, and calls for brands to re-evaluate the way they reach their
audiences. Brands that understand social media by creating a web of activity that can influence
and surround the target audience are most likely to be effective. There’s not the same ability, the same physics of the old days where you buy a few things
[media] and you reach your audience. Today, the audience is an aggregation of in some
4. The Y-Generation3 live their lives in social media and if you’re not talking to them, cases, thousands of individual points, individual blogs, destinations and sites that in totality
someone else will. get the audience that a marketer is looking for.
Social media creates a huge opportunity for brand marketers where they can connect with
their target audience like never before. Though the importance of this media may be in its Kent Wertime
infancy with some of the older demographic segments, there is no disputing that for the President, OgilvyOne Asia
Y-Generation and future generations, social media is part and parcel of their daily lives. Brands
that fail to appreciate this opportunity will risk losing an entire base of consumers in the future
making social media not just a growth strategy but a defensive one too. You should try to embrace as many different forms of media as possible
because different audiences are in different places. But you will see an
increasing amount of, especially the younger generation that’s going to hang
out online and be comfortable in communities and social media. And if you
don’t market to them, or if you don’t have dialogues with them (not even
market to them.) ... then you’re going to lose an entire customer base.

Lee Kin Mun

Founder & Blogger,
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Asia Social Media Market Analysis

Asia Market Analysis:
The size of the pie Asia Social Media
Statistics Population 2008 Forecast Internet
Users 2008
Estimated Social
Media User
(% Breakdown Forecast 2008
We estimate that just under a 3rd of the world’s online population or a staggering 456M users 2008)
in Asia are actively consuming social media. There will always be differences in reported data
but irrespective of whether it’s 450m or 470m or even 500m, the numbers are too big to be China 1,330,044,605 253,000,000 19.0% 202,400,000
ignored as social media becomes endemic in internet culture. What’s most important to Hong Kong 7,018,636 4,878,713 69.5% 3,902,970
understand is the vast differences in adoption and use of social media.
India 1,147,995,898 60,000,000 5.2% 48,000,000
In Japan and Korea who arguably lead the world in terms of sophistication, it’s all about Indonesia 237,512,355 25,000,000 10.5% 20,000,000
ubiquitous access (mobile and PC internet) and rich functional engagement through intimate
Japan 127,288,419 94,000,000 73.8% 75,200,000
social networking, open blogging and gaming. China, on the other hand has its social media
roots in discussion, information gathering and sharing through public bulletin boards and Korea, South 49,232,844 34,820,000 70.7% 27,856,000
blogging with broadcast entertainment on the rise, and this pattern is being fast followed by
Malaysia 25,274,133 14,904,000 59.0% 11,923,200
Taiwan from a much smaller base.
Pakistan 167,762,040 17,500,000 10.4% 14,000,000
Other markets in the region vary significantly. In Hong Kong and Singapore which have high Philippines 92,681,453 14,000,000 15.1% 11,200,000
digital penetration and rich broadband, the role of social media is catching on but splits acutely
between English and Chinese speaking dialects who are consuming the medium in different Singapore 4,608,167 4,026,400 87.4% 3,221,120
ways to augment their personal and professional networks. Taiwan 22,920,946 15,400,000 67.2% 12,320,000

Thailand 65,493,298 13,416,000 20.5% 10,732,800

India too has evolved its very own type of social media centering on personal and professional
networking. Matrimonial sites are hot platforms for socially engaging, and LinkedIn finds its Vietnam 86,116,559 20,159,615 23.4% 16,127,692
highest demographics are Indians both at home and abroad. The opportunity for entertainment
TOTAL ASIA 3,363,949,353 571,625,328 456,883,782
from the home of Bollywood needs no reminding as broadband penetration slowly increases.
The Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia have a thriving social media scene which cannot be TOTAL WORLD 6,676,120,288 1,463,632,361 31%
ignored by brands. Social networking and blogging are the key platforms for expression
extending from the leading portals. Entertainment is on the rise but still secondary. Even the Sources: i] [population and internet user forecast Jun 2008] - China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia,
likes of Indonesia and Thailand have embraced social media by providing a platform for Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Total Asia Pacific and Total World.
netizens to collaborate with each other and to reach out and learn from public blogs in ways ii] Singapore population and internet user forecast - IDA Jun 2008. iii] Social media estimates
they couldn’t through traditional media. What is most important is that their high use of mobile based on calculation of 80% of forecast users reflecting endemic nature of social media amongst internet community.
has already seen internet-enabled SMS services being offered in these markets to see mobile
start to go social. Figure 2: Asia Social Media Statistics

Figure 2 provides a macro view of what’s happening in social media to provide a sense of scale.
To give a more balanced perspective, working with Ogilvy’s in-market digital specialists and
a wide range of desk research, we have pulled together a view by market of the different
‘Who said that Asia was following?’ I mean, what statistics can you show me to prove that?
motivations and trends - political, social, economic, cultural or otherwise – to help marketers
...It’s not the highest percentage of the population but the largest total aggregate block is in Asia.
better understand what role social media is having in its consumer’s lives, the opportunities,
If you look at blogs, a third of the bloggers in the world are in Japan. If you look at the developments
and why it is gripping Asia overall.
in mobile, a lot of that, the most cutting edge stuff is happening in places like Japan and Korea
but increasingly China, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan are very innovative new users
of technology.

Kent Wertime
President, OgilvyOne Asia
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Social Media Clustering

For regional marketers in Asia, trying to define a role and plan for social media is no easy task.
The Social Media Cluster Grid provides a framework to try and organize the vast data looking
at it in the context of the prevalence of, and dependence on ‘social media’ in the consumer’s
life. This needs to be overlaid onto the brand’s business and marketing objectives but provides
a point of view on how to make sense of the wide differences in social media across the region
and serves as a useful starting point.

SOCIAL MEDIA Cluster 1: Cluster 2: Cluster 3: Cluster 4:


MARKETS China Hong Kong Malaysia Indonesia

Japan India Philippines Thailand
Korea Singapore Vietnam

DEFINITION Social media has Social media is Social media is Due to infrastructure
matured and is a reaching the ‘tipping gathering pace but is restrictions, social
pivotal part of the point’ amongst yet to reach critical media collaboration
consumer’s digital these markets as mass - symptomatic is limited to text
ecosystem. This is consumers start to of urban/rural based blogging,
accounted for by integrate it into their infrastructure gap. forums and instant
pervasive broadband daily lives. This has Simple text-based messenging. The
as well as maturity been enabled social media - opportunity for a rich
of home grown through an increase bulletin boards and social networking
social networking, in high broadband blogs - are the experience is yet to
bulletin board infrastructure and foundation. However, be realised though it
platforms and social media from the urban cities are may leapfrog to
increasing West as well as Asia. starting to see the mobile social media
multi-channel emergence of social with the emergence
convergence. networking in line of affordable
with broadband integrated mobile
improvements, and internet services.
can expect to see a
big jump as

IMPLICATIONS Social media must Opportunity for Brands have an Brands should
feature as a core part brands to take a lead opportunity to reach consider translating
of the digital strategy and stand out from early adopters by learnings from catch
in these markets their competitors in starting to engage up markets or initiate
alongside search. these markets as with social media in pilot programs with
Absence of social overall brand activity these territories. less brand exposure.
media activity is a is still immature.
major gap and risk
for brands.

STRATEGIES Use these markets to Use these markets to Deploy proven social Explore basic mobile
build sustained innovate new social media solutions to social media
relationships with key media marketing geo-segments e.g. opportunities, and
influencers. Test and tactics to attain youth segments in take some risks by
trial solutions on learnings which Kuala Lumpur, testing alternative
both PC and mobile could flow down to Manila or Hanoi ways to reach
internet. catch-up markets. where results can consumers and build
be monitored. mindshare.
Start listening to
going on.

Figure 3: Asia Social Media Cluster Grid OgilvyOne 2008©

Note: These clusters were derived from Ogilvy methodology using a scoring system on the following indicators – the user’s
dependence on social media, internet penetration, social media size and 3G mobile internet size.
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Cluster 1: Leader Markets

