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October 2010
Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific
Burson· Marsteller
Executive Summary
Corporate Use of Social Media
Social Networks
Corporate Slogs
Video Sharing Channels
Use of Social Media by Country
Hong Kong
South Korea
Approach to Corporate Social Media
Company-Country Index
Further Reading
Acknowledgements & Contacts
Since the term 'social media' burst its way into the global collective
consciousness, organisations across the world have hastily had to
consider what it means for them and how it will impact their approach
to their business and marketing.
As demonstrated by Burson-Marsteller's Fortune Global 100 Social
Media Check-Up study (February 2010), the great majority of top
multinational companies have moved from questioning the rationale
of social media to implementing dedicated social media strategies,
or including social media programmes within broader corporate
and marketing campaigns.
This report focuses on the use of top social media platforms by Asia's leading companies (as listed in
the Wall Street Journal's Asia 200 Index), specifically their use of social networks, corporate blogs,
microblogs and video sharing channels for global and domestic corporate marketing and
It is clear that top companies across Asia-Pacific are some way behind their western peers in this area.
Few companies are approaching this area strategically; most appear largely driven by short-term
marketing considerations, or are hampered by concerns about resourcing, cost or lack of control.
It is perhaps no accident that top Asian companies most aggressively using social media tend to be
those most focused on international expansion. As Asian firms turn ever more aggressively to foreign
markets, they require deep knowledge and insight into local customer and opinion-former needs,
expectations and behaviours. They are likely to have to fight harder for recognition and acceptance.
Social media is no sideshow - it is a fully mainstream activity that dominates media consumption in
many markets. Indeed, for most young people, it is a way of life. To take full advantage of this trend,
top Asian companies have no option but to make social media a core component of their marketing and
communications, both at home and abroad.
This report is the first in a series that will chart their progress. We hope you find it interesting and
Bob Pickard
President & CEO
Burson-Marsteller (Asia-Pacific)
Twitter: @bobpickard
Top Asian companies have been slow to set up and use branded social media channels
• Asian companies are significantly lagging their international peers in their use of
social media for corporate marketing purposes. 40% of Asia's top companies are
using dedicated branded social media channels, compared to 79% of leading
global firms
• This reluctance can be explained by a variety of factors, including concern that social
media results in a loss of control of messaging, timing and content, and has largely
unknown ramifications in terms of skills, resources and budgets.
Few companies have developed a long-term, sustainable social media strategy
• Of those Asian companies with branded social media profiles, some 55% of these
profiles are inactive, suggesting that most Asian companies remain unsure how to
use these channels.
• The high percentage of inactive accounts may also be explained by the short-term
nature of consumer marketing. Companies more focused on building their corporate
reputation over the long-term are much less likely to set up and then abandon their
social media channels.
• On average, only 18% of companies surveyed are promoting or have integrated their
branded social media channels on their website homepage, implying that they are
deliberately testing social media independently of their 'core' online channels.
Companies are focused on pushing information, rather than engaging with users
• Asian companies are reluctant to use open-ended two-way communications
channels such as corporate blogs. In Asia, corporate blogs are used by 12% of
companies, whereas 33% of global companies are blogging.
• In most Asian countries, levels of interaction with users are low, with companies
barely engaging with their followers. True engagement involving two-way dialogue, as
measured by the average number of fan posts and average number of corporate
responses to their fanslfol lowers, remains limited.
• Companies appear most comfortable using social media to communicate their
Corporate Social Responsibility activities. While this helps portray a 'softer' corporate
image, it is also less likely to invoke interaction or negative commentary.
• Of the channels covered by this study, social networks are arguably the most
intuitively conversational. However, while social networks are the most popular social
media channels in Asia, they are used principally for consumer marketing purposes -
their use for corporate activities is secondary in most instances.
Digital storytelling using video and multimedia remains limited
• Only 8% of leading companies in Asia have set up dedicated channels on top video
sharing channels such as YouTube, Youku in China or Nico Nico Douga in Japan. This
compares to 50% of global companies using such channels.
• The high volume of user views of existing branded video sharing channels suggests
that companies are missing a significant opportunity to engage users by not providing
structured access to online video and multimedia.