China, Korea, Japan


Prevalence of Social Media Prevalence of Social Media
The sheer size and economic growth rate in China makes it a country to watch, for all brands in Broadband has determined the future for Korea’s technological advancement. Ubiquitous access to
the region. As of July 2008, there were an official 253m4 online users with an estimated 200m broadband from the late 1990s has meant that early adoption of social media services and voice over
consuming social media.The total represents a 56.2% year-on-year growth – up by 91 million from IP have become a way of life – when North American and European counterparts - were in their
June of last year. Impressively, 84.7% of Chinese internet users are now accessing the Net via infancy. The result is the world’s most advanced digital usage across ages and demographics with
broadband5 representing over 214m6 broadband users. The internet has also become a pivotal rich media content at the heart of the service.
platform for entertainment along with eCommerce which has come of age, growing from RMB120b
in turnover in 2001 to RMB1,020b18 in 2008. All this is set to grow even faster as broadband continues Dependence on Social Media
to roll out.
Social Networking Leaders
Along with internet penetration, there were 500m mobile subscribers by the end of 20077. Out of
Social networking is big business in Korea. Cyworld has had a significant effect on the market’s
these mobile subscribers, 73.05m owners used their devices to go online8. Access via mobile phone
internet culture by being the world’s first successful cyberworld (social network) on a mass scale
is still mainly supplemental, and is rarely the main means, primarily leveraging the channel for
(>18m accounts28), dominating and creating a consolidated platform where consumers can handle
Instant Messenger (IM) and SMS.
their social lives and more. Its mash-up of social networking, blogging, music and video-sharing has
Dependence on Social Media drawn users whilst monetising itself through eCommerce – video and music – to become the world’s
2nd29 largest music/ video retailer behind iTunes.
Speaking Out
With approximately 48%30 of Korean’s population having a Cyworld account and 30%31 of its users
Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) are at the heart of China’s social media with 10m9 posts published being in their 20s, it’s no surprise that its success has made little space for new entrants. Cyworld
daily and 80%10 of Chinese sites running their own BBS. An active BBS is the most valuable has also created a language in Korea. Apart from the abbreviations commonly used in Korea amongst
component of a brand’s digital campaign11 and an essential social element to all sites. Monitoring network users, the individuals home page or ‘hompy’ is commonly talked about. Personalised to
conversations on BBS is an invaluable gauge to determine what brand perception is. include favourite ‘streaming music’, Koreans now only buy music digitally (CD is for the older
Blogging, while not anonymous, has also taken off, with blogging listed among the top ten generation) and competently stream it as background music to their home page as well as to their
applications for Chinese netizens. 107m people say they use blogs and personal spaces, approximately mobile devices. To date, over 200m songs have been downloaded on Cyworld generating over
42.3% of the Chinese Netizenry. US$100m32 in sales revenues.

Entertainment-lovers Mobile Ubiquity

An overwhelming majority of Chinese citizens use social media for digital music and video, utilizing Rich media and mobile come hand in hand. Mobile TV is passé in Korea. What people can do online,
digital channels as their entertainment superhighway. Of the top ten applications, the three biggest they can do via their mobile, and the channel is used to store and view downloaded content from the
entertainment apps are music, video, and online games. Internet music remains the biggest, with web while on the go. Cyworld, backed by Korea’s largest telco (SK) has ensured ubiquitous access
use rates of 84.5%, or 214m people and internet video use at 71%, and online gaming at 58.3%12. and removed all barriers including pricing so that individuals can really experience the opportunities
They are major drivers of internet use growth in China. This is reflected in the rise of YouTube- presented by web2.0. The strategy has worked with 43%33 of SK’s revenues coming from Cyworld
like video broadcasting platforms such as and, which deliver as much as itself. As a result, high quality mobile phones are used to create content with ease and post them
100m13 video views daily to 12m users directly and through national broadcast sites. These channels to Cyworld in seconds where they can be voted, commented on and vy for the home page status.
address the demand for user and professionally generated content delivered at speeds that are Trusted Communities
faster than in the United States. Word of mouth is a very powerful phenomenon in Korea. Koreans tend to find safety in numbers so
Social Networking vertical blog forums are core sources for information gathering and sharing through the leading
portals of Naver (31m visitors/ month34) and Daum (29m visitors/ month35).
Being connected is a core part of a young person’s life in urban China with over half14 of netizens
making new friends online and 90%15 of young people using IM to connect with their friends. It’s not uncommon for a Korean to post a question on one of the popular question and answer sites
The instant connectivity with friends is what drives the growth of BBS, IM usage and in turn, such as ‘Knowledge In’ from Naver to request an answer within 24 hours, and to show thanks using
social networks. ‘knowledge points’. This type of collaborative usage makes the internet a powerful and dependable
resource. However, unlike Wikipedia which focuses on editorial accuracy and integrity of content,
Tencent ‘rules the space’16 having evolved from an Instant Messenger company circa 199917 to a
the posted answer will likely have no mechanism to check for accuracy. Instead, the Korean puts
social media empire that includes one of China’s most popular social networks, Q Zone, as well
trust in the integrity of the online respondent and the speed in getting an answer.
as a leading portal and online game platform.
In addition to community collaboration, these forums are becoming broadcast platforms and most
Two well-funded companies with social networking offerings more like those popular in the west recently have been used for socio-political means to mobilize and generate support. For example,
are also vying with Tencent for dominance. has been successful in penetrating lower-tier Agora, the online forum in Daum was recently used to organize passive, candle-lit protests offline
cities and hinterland provinces with 120m18 users and plans to move into the gaming space with against the governments’ decision to resume the import of American beef. Digital media was used
‘Giant’ the online game developer., the Facebook-like, campus-based social network to orchestrate, co-ordinate and amplify the activity, broadcasting the live demonstrations.
which raised a whopping $430m and. enjoys a dominant market share in traditional social networking
according to Shanghai-based iResearch, is now targeting the students and white collar workers. Intimate Blogging
The early movers with large user bases (and war chests) may well continue to dominate the market, The primary motivation36 for blogging in Korea is to communicate with acquaintances by sharing
but newcomers like Kaixin001, which has soared in popularity just in recent months, may still play their thoughts. Culturally, there are some cultural differences37 in the way personal blogs in Korea
an important role. There is little doubt that social networking will continue to take hold in the way are constructed from those in the West. In general, Western blogs comprise originated content -
it has in Japan and Korea, but without one company dominating the way Mixi and Cyworld do in discussions, photographs, pictures – designed to stimulate opinion and discussion. However, most
those respective markets. of the content you find on a Korean blog is an alternative form of expression. Blogs tend to comprise
a highly personal aggregation of ‘cut and pasted’ content from existing mainstream media sources
creating a ‘digital scrapbook’ or virtual filing mechanism. The intimacy of blogging thus makes it a
more private platform for marketers.
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Gaming Addicts
Gaming in Korea is a key pillar and somewhat of a national obsession. It’s not uncommon for
teenagers or even young businessmen to head off after school/ work to one of the PC Bangs (or
internet cafes) to finesse skills in Lineage II – Korean’s most popular online game double the
size of World of Warcraft with 14m users38. Successful online gamers39 are paid professionals
becoming sporting superstars in their own right with endorsements and celebrity status. Whilst
gaming cuts across all demographics and ages, the alarming appeal to very young netizens with
65% of 5 years old40 using the internet to play online games has potential negative social
ramifications. This raises challenges to brands who want to find an ethical and socially responsible
means to tap into this passion.

Prevalence of Social Media
Social media has become an important part of modern Japan by providing a virtual extension to its
traditional emphasis on personal relationships. Combined with pervasive broadband & mobile (3+G)
internet, it provides the basis for a strong social media culture satisfying an estimated 75m users19.
Dependence on Social Media
Blog Nation
Japan is a nation of bloggers. ‘Japanese‘ is the most used language in the blogosphere and the
highest blog readership in the world (74%)20. Blogging is used habitually to create a positive record
of one’s thoughts using pictures, videos and text much the same way as a diary. Anonymous
blogging and the creation of avatars indicate that the Japanese do not like to speak out overtly and
be seen as confrontational. This reserved cultural reality is starting to change as younger Japanese,
brought up with technology, are increasingly using it to share their views and opinions publicly and
to speak out. They are also able to plug into what everyone’s blogging about using a Japanese
based blog search engine called which aggregates the most popular key words from 7m
authors and 171m entries.
Key blog sites include Yahoo! blog, Ameba, Livedoor, Hatena diary, so-net and cocolog, but the
most popular consumer blogs are tech blogs such as Gigazine, Gizmodo and Engadget21 as well
as some celebrity or “Otaku” blogs – Akiba and Shokotan. In addition to typical blog sites, Tokyo
consistently has the highest daily twitter activity out of all the global cities22 which fits in with its
blogging profile.
Not so-Social Networking
Local Japanese social networking sites adhere to the traditional maintenance of close personal
relationships by extending connections to one or two degrees of separation versus western grown
sites promoting ‘six degrees of separation’. With 90% of Japanese not being able to read English,
it’s no surprise that Japan’s social media users have opted for localized domestic sites and content,
for use across PC and mobile platforms. Not surprisingly, social network sites have already
consolidated versus other parts of the region due to its controlled ‘invitation-only policy’ and the
power of word of mouth popularizing primary sites.
Mixi is the ‘de facto’ social networking site for Japanese-speaking netizens with 80%23 market
share, having 10m users (1/8 of the wired market) and a staggering 11b page views a month. Mixi
provides a bird’s eye view of one’s relations on the net making it easy to connect and maintain
contact through the diary, footprint, forum and message functions. It has become an entrenched
daily communication tool for young netizens using it to listen, share music, chat and track back
to friends. Gree with 4m users24 is its closest competitor and has taken a different slice of the
market by targeting older professionals and providing customized content to cater for the more
discerning consumer. Both platforms are accessed via the mobile phone with 30%25 of Mixi and
25% of Gree26 users, and this has spurned the rise of dedicated mobile social networking sites
such as Mobage-town with 9.87m users27 indicating the trend of things to come.
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Cluster 2: Developing Markets

Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, India

Prevalence of Social Media
Hong Kong has one of the highest internet penetrations and breadth of broadband (2m subscribers41)
in the developing world, with over 72% of the population online42. There are an estimated 3.9m
netizens dipping into social media in Hong Kong. Though they are active, social media in itself
is still quite a passive exercise for the majority of Hong Kongers making it ‘not as’ social as one
might expect.
Dependence on Social Media
Social Networking Polarisation
Just over half (53.2%)43 of active internet users have a social network profile in Hong Kong. This
splits broadly between Facebook (1m users44) frequented by a slightly older, western-educated set
and the locally targeted Xanga (1.8m users)45 dominated by slightly younger Hong Kong Chinese.
Though these players hold marketshare, the way in which these networks are used varies
considerably. Facebookers in Hong Kong tend to be highly collaborative and participative in their
networks by ‘poking’ their friends or updating their pictures to keep in touch, and entertain.
The motivation for Xanga, however, is far more reserved. For young Hong Kong secondary school
students, it’s a way to express oneself and to passively share thoughts on things that matter to
them amongst their inner circle – an evolution in some ways from personal blogging and instant
The novelty for social networking in a country where proximity provides little barrier to communication,
and where mobile communication is prevalent (157% penetration47), does beg some questions
opening up the opportunity for more mobile social networking similar to Korea and Japan.
As the ‘advertising capital of the world’ (US$7B48) with the highest per capita spending, it’s no
coincidence that Hong Kongers value the open, honest and less commercialised opinions that they
find in social forums and professional blogs. This strong faith in ‘word of mouth’ is evidenced with
93%49 of online users claiming that they rely most on ‘recommendations from consumers’ and
65.8%50 of active internet users claiming to have read a blog.
This trend has resulted in the birth of homegrown forums such as the highly popular Cantonese
site - (8%marketshare51) with 1m52 registered users - hosting 9,00053 discussion
boards from topics as broad as the military to western art galleries. Other sites include Yahoo’s, and interest-led sites such as and
The accessibility and openness in sharing opinion and information on these exchanges is an
important social media success story in Hong Kong particularly amongst Traditional Chinese users.
These sites will continue to remain popular, as will sites on the mainland that are accessed through
Baidu search.
Surprisingly, political blogs or citizen journalism which are gathering pace in mainland China are
practically non existent in Hong Kong. This is mainly attributed54 to a relatively open freedom of
expression, as Hong Kongers don’t yet feel that they have to treasure or tap these new outlets to
get heard.
Image-Obsessed Youth
The young Hong Kong Chinese are more worried about their appearance than their US counterparts
with 39%55 citing ‘looking good’ and 53% citing ‘overweight’ as key fears. It therefore comes as no
surprise that this ‘image-obsessed generation’loves to go online and check out Canto-gossip, film,
fashion and music hits from entertainment and blog sites in Hong Kong and the mainland.
Celebrity blogs such as the (now infamous) Edison Chen Koon-hei and Eason Chan Yick-shun sites
are popular amongst fans as are rich media video destinations like YouTube and its Chinese
equivalent to view the official and uncut versions before sharing them with their friends.
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Prevalence of Social Media Prevalence of Social Media
With over 80%63 broadband penetration, it is hardly surprising that this connected nation has found Taiwan can claim to be the first country in the world to have installed broadband infrastructure
space for social media. The Government is supportive of digital as a progressive platform for island-wide, providing connectivity to remote communities. Internet users exceed 60% of the
economic growth and its investment in wireless broadband64, the ultra high speed digital highway population and an increasing number, 47% of internet connections are broadband76. The government
infrastructure65 and commitment to nurturing digital talent is testament to this. Aided by English- has committed the country to being on a par with the US by 201077. The high penetration of
literacy (the country’s official business language), it has meant that Singaporeans have been fast broadband enables Taiwanese to access large amounts of content and empowers a digitally savvy
to adopt Western social media behaviours. country with an estimated 12m78 social media users.
Dependence on Social Media Dependence on Social Media
Blog Express Nation of Newscasters
According to a survey, 51%66 of Singaporeans trust a blog as much as they do traditional media In a country where sensationalism in traditional media channels is commonplace, citizen journalism
and the Google ‘Blogger’platform now ranks 5th67 on the top 100 most visited sites for Singapore. is growing in Taiwan due to widespread dissatisfaction with the range and quality of traditional
Despite the growth of this medium, the reality of the internet being a completely ‘open channel’ news sources. The proliferation of social media channels to express opinions, comment on the
for expression is some way off. An unofficial blog etiquette has evolved in Singapore with slanderous news, and share content, has brought about competition and altered the traditional business model
bloggers facing extreme penalties. That said, the Government welcomes entrepreneurial thinking of mainstream media. UDN and Chinatimes are at the forefront of this trend with Apple Daily and
and positive expression resulting in the evolution of an active and influential blogger community Liberty Times also allowing commentary on their sites.
which brands are starting to tap in the City State.
Star Bloggers
Social Networking
Wan Wan. Amaryliss. Amykaku. Taiwan is a nation filled with star bloggers exuding mass appeal.
Social networking & forums are the dominant sub-category online, representing 10.2%68 of all Across its active internet base, blogging has become a popular channel for the propagation of
Internet visits by Singapore users and evidenced with the meteoric rise of social networks. Friendster individual opinions with 86.6% having read a blog, and 70.9% having started a blog themselves.
dominates the landscape with 13.31% marketshare69 and 940k70 unique visitors per month to its Blogging in Taiwan has led to a yearly blogger’s conference “TW Bloggers BoF” over 600 Taiwanese
closest rival Facebook’s 495k71 unique visitors (the 3rd largest market penetration for Facebook in Bloggers. The event is self-organized, by local enthusiastic bloggers, and sponsored by the Taiwan
Asia Pacific). Though the relative newcomer has continued to grow +7.5% a month since January Government Information Office as well as traditional media like TVBS, China TV, China Times ISP’s
2008, Friendster is not likely to give up its dominance so easily as it invests aggressively to retain and web 2.0 companies79.
its young captive audience. Though other social networks do register72 such as Multiply, Windows
Live Spaces and Xanga, the reality is that the battleground is firmly set between Facebook and Socially Charged
Friendster. BBS in Taiwan is big, with over 1.84m unique visitors a month.
What makes these networks so popular is their simplicity and accessibility. Singaporeans spend Social media is also coming of age with 63.1% of Taiwanese maintaining their own social networking
a significant amount of time online a day, and being quite a reserved populus, social networks site and engaging with various forms of social media from uploading photos (69%), to watching
provide a culturally acceptable way for connecting. Singaporean netizens are the most likely73 videos (89.25) and downloading podcasts (33%). Despite being highly engaged with the most popular
people in Asia to visit and check out other people’s profiles on a social network demonstrating entertainment forms of social media, downloading music is not one of Taiwan’s top social media
its power as a channel to reach out and connect with others non intrusively. activities.80
For similar reasons, the anonymity aspect of Forums has allowed them to become important social Mobile Ready
exchanges for interest groups. One example is the hardwarezone community which is the 18th Taiwan has more than 24m mobile subscribers, with over 6.5m on 3G.81 Despite mobile penetration,
most visited site74 in Singapore addressing the needs of technorati. Other specialist forums include mobile internet is still a minority activity with only 9.25% of Taiwanese going online using a mobile, and expatsingapore. These are obvious device primarily because of the high cost82 Among mobile internet users, downloading ringtones
platforms for brands to reach niche audiences, and with 24%75 of Singaporeans claiming that the (38.36%) and browsing (21.14%) are the most popular activities.
online presence of brands ‘significantly’ increases their interest, becomes a compelling platform
for branded placement.
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Prevalence of Social Media
India is one of the fastest growing online markets in the region with a total of 60m56 and projected
to grow to 71m57 users and 10.5m broadband users by 2011. The internet’s appetite from the Indian
populus, centers around its use for socializing (chatting/ networking and Instant Messenger) as
well as entertainment, finding matrimonial matches, and professional advancement58.
This reflects the demographic skew of the internet in India which favours educated and affluent,
English speaking Indians rather than Hindi or other dialects.
In terms of mobile numbers India is second only to China in the region, with 142 million59 mobile
subscribers, double that of landline owners. The channel promises to be big for the future with
licenses just issued for 3G60 circumventing the regulatory issues that, until now, have impeded
growth for anything beyond basic SMS and photo uploading for social media.
Dependence on Social Media
A Happy Threesome. TV. Internet. Mobile.
TV, internet, and mobile have found each other. India is one of the few markets that tie on and
offline channels in an integrated multi-channel social media marketing mix. With their mobile
devices, friends and online buddies send messages via short code to television programs which
are displayed at the bottom of popular TV programs.
And with the partnership of Zee Dish TV and, traditional and online integration will
be even stronger as brands bring interactive matrimonial services to subscribers – a notable social
media trend where real world ‘word of mouth’ has been extended to digital channels. The new
service will enable Zee Dish TV subscribers to select from’s vast profile base and
display the relevant matches on the TV screen with daily profile refreshes. With this partnership,
the doors open for other joint TV/internet engagements for brands to capitalize on.
Brand Evangelism
While blogging has not taken off in a big way in India, it is not due to a lack of opinion. Strong
sentiments towards brands, whether positive or negative are widely voiced in forums and self-
formed groups within social networking sites. Self-appointed ‘brand protectors’ adamantly defend
or defame favored or disfavored brands in the social networking space at platforms such as and
Climbing the Corporate Ladder
The internet is a popular channel for professional advancement. “Job searching’ is the 2nd61 most
popular use of the internet with 73% of consumers using it for this purpose – even higher than
news. As further proof, the highest demographics on LinkedIn are both resident and non-resident
Indians (NRI) who are leveraging their connections on the net to find and develop their careers.
Acknowledging this trend, homegrown professional networks such as Ryze have been born but
are increasingly losing ground to more established players.
Entertainment Channel Biggest Driver
Broadband brings with it rich media delivery and the recent launch of (India’s YouTube)
fuels the reality that social media will take a new life in the coming months. As yet, there is
little local content developed, but there soon will be, starting with the entertainment field and
the recent Rajshri/ deal, where full Hindi movies will become available through
YouTube. Increased access to dedicated Indian content will accelerate uptake in web usage and
power demand.
As an interesting twist, Indian entertainment consumption is not occurring solely in India with
30%62 of video consumption in a 24-hour window coming from Indians outside of India – USA, Japan
and Philippines in particular- an important consideration for brands wanting to focus on Indian
based consumers or opportunity for those wanting to reach Indian expatriates.
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Cluster 3: Developing Markets

Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam

Prevalence of Social Media
Social media is thriving in the Philippines. Despite one of the lowest internet penetration figures
in the world (15.6%) and only 14m Filipinos92 connected to the internet, social media consumption
has still become a prevalent channel with an estimated 11m93 users. Its strong culture of self
expression, entertainment, and networking leads to a natural synergy with social media as a
platform to express oneself, interact with friends, family and broadcast to a wider community.
With IDC estimating the growth of Internet users to grow to 21.5 million94 by the end of 2008,
there will be little doubt that social media will be play a much bigger part in the Philippines for
years to come.
Dependence on Social Media
Friendster and Multiply
A mix of social networking sites may exist all over Asia, but in the Philippines, Friendster with
10.7m95 subscribers is King. The Philippines makes up over 38.8% of Friendster’s users worldwide.
It’s such an important market, that Friendster, recognizing the low internet penetration in the
country, decided to complement online advertising with a mobile phone text messaging service
exclusively for Filipino users. Friendster also set up a Mobile Broadcast System, a chat application,
between the web and mobile phones to extend the use of Friendster Mobile in the Philippines.96
A challenger to Friendster is social media aggregator Multiply. With approximately 2.2m97 registered
users in the Philippines, Multiply saw its share of the Philippine market increase rapidly enough
to warrant an advertising deal with local media giant ABS-CBN in December 2007, then the launch
of Multiply Philippines98 in June 2008.
Blog This
The prevalence of blogging has become so popular in Philippines, there is a yearly award show –
the Philippine Blog Awards – which recognizes top blogging talent globally in a number of categories
- Filipino bloggers, mainstream media practitioners, as well as local corporations.
Blogging has become a powerful and respected broadcast platform used by media and government.
According to Noynoy Aquino99, “The blogosphere has become an extension of our democratic space
where we express an opinion. Bloggers are a most compelling force indeed that could shape an
informed vote.”
Internet Stars
With a nation of aspiring stars, it is not surprising to find that YouTube is the 3rd most popular site
in the country. More Filipino artists are finding avenues such as YouTube to share their talent online
and get discovered. For example, Alyssa Alano, an actress trying to break into stardom, gained
fame when a video of her singing Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” was uploaded to YouTube,
complete with garbled and incomprehensible lyrics. Similarly, Christine Gambito, a Fil-American
actress, was tapped by the Department of Tourism to promote the Philippines after her ‘Happyslip’
video blog gained a large following both at home and abroad.
But it’s not always good PR. Brian Gorrell100, an Australian, exposed Filipino high society with his
posts on their fraud and widespread drug use resulting in a public scandal. Whilst doing them
some harm, he himself attained minor celebrity status and now hosts a radio show from Australia.
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Prevalence of Social Media Prevalence of Social Media
Social media in Malaysia is still in its nascent stages. Malaysia currently has 13.5m internet users The internet in Vietnam is rapidly growing across demographics with 20% penetration rate101 and
(50%)83 up 265% from 2000. Despite the growth, only 5% of the total population is on broadband around 18m102 users online. Broadband service is still nascent at 7%103 penetration. The internet
thus limiting the wider rich media opportunity. This is set to change as the government has slated addresses the demand created from highly regulated and controlled offline media and gives
a 30% broadband target by 2010 as well as allocating RM12.2b to develop the ‘knowledge economy’ consumers a channel to openly express themselves. Basic mobiles have experienced phenomenal
and build digital savviness. Today, we estimate social media users at around 11m84 albeit in a update with a predicted 270% growth to reach 46m mobile users by 2010104. That said, mobile as
basic form. a channel is largely untapped and limited to basic SMS services even since the opening of the
telecom industry to private sector investment in 2006105.
Dependence on Social Media
The population of Vietnam has a youth skew with 60% (over 80m people) under the age of 30. The
Speaking Out young population coupled with the opening of the internet in 1997106, has created demand for trial
With tight Government controls over traditional media in Malaysia, it’s no surprise that the internet and exploration online. The teen oriented websites in Vietnam record monthly page views from a
has become an outlet for Malaysian netizens to express themselves. Ironically, politics has been few hundred thousand to a few million.107 As a result, internet usage has been growing steadily at
a huge impetus to popularise social media. The 2008 political elections saw a well orchestrated an average annual rate of 30%108.
campaign85 from the Opposition reaching out to young Malaysians using blogs ( Dependence on Social Media
and, social networking, videos and political websites to communicate and
gulvanise support. VotED (Facebook Groups) and were the tipping point, as well Entertainment
as building credibility in the channel as an open, acceptable and social platform.
Entertainment reigns supreme in the Vietnamese social media landscape with locally originated
Established bloggers include notorious for his open, honest observations on day to film and video at the heart. Video social media sites such as, along with YouTube, are among
day life from his home in Kuching, Sarawak. To subsidise the trend in blogging, blog-advertising the highest visited sites with companies like Zing, Baamboo, and 7 sac also offering musical search
agencies have emerged - Nuffnang and Advertlets - providing Malaysian bloggers like Kenny with functionality. However, with the regulation of online pirating of music by the Ministry of Information
solutions to help monetize their efforts through online advertising. and Communications, the price tag for licensing is too steep for all but a few of the music service
Socially Networked providers forcing consolidation amongst, Yeuamnhac, and Pops.com109.
Social networking is gathering momentum in Malaysia. is the number 1 social Teen portals are becoming popular social destinations for young people providing entertainment
networking site with 3.02m86 unique visitors a month - over three times the size of its nearest and youth oriented news – fashion, gossip and sexual health. These include Hoahcotro (online
competitor. Facebook and MySpace register just 758k and 735k visitors respectively. version of Vietnam’s No. 1 teen weekly magazine), and within the
Friendster’s success has been attributed to its early market entry as well as being the first to offer Another rising trend is the growth of gaming. Though research varies greatly with as high as 57%
a complete social networking experience887 in Malay (Bahasa). Its ability to capture networks of of the youth market in the urban cities actively playing games on such sites as,
friends early has made it hard for later entrants to get members to migrate. Young Malaysians are regardless of number variance, there is no questioning that gaming is one of the top uses and will
extremely sensitive to commercialism and privacy, and Friendster has been highly sensitive to continue to grow.
this. Creating an easy to use and customisable interface makes it a strong platform for individual Social Networking & Blogging
expression and its popularity and credibility has been reinforced by getting big name brands and
celebrities to set up their Friendster profiles in order to generate further engagement. For example, In contrast to offline media, social networks and blogs have enabled the Vietnamese to speak out,
the 22 year old Malaysian star, Karen Kong has gained more than 92k88 fans on Friendster since comment, and express their viewpoints like never before. Whilst news sites such as,
setting up her profile in early 2007, and there seems to be no end to her friend requests. Though, and have provided speedy sources for what’s going on
there is an understanding that engagement levels in Facebook are higher than that of Friendster, domestically and internationally accounting for 6/10110 of the most visited destinations, the blog
the reality is that Facebook’s restriction to English speaking users limits its audience. Segmented phenomenon has been revolutionary.
marketing will be key to exploiting social networks by better understanding which tribes are using Blogging has become a core component of many social networking sites with topics ranging from
which platform and why. ‘behind-the-scenes’celebrity exposés, political discussion from journalists to personal musings
Entertainment Escapism from regular Vietnamese netizens. In terms of scale, social networking111 has become one of the
top activities for internet users – with 72% of 18-30 year olds, and 43% of the older populus - using
With the government plans for broadband in place, domestic media owners such as Media Prima it to connect with their friends and family. Currently, Yahoo! 360 is the leader with other competing
have seized the opportunity to launch with an aim to be the biggest entertainment and sites including Cyworld Vietnam and Yeah1. However, with Friendster aggressively entering the
lifestyle portal in Malaysia. They seem to be having an impact. The latest count of Media Prima space, along with the influx of capital from other social networking platforms such as Yobanbe,
websites show the delivery of more than 50m89 page views and 3.6m unique visitors per month. TimnhanhCafe and Facebook-clones (Tamtay, Guongmat, FaceViet, Zoomban and, the
They are not alone. YouTube was the second90 most popular search term in 2007, as recorded on landscape is set to change radically in the next 18 months. Niche social networking groups are
the Google Malaysia Zeitgeist, and is also the fastest rising search term in 2007 reaching 51.7%91 also coming into the picture, such as PhunuNet - tailored towards women – presenting an opportunity
heavy internet users. for a more segment-oriented approach for brands.
Entertainment doesn’t stop there. The explosion of networked games from China has fueled the
number of gamers in Malaysia by bypassing piracy issues as well as allowing gamers to socialize
and escape into a virtual world without barriers. Linked to this demand for engagement and
infotainment is the growth of virtual worlds in the private and corporate sector such as Second
Life – an interesting market for brands to explore.
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Cluster 4: Follower Markets