1. Fortune Global 100 Social Media Check-Up, Burson-Marsteller. February 2010
This study assesses corporate marketing activity on top social media channels by 120 of
Asia's leading companies. Companies were selected from the Wall Street Journal Asia
200 Index ranking Asia's leading companies, as determined by executives and
professionals across Asia-Pacific. The top 10 companies were selected per country. Afull
list of companies surveyed is available on page 38 of this study. The countries included
Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore,
South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
Corporate marketing is defined as: corporate social responsibility, issues or cnsls
communications, thought leadership, leadership communications, media or influencer
relations, public policy communications.
Social media analysed were the top social networks, microblogs, video sharing and
corporate blogging platforms per country - the latter either website-based or
integrated with third-party channels. Accounts were considered 'active' if they had at
least one post by the company between July 1-31, 2010.
Data was collected between July 2010 and September 2010 by Buron-Marsteller
Asia-Pacific's digital and research teams.
(ORPORAH U ~ f O ~ ~ O ( I A l MmlA
ith massive and accelerating use of the Internet and mobile
devices, the popularity of social media technologies and the
emergence of an increasingly sophisticated and demanding set of
digital consumers, Asia is shaping, and in some cases leading, the new
social media environment.
Social media is mainstream. Asians are enthusiastic users of social networks, whether of
international platforms such as Facebook or local services such as Renren in China, Orkut in
India or South Korea's CyWorid. Indonesia, the Philippines and India now rank in Facebook's
top 10 markets".
Microblogging rates are exploding, not least in Japan, Indonesia and South Korea, where
Twitter is recording some of its heaviest user volumes worldwide. Online video is also
grabbing share of mind. Japanese Internet users spent nearly 17 hours a month watching
videos, while their counterparts in Hong Kong and Singapore recorded 12.7 hours and lOA
hours respectiveli.
Further, Asians are not just passive consumers of web-based content but are active
contributors. In China alone, there are over 221 million bloggers
• And the Chinese rank
amongst the most active creators of online social content, far outstripping most western
Social media provides an opportunity for companies to communicate and build
relationships directly with their stakeholders, gain a deeper understanding of their needs
and behaviours, and to increase levels of awareness, trust and advocacy.
2. comScore Video Metrix, July 2010
3. China Internet Network Information Centre, December 2009
4. Forrester Research, September 2009
On the f1ipside, organizations are concerned that social media outreach result in a loss of
control of messaging, timing and content (in short, their reputation), and has largely
unknown ramifications in terms of skills, resources and budgets. It can also be difficult to
quantify its value.
This study shows that Asia's top companies have been hesitant to set up and use branded
channels on top local and international social media platforms for corporate marketing
and communications. Sixty percent of companies surveyed have no branded presence.
With few exceptions, they are significantly lagging their international peers in this area -
according to Burson-Marsteller's Fortune Global 100 Social Media Check-Up study
(February 2010), 79% of Fortune 100 companies have at least one 'owned' or branded
social media channel. By contrast, only 40% of Asian companies have an equivalent
branded social media channel. (See Figure 1.)
In Asia, social networks are the preferred social media platform for corporate marketing
and communications purposes, with almost a quarter of companies surveyed using a
global (eg. Facebook) or local (eg. Renren in China) social network.
The study also finds that, unlike their global peers, top Asian companies appear less
enamoured of microblogs, with only 18% of companies using these for corporate
purposes (as opposed to 65% of global companies). Corporate blogs (12%) and video
sharing platforms (8%) are even less popular with leading Asian firms. (See Figure 2.)
However, this masks considerable differences in approach across the Asia-Pacific region.
Companies in South Korea are much more actively using social media, especially social
networks and corporate blogs. By contrast, leading companies in the Philippines,
Singapore and Taiwan are barely using social media at all for corporate marketing and
communications. (See Figure 3.)
Figure 1: Proportion of Asian Companies using Social Media
All Channels
Three Channels \ S%
3% \
Data was collected between July 2010 and September 2010 among the Wall Street journal Asia 200 companies. Top 10 companies from
12 countries in Asia-Pacific were selected. Total sample size = 120 companies.
Figure 2: Proportion of Companies using Social Media Actively
Microblogs Social Networks Corporate Blogs Video Sharing
Active accounts refer to companies with at least one post from each social media channel from July 1-31, 2010.
Figure 3: Use of Social Media by Countries in Asia-Pacific
• Microblogs • Social Networks _ Corporate Blogs Video Sharing
South Korea
Hong Kong
Inactive accounts
The study also finds that 55% of branded social media channels surveyed are inactive.
These have either been registered and are being saved for future use, used only privately,
or have been used and abandoned. Others are apparently being 'squatted' by third parties,
presumably looking to cash in at a later date, or perhaps use the channel for negative
purposes. Some were not updated during the study research period. (See Figure 4.)
The high percentage of inactive accounts may also be explained by the relatively
short-term nature of most consumer marketing. Social media, not least the management
of branded channels, requires long-term commitment, resources, budget and clear
ownership. Companies more focused on building their corporate reputation over the
long-term are much less likely to set up and then abandon their social media channels - a
strong case for the PR department to be closely involved in the ongoing management of
these channels.
The high percentage of inactive accounts strongly suggests that many companies have yet
to figure out how to use these channels - in isolation, or as part of a broader social media
or multi-channel communications strategy.
Lack of integration
Very few (18%) of companies surveyed are actively promoting their branded social media
channels on their website homepages, or through other online channels.
The multi-disciplinary nature of many branded social media channels, which often support
a mix of communications, marketing, sales, customer service and other activities, means
they work best when closely aligned and integrated with other business functions and
channels - both online and offline.
Figure 4: Proportion of Active and Inactive Accounts
• Active Inactive
Microblogs Social Networks Corporate Blogs Video Sharing
Inactive accounts refer to accounts with no activity from July 1-31, 2010.
Use by Industry
The majority of companies covered by this study are from four industries: technology
(consumer and 828), telecommunications, consumer goods (including retail and tobacco)
and financial services. The study finds that companies in these industry sectors are using
social media quite differently, according to their respective sectors.
Technology companies are the most enthusiastic users of social media for corporate
marketing and communications, closely followed by telecommunications firms. The
majority of companies in both sectors are using microblogs and social networks, while at
least a third of these firms are using multiple channels. (See Figure 5.)
Online video channels are being used to a greater degree by Asia's top technology and
telecommunications firms - perhaps as they have a vested interest in being seen to walk
the data and social media talk.
Conversely, consumer goods and financial services companies across the region are
hardly using social media, at least for corporate marketing purposes. Perhaps
unsurprisingly, given that firms in these sectors are primarily focused on consumer
marketing, the most popular channels are social networks, through which some
corporate messages are also being communicated.
Figure 5: Use of Social Media by Industry
• Microblogs _Social Networks _Corporate Blogs Video Sharing
Financial Services Telecommunications Consumer Goods Technology
Of the 120 companies surveyed, 23 of them are in financial services, 15 in telecommunications, 16 in consumer goods and 17 from the technology
MI ( R O B l O G ~
his study finds that top companies across Asia-Pacific use microblogs less than
they use social networks. Only 18% of companies use microblogs for corporate
purposes, as opposed to 6S% of global companies.
This is likely in part to be due to the late consumer adoption of microblogs in the region,
relative to the u.s. and Europe. While the English-language version of Twitter has led the
way across Asia-Pacific, local language versions of the platform tended only to emerge
later. Equally, locally-grown microblog services such as Sina Weibo in China (where Twitter
is blocked) or Ameba Now in Japan have only recently started to gain real traction.
South Korean companies are taking the lead in using microblogs for corporate purposes,
posting much more actively than their peers in other Asian markets. Companies in Hong
Kong, Indonesia, Japan and India - all markets with significant numbers of Twitter users-
are also posting more actively to their microblog channels.
On the other hand, top companies in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are opting
not to use micro-blogs for corporate marketing purposes, largely due to their focus on
consumer marketing on these channels.
Across the region, companies are having mixed success in terms of attracting and
engaging with their audiences. While Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and Indonesian
firms are gaining relatively high numbers offollowers, companies in Australia, Hong Kong
and Thailand are having less success. Companies in South Korea and Indonesia are putting
more effort into engaging with their audiences on microblog platforms, evidenced by the
number of responses they are making to their followers.
Yet only in China and South Korea, countries with deep cultures of sharing content, are
there significant numbers of mentions and reposts of company information and views,
often viewed as a measure of a company's success in engaging and activating their
audiences on microblog channels. Companies prefer to focus on corporate social
responsibility initiatives on microblogs, with some evidence of broader media and
influencer relations activity.
Figure 6: Level of Frequency - Average Number of Posts on Microblogs
Australia China HongKong India Indonesia Japan Malaysia Philippines Singapore South Korea Taiwan Thailand
Average number of posts from July 1-31, 2010.
Table 1: Level of Engagement on Microblogs
··_· .. ····· .. . - .:".. . - .:-.. -. .". . - .:-.