Indonesia, Thailand

Prevalence of Social Media Prevalence of Social Media
Internet usage is projected to grow significantly to reach 32m users by 2010 (a four fold increase) Internet in Thailand sits at 20.5% penetration with 13.4m126 users largely made up of working adults
much of it coming from the youth and female categories113. The key online motivation is for research and students in the key cities. In parallel, social media is gathering pace in Thailand particularly
as well as email and instant chat but still 94%114 of consumers turn to TV for breaking news. Though around community and social networking functions. Broadband penetration is still a long way off
the infrastructure has improved significantly in large cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, the delivering critical mass with around 1m subscribers127. Mobile on the other hand is well established
Government’s continued caution over foreign investment limits115 in the internet broadband and with mobile penetration standing at 82%128 having grown in six years from 8m to 53m by 2007.
telco area continue to hamper accelerated growth. Broadband penetration is virtually non-existent
at just 0.4%116or 831k users though there are efforts to increase usage through more realistic Dependence on Social Media
pricing structures as well as greater accessibility with ‘warnets’ or internet kiosks costing just Community Discussion
US$0.3-0.5117 per hour.
Research indicates that 55.3%129 of Thais in Bangkok use the internet to look for news related
Dependence on Social Media content – breaking news, political discussion and current affairs. The mainstream portals are the
key incubators for such discussion, in particular,é’s 350k daily users130 and
Social Networking Ratchadamnern and’s buzzing news section.
Friendster dominates the Indonesian social networking youth market with 9m118 registered users Closely linked is the success of citizen journalism addressing the demand for live news and the
versus Facebook’s 95k119 catering to a more mature, English speaking audience. Around 40% of relative latency of traditional mainstream media. Big events such as the opposition coup in 2006131
Indonesia’s internet users are between 20-24 and they are among the first to start participating have seen socio-political blogs transform into powerful news-sharing sources. Blogs are an
in social networks. Female usage is reportedly on the rise representing a valuable insight. Their increasingly important part of the social media landscape in Thailand with 84%132 of internet users
desire to go online for news, window shopping, job search, parenting, blogging and to join mailing claiming to write or participate in a blog making it a key channel for word of mouth. Twitter and
lists demonstrates the importance of social media to access and consume knowledge privately Twitter-like micro-blogging services are yet to take off in Thailand though attempts are being made
and anonymously. to elevate the profile particularly in the large cities with rumours of Twitter-clones emerging such
Despite broadband constraints, there appears to be a pent up demand for entertainment. Popular as
local shows like Empat Mata, Indonesian Idol, Wisata Kuliner Trans TV and Extravaganza Trans Aside from news, the volume of noise in Pantip, Sanook, Kapook, Manager and Mthai tends to
TV are shared by fans on The reality of local video content is inevitably limited by come from the countless number of lifestyle blogs and bulletin boards addressing the passion
dial-up services and penalties for misuse. platforms of travel, food, celebrity, IT, film, and sport among others.
Though social networking is visible amongst the youth segment, public forums discussing important Social Networking
topics120 such as technology, current affairs and religion are also present. Personal blog platforms
such as are starting to be used as a means for Indonesians to express themselves. Thai youth are very social (spending a reported 70% of mobile usage talking133) providing a hot
However, their potential should be cautioned since recent government legislation (March 08) market for social networking platforms and tools. With 2.4m registered members134 of which 78%
prescribes severe penalties for slander121. are 18-34, and a base growing +20% per month, Hi-5 has tapped into this demand by providing
young Thais with a tailored, social networking platform in Thai. Essentially, young Thais want to
Socially Mobile be accepted and recognized amongst their peer groups. Hi-5 makes it easy for them to express
Despite 90m mobile subscribers (41%122 penetration), mobile usage is limited to basic SMS and their identity to friends and acquaintances by posting pictures for comment as well as allowing
voice calls. Brands have been trying to tap into this vast audience with SMS broadcasting and them to modify the look and feel to make it truly personal.
pull campaigns, with only those that have provided strong consumer benefits or broad passion Facebook has become the ‘de facto’ platform for English speaking and expatriate Thai residents
platforms such as the English Premiership League123 football updates having any success. providing a great way of keeping in touch with friends abroad. That said, its membership base circa
Unfortunately consumers cannot be targeted easily so most of these campaigns are seen as a 100k135 shows that it’s actually in decline (-18%) from January to May136 indicating that the novelty
nuisance and spam. factor might be wearing thin.
The scepticism of the opportunity for exploiting mobile maybe about to change. The recent launch124 In an effort to take a slice of the social networking pie, with 460k137 daily visitors
in July of Friendster’s mobile platform in Indonesia - - as a free service enabling followed by with 300k138 have evolved from basic email and news services to provide
mobile internet users to sign up and retrieve updates on their friends' activities, check messages, everything from search to a community channel with chat rooms, bulletin boards, photo storage,
browse and upload photos and post bulletins could be the turning point for young Indonesians. and connectivity tools such as instant messenger. Their sticky content and established base makes
However, with data still being charged to local telcos, the success of this platform will likely be them consistently popular destinations for brands wanting to get into social media but still fail to
determined by affordability. However, with a reported 60%125 of mobile internet traffic going to offer the social networking capabilities provided by dedicated platforms.
social media platforms, one of the first victors in this richer service is likely to be the mobile social
networks. Watch this space. Unfulfilled Mobile Networking
The basic mobile opportunity in Thailand continues to grow with mobile internet now available in
key cities. A projected non voice communications market is set to expand by 40%139 this year in a
market worth US$798m. A recent survey indicated that around 20% of respondents claimed they
had ‘used’ online chat services such as MSN or Googletalk, whilst 39% of those that hadn’t indicated
that they were ‘interested’ in doing so. Though the appetite is there, the reality of delivering a
mobile social networking platform is some way off.
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The challenge for most brands in formulating their strategy is being very clear ‘who’ they are
Social Media dynamics: trying to influence. The secret to cutting through is identifying the characteristics of the right
sort of anchor influencers for your brand and exploring innovative ways to find them.
What does this mean to brands The model in Figure 5 illustrates how some people are more likely to promote their brand than

targeting consumers in Asia? others. In much the same way, brands define their most valuable customers, in a social media
context, it’s about defining their most valuable influencers.

Before embarking on a social media strategy, brands need to have a grasp of the underlying The opportunity for social media is to approach the channel strategically by filtering out those
dynamics. Social media is all about managing 'influencers'. Therefore, the task of the marketer influencers from the social media universe – whether bloggers, customers or employees - and
when leveraging social media is to devise a strategy that creates a dialogue with the brand’s
most important influencers as a more effective and powerful way to get the brand‘s consumers develop a relationship with them.
to listen. This is built on the premise that if you speak to the right influencers, they can spread
the word for you.

We call this the ‘Multiplier Effect’ [see Figure 4], and means that for every brand there are a
number of people that are most likely to be able to influence your target consumers than you
are and spread the word. This will vary greatly by brand, product and role of social media in the
consumer journey, and provides the foundation for the digital influencer management strategy.

Level of Influence Profile

+ Most likely to influence

Influencers “Conversation Starters”: high
target consumers. social/professional network reach with
credibility in brand category.
Propensity to influence and “Social Connectors”: will pick up and
spread the word but unlikely Active Engagers distribute good category content to peer
to start the conversation. group with comment/ point of view.

Likely to be influenced by “Observers”: open to new ideas

new conversations but will Active Listeners and information in category that
seldom distribute content. inform. May pass on or share.

Low likelihood to be “Ignorers”: most sceptical

influenced by word Passive Listeners or cautious of what other
of mouth. OgilvyOne 2008 © people have to say.
- Seldom participate.

Figure 5: The Social Media Influencer Model

Figure 4: The Multiplier Effect

The way people filter their interest is to listen to what other people have to say. Their friends,
their family, teachers and so on. So we need to take advantage of that filtering mechanism. One You know there will be people who are detractors of your brand but there are people who will
way to do that is to make sure that the people whose opinions you listen to, that tell you what equally love your brand. And these are the people whom you should engage. ...Social media is
movies to watch, what books to read, what products to buy, know about my brand. How do I go
about doing that? Well one way to do is the traditional way of somehow plastering your logo in about conversation. It’s about having a dialogue with your customers. In the past, when you talk
every way you possibly can. But that’s a shotgun. The interesting thing to do is to get your brand about the brand, it’s always one way, it always seems to be the brand talking to customers. You
in front of someone who has some authority and interest in the products and services related got away with it because of the very nature of the medium you are using to communicate with
to that brand. So that person now becomes an anchor and whose opinions now count in his or your brand... but now you have social media in play and dialogue can happen.
her circle of friends. So we need to identify which people are the opinion makers in these various
social groupings.
Lee Kin Mun
Vinton Cerf Founder & Blogger,
Vice President & Chief Internet Evangelist, Google Inc.
ZHSEZZZ86651EX_OgilvyLeadmag_F 12/2/08 10:36 AM Page 18


The sMedia™ Planning Process [Figure 6] provides a 5-step framework for marketers to
Social Media planning: develop and execute a social media strategy that looks to identify the right influencers and
promotes them into genuine brand evangelists using creativity and innovation. It also recognises
How should brands plan the need to continuously monitor and optimise the dialogue to ensure the relationship stays
alive. In many ways, managing a relationship with an influencer uses the same principles as

their social media activity? retaining your most valuable consumers.