. - . - .. - .
• I - ••• • '"'"
- -. .
Main Focus of
Australia 1297 123 28 28 1
Reputation &
China 27892 388 3126 18 899 Reputation &
Hong Kong 2809 329 69 4 0 Reputation &
India 4349 231 76 7 12 Reputation &
Indonesia 6366 460 7 121 11 Reputation &
Reputation &
Japan 10147 9998 64 73 26 Responsibility,
Reputation &
South Korea 9187 3784 1568 637 573
Media & Influencer
Relations, Marketing
Thailand 1578 1547 0 5 0 Reputation &
ocial networks are Asian companies' preferred social media platforms for
corporate marketing and communications, with almost a quarter of companies
surveyed using a top global or local social network.
However, due to a mixture of cultural, technological and other factors, significant
differences exist in how companies are using social networks across the region. For
instance, it is clear that top firms in Malaysia, Australia and Singapore attract many more
fans/followers on top social networks (in these instances, all on Facebook) than top
companies in India, the Philippines and Thailand.
Equally, the study finds that top companies in South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia tend to
be more active in communicating with their corporate audiences in terms of the average
number of posts they are making to their branded channels. Despite their open-ended
and conversational nature, top companies across the region prefer to view social
networks primarily as channels to distribute content. True engagement involving
two-way dialogue, as measured by the average number of fan posts and average number
of corporate responses to their fans/followers, remains limited.
Aside from consumer marketing campaigns, which form the focus of many companies'
use of social networks, the preferred topics for corporate marketing tend to be related to
corporate social responsibility, alongside some broader media relations/outreach
activities and, in isolated cases, use of social networks for issues and crisis
Meanwhile, despite enthusiastic use of social media by consumers and netizens in China
and Japan, firms in these countries do not use social networks for corporate purposes. In
China, this is likely to be due to the number of large, state-owned firms included in this
survey, which tend to have less incentive to talk directly with their customers, even if they
are in relatively competitive consumer environments.
On the other hand, despite being largely consumer-facing, Japanese companies are not
using social networks for corporate marketing, even if they are using them, sometimes
extensively, for consumer marketing.
Figure 7: Level of Frequency - Average Number of Posts on Social Networks
Australia china Hong Kong India Indonesia Japan Malaysia Philippines Singapore South Korea Taiwan Thailand
Average number of posts from July 1-31, 2010.
Table 2: Level of Engagement on Social Networks
--:-., .-':-."-':
... " ..
•. • '. •• .• . t. 't •
. , -
. '. ... -
Main Focus of the
Social Networks
South Korea
Corporate Reputation
& Responsibility
Marketing Campaigns
Marketing Campaigns
Marketing Campaigns
Corporate Reputation
& Responsibility
Marketing Campaigns
Corporate Reputation
& Responsibility
Corporate Reputation
& Responsibility,
Media & Influencer
Corporate Reputation
& Responsibility
Tonality is weighed on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the most negative and 5 the most positive.
ew leading Asian companies are using blogs for corporate marketing and
communications, activity being limited principally to firms in South Korea, China
and India, though a few companies in Japan, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines
and Thailand are also blogging.
Many of these blogs are not proactively maintained, though companies in Japan, South
Korea and the Philippines are making a greater effort to update these channels on a
regular basis, sometimes posting content several times a day.
Generally speaking, companies updating their blogs more frequently also see greater
interaction with their users. This is particularly true of South Korea and China, where
corporate blogs attract a high volume of user comments.
In Japan, where corporate blogs are widely used by companies of all sizes, levels of user
interaction tend to be lower. This may be explained by the reluctance of Japanese
enterprises and people to get involved in public conversations, or to question something
It is also notable that many Japanese firms prefer to use blog platforms principally to
distribute messages and content - the ability for users to post comments is sometimes
limited or turned off.
Similar to other social media channels, companies are using them chiefly to talk about
corporate social responsibility-related topics. There appears little evidence of companies
using blogs to extend and deepen their media and influencer relations, for CEO/leadership
communications and other corporate activities.
Figure 8: Level of Frequency - Average Number of Posts on Corporate Blogs
Australia China HongKong India Indonesia Japan Malaysia Philippines Singapore South Korea Taiwan Thailand
Average number of posts from July 1-31, 2010.