There are a series of hoops that marketers need to go through in order to develop a social
media strategy and avoid common pitfalls. On many occasions marketers make the mistake
of asking their agency partner to ‘create a social media application’, ‘buy a banner in Friendster’
Map Expose Develop Implement Analyse
or ‘create a viral video for YouTube’ without actually understanding that social media success Against brand & Expose target influencer Develop 360 Digital Implement the plan Analyse, monitor,
business objectives, segment insights Influencer plan to reach measure & optimise

lies in the brand’s ability to identify, reach and build a trusted dialogue with the right ‘influencers’ map how the brand is & engage with identified dialogues/ responses
being talked about target influencer and uptake
for its brand, not just develop content. and identify gaps segments

• What are the brand • Who are the • How do we reach these • Are the influencers • What conversations
objectives? influencers we influencers? willing to listen/ are going on?
The characteristics and criteria that constitutes an influencer for your brand is an important • What conversations should speak to? • What is the influencer
• Which components
part of planning. There are two dimensions to consider: are going on (good • Where are they? journey? • Do the engagement in the mix are
& bad)? components working or need to
• What are they • What is the basis for a appear to work?
• Where are the interested in? conversation? be modified?

conversations • Have we activated • Which influencers
Dimension 1: Credentials happening?
• What is going to make • How will we stage/ all channels? & channels are
the influencers talk? structure the
Knowing which credentials your target audience will accept helps you filter the type of influencers • Who is leading conversation? • Are we prepared to
them? Why? address negative • What are the key
• Which channels
you need to identify. For example, a 30 year old, married mother of two in Malaysia will listen • Who are your loyal will we use?
influencers? learnings?
customers? • Is the tracking in • When is the next
to someone very different if they are looking for cosmetics than when they’re looking for • What do we need to place? conversation feed?
• Who will your target develop-tools, content,
children’s healthcare products e.g. beautician advice for cosmetics vs other mothers or their audience listen to? assets, negative
influence plan?
paediatrician for children’s healthcare products. The same can be said of a 25 year old male • What is the budget
business Executive in Korea who’s looking to purchase a car, or wanting to know which allocation?

restaurant he should go to with his colleagues. A car might be an inspired choice from • Listening Posts™ • Relationship • Various tracking
conversation Management tools (solution

aspirational influencers and a restaurant might come from an online restaurant guide. Having mapping tool suite Journey Planning dependent and in
• Customer combination) e.g.
• GlobalBeat™ digital
an aggregated point of view on ‘influencer credentials’ helps avoid generic definition of the Database analysis development
Radian6 & Google
– SAS, SPSS Analytics
influencer’s characteristics. methodology
OgilvyOne 2008 ©

Dimension 2: Absorption Mode

Another dimension that will inform a social media strategy is to better understand the way in
Figure 6: sMedia™ 5-Step Planning Process
which your target audience absorbs social media in your category which will either be passive
or active. This will depend on many factors such as involvement with the brand category,
purchasing lead time and potential investment. For example, a consumer is far more likely to
be active when he’s seeking opinions on a high involvement, high cost item with a long lead
time such as hardware for their business than purchasing a book. Absorption modes have a
significant impact on the role of social media, and therefore how to plan.

I think brand marketers for various reasons are reluctant to adopt social media because there’s
not a clear cut path of how to do it.... Putting banner ads on Facebook or MySpace doesn’t mean
you’re doing social media. Actually, I kind of see this as a bugbear for me that people actually
say “Oh, we’re doing social media, we have a banner ad in Friendster. ” No, you’re doing banner
ads on Friendster. That’s not actually the same as having a profile page and being part of the

Ken Mandel
Regional Managing Director, Yahoo! SEA
ZHSEZZZ86651EX_OgilvyLeadmag_F 12/2/08 10:36 AM Page 19


How do we measure
Social Media?
Many marketers fall into the trap of measuring social media success based on generic measures
such as the number of hits, number of referrals and level of engagement. Though they may
be relevant, success should really be measured in the context of the task in hand - the ability
to reach, identify and convert influencers as well as the effectiveness of the ‘influencer’ to
spread the word to the desired consumers. The Media™ Measurement Framework [Figure 7],
seeks to structure these objectives in three sequential areas:

1. Influencer Reach: the ability to target, engage and convert the right influencers for the
brand. For example, if you identify 20 influencers, what percentage of those influencers were
willing to engage with you and talk about your brand. This can be measured through cold calls,
email responses, conversations and development of an influencer database.

2. Influencer Activity: the ability of influencers to generate positive word of mouth for your
brand. This sets out to measure the quality and volume of the buzz and tries to draw a link
back to the influencers. This also helps in identifying which influencers to focus the effort on
moving forward.

3. Brand Impact: ability to move the dial on the brand’s social media objectives. This includes
the business metrics that digital marketers have set e.g. incremental revenue, acquisition,
engagement and loyalty.

2. Influencer Activity: ability to

generate positive word of mouth
• # of discussions
• Quality of discussions: +ve/ -ve
1. Influencer Reach: ability to target
• Visibility: search key words
& identify the right influencers
• Most important influencers/ active engagers (#)
• # Target influencers & active engagers
• % Influencer/ active engager conversion rate
• # Size of influencer database

Today the physics of the web are that you can have lots of money, but it doesn’t
mean you can get lots of audience. And that’s scary for marketers... So there’s
more risk but I think there’s also more reward for those who do it well because 3. Brand Impact: ability to move the dial
what it also means is that the effectivemess isn’t just a function of what’s spent, on the brand’s social media objectives*
its actually a function much more of creativity and innovation. • Equity: pre/ post recall
• Acquisition: # fans
• Revenue: incremental $
Kent Wertime • Engagement: duration; frequency
President, OgilvyOne Asia • Loyalty/ affinity: activity, brand promoter index *Brand dependent

OgilvyOne 2008 ©
Figure 7: sMedia™ Measurement Framework
ZHSEZZZ86651EX_OgilvyLeadmag_F 12/2/08 10:36 AM Page 20


Tips for success:

How can brands increase
their chances of success
in Social Media?
There are a number of considerations that could increase your chance of brand success:

Management Support – letting go of the brand is a reality of social media and it’s critical that
the brand’s senior management fully understand the implications, and are willing to take the Social media is scary. It’s not a well scripted scenario. You’re out there in the middle of
risk as well as commit resource. This means identifying an overall ‘gatekeeper’ for social a social network and comments good or bad will flow. You have to be prepared to accept
media as well as one or more contributors who are empowered to speak out and contribute that but a lot of brands want control.
to the discussion, liaise with influencers as well as listen in and monitor what’s being said and
done. Social media isn’t something that brands can dip in and out of. They have to be committed Ken Mandel
for the long term, and be prepared to take the good with the bad. Regional Managing Director, Yahoo! SEA

Brand Integrity – social media success has to be embedded in honesty and trust by playing
to the brand’s core values and ideals. No falsifications. Pretending to be one of the ‘punters’
in the discussion room, commenting on a blog without saying who you are, or misleading
influencers is a ‘no-no’. You will be sniffed out.

Brands that disclose conflicts of interest, are responsive to questions, and permit negative What they (marketers) can do though is to try and develop a strategy which
as well as positive discussion are most likely to get accepted. In many ways, participation enables them to find an authentic voice, a credible voice and a commitment
in social media is a personification of the brand, and any involvement should be ‘human’ to contributing to the discussion online and trying to address the problems
and real. Brands like humans are infallible after all. The truer you are, the better you are of the users.
likely to be.
Jeremy Wagstaff
Brand Contribution – brands need to be willing to contribute to be accepted in social media. Technology Commentator, BBC, WSJ,
Even to go as far as contributing unconditionally. Traditionally, marketers have been trained
to barter e.g. ‘I’ll give you a free trial if you give me your email address’, or ‘forward this to a
friend to win a chance to…’. Brands take and consumers give. This model is being challenged
in the social media universe. A philanthropic undertone comes through in so much social
media as people invest time in sharing information. Understanding this, and contributing as
a good social media citizen is a hallmark of understanding the media.
Brands need to play a careful role. They are a participant – like you or me- but if it’s
Brands need to consider how they can do this. Offering new ideas, facilitating the discussion, forced, contrived or not relevant, they will fail. Consumers are open to accepting a brand
giving free content or creating exclusive footage are all ways of driving goodwill amongst in the social media environment if they play by the social media rules. You need to be
influencers and the target audience. An example of this is MTV Asia who uploaded their extensive prepared to give when you enter social media.
research findings on youth in Asia to so other companies, even competitors
could see it, or IBM’s World Community Grid which let’s PC users channel that wasted energy Ken Mandel
from PC downtime e.g. during a lunch break – to power super computers to help address Regional Managing Director, Yahoo! SEA
critical environmental and research issues. Taking the higher ground will inspire respect
and adoration.
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Case Studies:
So who’s doing Social Media
well in Asia?
There are a lot of brands that think they are doing social media in the region but in fact are just
creating content and assets within the social media space. In all the weeks of research spent
investigating cases, we have identified just a handful of brands that have stood out as truly
delivering a winning social media strategy.

What are the brand success stories?

Case Study 1

Brand : e27
Market : South East Asia
Target : Start-ups, technologists, entrepreneurs and investors
Links :
Modelled on e27 in Silicon Valley, with no marketing budget, two young ambitious guys – Justin
Lee and Bjorn Lee – used social media to turn e27 in 12 months from a social enterprise idea
to a leading community for digital entrepreneurs in South East Asia. The secret to the team’s
success was its ability to successfully identify, engage and build trust with the ‘right influencers’
for its brand.

Its formula was simple. Using face to face events, it identified potential key influencers and
actively engaged with them one-to-one through email, Twitter and Instant Messenger sharing
insights, observations and contacts about the entrepreneurial space. This worked to turn these
acquaintances from passive participants to powerful brand evangelists resulting in positive
discussion in the blogosphere.

To maintain the dialogue with its influencers and the broader

member base, e27 used its dedicated wikispace and website
as the virtual place to connect with and share ideas. By giving
total control to its members, it provided a refreshing change
from other contolled communities.

Every brand has a social network they could be a part of... I think too much focus
is just on B2C.

Ken Mandel
Regional Managing Director, Yahoo! SEA
ZHSEZZZ86651EX_OgilvyLeadmag_F 12/2/08 10:36 AM Page 22


How well did it do? Case Study 2

1. Influencer Reach:
e27 has managed to identify 3 pillar evangelist groups – Brand : Motorola
bloggers, industry observers and tech-watchers. Market : China
Links :
2. Influencer Activity:
These influencers have been able to create credibility and Target : Chinese youth market (12 - 20 years old)
visibility amongst their own audiences as well as elevating
e27 amongst the start-up community. Each ‘by invitation’ Background
event provides a new conversation for a spur of blog postings How do you reach out to Chinese youth with your latest
using photography, video and discussion to hook people in. cell phones? For Motorola, using social influencers was the
way in. Tapping on the popularity of the Back Dorm Boys
3. Brand Impact: (Win Win and Huang Yi Xin) and their lip sync videos, Motorola
Acquisition: e27 has developed a permission-based database sought to engage the duo to help them promote their latest
of a 1,000 highly valuable members and continues to generate line of entry level handsets designed for Chinese Youth. After
interest by reaching out to application developers and rounds of discussions with their initially-apprehensive
entrepreneurs using social network groups. manager (Wei Wei’s mum), they were finally persuaded to
produce a video which featured the duo lip-syncing to the
Engagement: With zero marketing budget, from a modest song “Radio in my Head” in typical over-the-top fashion with
first event with 30 attendees they have grown to host events the Motorola C381 phone as a part of the performance.
that average 400 attendees. These events are now endorsed
by influential organizations and government agencies
including Google, Microsoft, Information Development How well did it do?
Association and Media Development Authority of Singapore.
1. Influencer Reach:
Brand Equity: e27 is the first Singapore blog to get a mention All the influencers (all two of them) were successfully
on the respected OpenWeb Asia Workgroup [] identified, reached and engaged behind this campaign with
which is a network of premium blogs focusing on the Asia total success.
web industry.
2. Influencer Activity:
Overall Conclusion Initially seeded on Motorola’s campaign website, the video
Young, nimble start ups are often the first and most spread at a viral pace through peer-to-peer channels with
successful to leverage social media. Creative, daring thinking more than 60 million views recorded.
combined with a well constructed viral model that singles
out anchor influencers makes a great social media success 3. Brand Impact:
story amongst their target audience. Their story evolves. By the end of the campaign, sales for Motorola’s four
low-price tier phones had increased by over 270%, moving
more than 200,000 units in a month.

Overall Conclusion
Large brands that move fast and are willing to take risks
are far more likely to reap the rewards. Motorola’s deep
understanding of social media in China combined with what
was current at the time for their target audience, made this
campaign such a great success. Ironically, if it was run again
today, it would unlikely have the same level of impact in
China. They caught the moment!
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Case Study 3 3. Brand Impact:

Apart from the obvious fan base, a short test of mentions of
Brand : Marmite Marmite against its main competitor ‘Vegemite’ on the walls
Market : Global (25 - 35 years old) of Facebook yielded far stronger results, and ‘Marmite’
Links : searches on Google pulled up 3 of the top 7 sites as those created and originated by fans. Overall Conclusion
Marmite is a great example of how a low involvement
Background category can leverage social media by adhering to the
Marmite, for those who do not know, is a salty yeast based social media rules. Straight talking. The Marmite Group
spread made in England. Unsurprisingly opinion is divided as sets out ‘to share the joy of Marmite - eating and make it
to whether or not it actually tastes good. Basically you either available to all those with excellent taste; and using triggers
“love it or you hate it”. Marmite has run many campaigns over
- squeezy vs glass bottle discussion - to stimulate debate.
the years drawing on this insight as have the avid fans in
Amplified through unofficial website conversations, Marmite
continuing the conversation online.
has created a low risk and low cost relationship platform
through Facebook Groups that can engage with a significant
Its foray into social media draws from its latest contention
group of passionates anywhere in the world.
campaign for squeezy marmite (the product has moved from
glass jar to tube). The official Marmite website and Facebook
page provides fun content, is open to heated debate about the
taste of the new squeezy version, and invites members to share
stories from their childhood about the spread.

Marmite’s main targets were not typical big celebrities or

influential figures. Their online brand influencers were “Marmite
babies” who grew up eating Marmite and simply loving it. The
sheer presence of Marmite on Facebook brought reminiscence
to Marmite lovers identifying with the ‘iconic black bottle’ logo
as it appeared in their newsfeeds, and intriguing them into this
passionate community putting this low involvement brand front
of mind. In parallel, unofficial fan sites have emerged telling
you anything and everything you need to know about this brand.
Take Seamus Waldron’s site, and the
commentary by Phil Johnson in

How well did it do?

1. Influencer Reach:
Marmite’s presence on Facebook started through seeding
amongst the Marmite generation of 25-35 year olds, and through
the mechanics of Facebook attracted 149k (and growing) fan
sign ups.

2. Influencer Activity:
With little encouragement, the fan base uploaded pictures and
videos to remind users how much they love Marmite, and
triggered discussion (both good and bad) about their new product.
New updates to the Facebook community created a spur of
conversations (3.9k wall posts and 193 discussion topics). Some
expressed their food loves while others shared their good old
days eating Marmite tapping happy childhood memories.

And 149 fans even went to the extent of sharing their experiences
with Marmite by posting obscure photos and engaging with their
resident ‘sarniologist’, George.
ZHSEZZZ86651EX_OgilvyLeadmag_F 12/2/08 10:36 AM Page 24


Case Study 4 3. Brand Impact:

In addition to the high volume of impressions, Lenovo stood out as an innovator of the Games
Brand : Lenovo with its campaigns being featured in USA Today, New York Times and many local media channels
Market : Olympic fans globally let alone online blog referrals including,
Links :, and;; Visibility through brand placement of the IdeaPad needs no mention, and the halo effect of this; publicity on Lenovo’s brand equity as a truly global brand (not Chinese) is a great bi-product. But the story continues with a 100 happy athletes able to leave the Olympic Games not just
with great memories but with a Lenovo IdeaPad Laptop – endorsing the brand.
For any die-hard Olympic enthusiasts (particularly in Asia), Overall Conclusion
getting a ‘real’ view of the Olympics other than the official Lenovo orchestrated (and pulled off) one of the most ambitious and challenging social media
footage, medal tallies, TV analysis and melodrama stories is
campaigns to date which many similar brands would find too daring. To mitigate their exposure,
actually quite hard. With an ambition to reach out to fans
they partnered with a professional agency with deep experience in social media and opted
around the world in Web2.0 style, Lenovo decided to activate
their sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics beyond the Olympic to keep the infrastructure relatively simple (using off the shelf social media tools and
Torch Relay and Olympic Village by powering athletes to share applications) rather than create them from scratch. This enabled the teams to focus on the
their real, unfiltered experiences up to and during the Games heart of the experience – inspired content – by channeling energies on reaching, inspiring
to deliver a truly Olympic 2.0 experience. and supporting the athletes themselves.

Branded ‘The Voices of the Olympic Games’, this platform

offered fresh, diverse and personal stories directly from the
athletes, with Lenovo providing the ‘glue’.

How well did it do?

1. Influencer Reach:
This ambitious program saw Lenovo use online forums,
postings and PR to target and recruit over 100 Olympians
playing to their personal motivations of recognition, support,
sponsorship and satisfaction. With these influencers on
board representing more than 25 countries, 30 sports and
8 languages, Lenovo donated a new IdeaPad laptop which
with little persuasion inspired them to start blogging their
personal stories.

2. Influencer Activity:
Lenovo used a range of social media platforms to distribute
the content from the host site - – including a Live Twitter
feed, Flickr photogallery, del.ici.ous, a Facebook application
and even an iPhone application. Through these activities,
Lenovo was able to facilitate and aggregate the true voices
of the games to inspire fans and other aspiring young athletes
with a reported 10 million impressions across social media
and traditional media.

The tangibility of these stories were undisputable and captured

the moment. Amazing stories included India’s first ever
Olympic Solo Shooting winner, Abhinav Bindra who amidst
his glory started conversation around the ‘problems’ plaguing
Indian sport, and Cyclist Josiah Ng from Malaysia’s
commentary on his collarbone operation inspiring responses
from concerned fans. For other athletes the blog made it
easy to connect and receive well wishes from friends, family
and fans who weren’t present in Beijing.
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How to get started

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably got a good idea what social media is about and an appetite
to go on and do something. There are some basic things that you can start doing immediately:

1. Open the conversation: if you are managing a website, go and review it again to see whether
it invites suggestions, comments and participation. Creating a dialogue is a starting point and
your existing customers are the most important place to start. They need a channel to you,
so make it easy for them.

2. Start listening: before you start entering into social media, start to get a feel of what
conversations are already going on about your brand. Listen in, monitor and identify where the
‘buzz’ is. Use search engines as a starting point and look at listings on the second and third
pages. You might get a nice surprise that there are some positive things already being said
about your brand.

3. Sign up to a social networking and social bookmarking site: go online and try it out.
The closer you are to understanding what your consumers are doing and how they’re doing it,
the higher the chance that you will be able to provide a practical grounded strategy that is
relevant and topical.

4. Develop and learn from young social media users: there are lots of people around you that
understand social media better than you. Go and speak with a friend, the office intern or even
sign up to a blog. Start to immerse yourself into understanding how social media is impacting
lives. Use these informers as a human barometer on what’s hot and what’s not.

5. Talk to an expert that understands social media: speak to your agency or sign up to online
communities around the medium as well as check out useful reading material, guides and
blogs online. As a starter, try or

6. Try it: start testing. You can’t wait until social networking hits a tipping point and all your
competitors are doing it. Give it a go, get some key learnings, see what works and what doesn’t
work, and don’t stay out of it.
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1 Text, Rich media (video, photo, music, games, voice) 75 Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Yearbook 2008
2 Nielsen Online Global Consumer Study April 2007 – 76 International Telecommunication Union
Top 10 markets who claimed that they relied most on 77
‘recommendations from consumers’- Hong Kong (93%), 78 OgilvyOne Estimates based on Jun08
Taiwan (91%), Indonesia (89%), India (87%), South Korea 79 Acknowledgements
(87%), Philippines (86%), Ireland (84%), Mexico (84%), UAE &day=19&year=2007
(84%) and New Zealand (83%). 80 Universal McCann, March 2008
3 Y-Generation 1977-94 US Today 81 National Communications Commission
This paper has involved a lot of people so thanks to you all for your time, effort and
China Internet Network Information Center July 2008 82
5 China Internet Network Information Center July 2008 83 Nielsen (2008) passion for this thriving medium – you know who you are.
3 China Internet Network Information Center July 2008 84 OgilvyOne Estimates based on Jun08
8 China Internet Network Information Center July 2008 articles/1412199.php/malaysian_politicians_hop_onto_the_
9 blogging_bandwagon
An extra special thanks goes to our social media gurus who inspired us to think of social media as
11 86 Design News May08
a practical and very real discipline: 87 Design News May08
the-bbs/ 88 AsiaOne digital: story/
12 China Internet Network Information Center July 2008 89 2008
13 9th January, 2008 90 2008 E27 : Justin Lee & Bjorn Lee, Joint Founders
14 China Internet Network Information Centre 25Apr08 91 Comscore segment metrix (mar 08) 15+ from home and
Google : Vinton Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist
China Internet Network Information Centre 25Apr08 work PCs
16 Kaiser Kuo – blogger & Digital Consultant May08 92 Yahoo : Jeremy Wagstaff, BBC, Asia WSJ and Technology Commentator
17 93 OgilvyOne Estimates based on Jun08
18 94 Xinhuanet, Jan 2008 MTV Asia : Ian Stewart, Senior Vice President
2008-07-01/ 95 Manila Times Jan08
Mr : Lee Kin Mun, Founder & Blogger
19 Internet World Stats derivations June 2008 96 Alexa Top 100 Sites
Technorati & Edelman 2007 97
OgilvyOne Asia : Kent Wertime, President
Technorati Japan, accessed Jan 4th, 2008 philippines-lands-ad-deal/
22 Source: 98 OgilvyPR USA : Rohit Bhargava, Senior Vice President 360 Digital Influencer
23 Infinita Mar 2007 20080622-144061/Filipinos-are-prolific-and-Multiply
24, Feb 29 2008 99 “Social media and PR in Asia” by Singapore Management : Miguel Bernas, Marketing Director
25 Infinita Mar 2007 University Wiki (2008)
Yahoo! SEA : Ken Mandel Vice President & Regional MD
Source: Gree press release, July 2007 100 – Brian Gorrell includes
27 Source: Infinita Inc (Mar 08) on his blog a list of links to mainstream media pickups.
28 GMID South Korea Country Pulse 2007 101 Internet World Stats (IWS) 30 Sep 2007
29 US News article Sep 06 102 Internet World Stats Dec 2007
30 Koreanclick/ Korean National Statistical Office Jun08 103 Internet World Stats Dec 2007
31 Koreanclick Jun08 104 Wireless Asia 2007
32 Digital Korea 2007 105
33 Inside Cyworld Plus 8 Star Limited 2007 106
34 Koreanclick Jun08 107
35 Koreanclick Jun08 108 Intellasia 2008
36 Edelman Korea (Kaist Research 2007) 109
37 OgilvyOne Korea (Jul08) 110, 2007
38 Digital Korea Video Report 2007 111 AC Nielsen Uses of the Internet in HCMC and Hanoi (2007)
39 Digital Korea Video Report 2007 112 Hot Telecom (Mar 08)
40 GMID South Korea Country Pulse 2007 113 Transcript from Merlyna’s public lecture as part of the
41 Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong, and Office association of Internet researchers Conference, Australia
of the Telecommunications Authority 27-30 Sep 2007
42 Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong, and Office 114 Synovate 2007 – ADMA report 2007
of the Telecommunications Authority 115 2007 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Indonesia
43 McCann Ericsson report (Mar 08) and Timor Leste by Paul Budde (Sep 07)
44 Comscore data referenced in article ‘Facebook Platform, 6 116 April 2008 - Hot Telecom Market Statistics and Forecast
waves Making Waves in Hong Kong’Jun08 117 OgilvyOne Jakarta (Jun08)
45 Xanga (Feb07) 118 Antara news – 2Jul08: Article: Friendster mobile site now
46 Key Insights on Youth in Shanghai, Hong Kong and the United available in Indonesian
States Revealed in Harris Interactive 2007 U.S. / China 119
YouthPulseComparison Study Business Wire, Dec 19, 2007 statistics-slow-down-in-north.html
from ‘Harris Interactive Report: ‘91% 15-21 year olds in 120 Budi Patra – journalist and blogger (2007)
Hong Kong say they spent time instant messaging yesterday’ 121
47 OFTA, Apr08 myspace/
48 AC Nielsen - 2006 122 2008 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Indonesia
49 Marketing The Nielsen Company and Timor Leste by Paul Budde & Hot Telecm Market
50 McCann Ericsson report (Mar 08) Statistics a&Forecast Report (Apr08)
51 HitWise Hong Kong report – Social Network and Forums 123 I-Pop EVP, Colin Miles (Mar08)
(Apr 08) 124 Antara news – 2Jul08: Article: Friendster mobile site now
52 Alexa Top 100 sites available in Indonesian
53 Alexa Top 100 Sites 125 Antara news – 2Jul08: Article: Friendster mobile site now
54 South China Morning Post: New kids on the blog. By Carrie available in Indonesian
Chan 22Aug05 ( 126
55 Key Insights on Youth in Shanghai, Hong Kong and the United 127 Thailand’s Mobile Market Reached 53 Million Subscribers
States Revealed in Harris Interactive 2007 U.S. / China by End-2007: Business Wire, May 23, 2008/
YouthPulseComparison Study Business Wire, Dec 19, 2007
from ‘Harris Interactive Report: ‘91% 15-21 year olds in _23/ai_n25452529?tag=rel.res5
Hong Kong say they spent time instant messaging yesterday’ 128 Thailand’s Mobile Market Reached 53 Million Subscribers
56 OgilvyOne Estimates based on Jun08 by End-2007: Business Wire, May 23, 2008/
57 eMarketer Report Jun 07
58 Aug07 _23/ai_n25452529?tag=rel.res5
59 International Telco Union 2007 129 ADMA 2007 Report: Extract from Synovate Media Atlas:
60 Bangkok Residents (2007)
articleID=209901456 130 Nectec government research as referenced by ADMA ASPAC
61 JuxtConsult 2007 Yearbook Report - 2008
62 (Jul08 131 Bangkok Post, Mar06: Citizen journalism in action:
63 Information Development Authority Singapore 2008 Interestingly named, The Media Slut is a new medium
64 IDA Singapore News & Events Jan07 covering Thailand’s political unrest
65 IDA Singapore News & Events Jan07 132 Microsoft survey on blogging (Aug-Sep 2006)
66 Blogging Asia: A windows live report (2006) 133 Universal McCann Report (Mar08)
67 Alexa’s Top 100 most visited sites for Singapore 134 Hi-5 Presentation – Top Space Feb08
68 Hitwise Press Release (Mar08) 135 Facebook Advertising Centre: Facebook subscribers from
69 Hitwise Singapore - Top 20 Websites - July, 2008 Jan to Jun 08
70 ComScore Singapore, Jan, Feb & Apr 2008, Aged 15+ 136 Facebook Advertising Centre: Facebook subscribers from
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72 Hitwise Top 5 Social media sites (Mar08) 137 2008
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Synovate Young Asians Survey 2008 138 2008
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74 Hitwise (Jun08) 139 Bangkok Post – ADMA Report 2007
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