Table 3: Level of Engagement on Corporate Blogs
Average Number
of Comments
from Readers
Tone of Comments
& Posts from Fans
(on scale of 1-5)
Main Focus of the
Corporate 810gs
China 471 2
Corporate Reputation &
HongKong 0 0 Marketing Campaigns
India 9 3,5
Corporate Reputation &
Japan 100 5
Corporate Reputation &
Stakeholder Relations,
Philippines 0 0 Media & Influencer
Corporate Reputation &
South Korea 588 3.8 Responsibility, Media &
Influencer Relations
Corporate Reputation &
Thailand 0 0 Responsibility,
Marketing Campaigns
Tonality is weighed on a scale of 1-5. with 1 being the most negative and 5 the most positive.
VlDm ~ H A R I N G ( H A N N H ~
ew top companies across Asia-Pacific are using online video to enhance their
corporate communications; official video sharing channels for corporate
marketing and communications are less popular than social networks,
microblogs and corporate blogs.
The survey (Figure 9) shows that companies in India and Japan are most proactive in terms
of the number of videos they are uploading - around one per working day. Elsewhere,
adding content is much less frequent, and often depends on the archived materials
For now, corporate video channels are mostly failing to attract significant numbers of
subscribers/followers. However, the total average volume of video views per channel is
over 90,000, and notably higher in Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan,
confirming the popularity of video from a user perspective and suggesting that
companies are failing to exploit opportunities to bring their stories to life using video (as
well as other multimedia formats).
However, dialogue on video channels remains limited in all countries. Watching video,
even online, is ostensibly a 'lean back' activity. And some companies prefer to limit the
ability for users to comment on their video channels.
In addition to product marketing, companies are using online video channels to talk about
their corporate social responsibility activities, to interview senior management and relay
corporate events and announcements; some companies are also using video to support
their crisis and issues communications.
Few companies are using video for media and influencer relations, CEO/leadership
communications or corporate recruitment marketing, at least in any systematic manner.
Figure 9: Level of Frequency - Average Number of Uploads on Video Sharing
Australia China Hong Kong India Indonesia Japan Malaysia Philippines Singapore South Korea Taiwan Thailand
Average number of uploads from July 1-31, 2010.
Table 4: Level of Engagement on Video Sharing Channels
Average Number of
Subscribers Per
Average Number of
Video Views Per
Main Focus of the Video
Sharing Channels
Australia 1023 427,945
Corporate Reputation &
Hong Kong 0 5,678 Marketing Campaigns
Corporate Social
India 160 92,835 Responsibility, Marketing
Japan 5869 165,332
Issues &Crisis
Corporate Reputation,
Singapore 3 1540 Issues &Crisis
Corporate Reputation &
South Korea 154 158,359 Responsibility, Media &
Influencer Relations
Corporate Reputation &
Taiwan 28,571 120,115 Responsibility, Media &
Influencer Relations

Stephanie Aye
Lead Digital Strategist
Twitter: @steph_aye
• Active Accounts _Inactive Accounts
Video Sharing Corporate Blogs Social Networks Microblogs
In general, Australian companies are focused on
leveraging the perceived 'viral' potential of the social
media by trying to push content as far and wide as
possible. From a corporate perspective, this has meant
a focus on disseminating company news on the
Internet, and using video where appropriate.
Recently, it has become clear that social media can
play a useful role in supporting customer service,
resulting in a more conversational approach to social
media communications in this area, not least on less
overtly conversational channels such as Twitter.
services and mining companies surveyed; it may also
be explained by the general reluctance of companies
to commit to channels such as Facebook that are
naturally more open-ended and which can be difficult
to manage, let alone control.
Qantas - Corporate Social Responsibility
On the surface, it is surprising that so few Australian
companies have set up shop on major social networks.
(In Australia, this is almost always Facebook). In part,
However, the majority of Australia's top companies
have yet to leverage social media effectively for
corporate purposes, either to drive awareness or to
build closer relationships with their audiences. Of those
Australian companies that are using social media for
corporate purposes, microblogs (30%) and video
sharing (20%) are the most popular options, likely due
to their relative ease of upkeep and perceived cost
While Australians tend to be somewhat conservative by
nature, and are not natural contributors to online
communities or creators of online content', consumer
use of social media in Australia is in fact amongst the
highest in the world. Australians have flocked to
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms, all of
which have experienced strong growth over the past 18
Conversely, in line with Burson-Marsteller 2009
research', Australian companies only rarely use
corporate blogs, which are often seen as highly
resource-intensive. Of the few companies that are
blogging (none in this study), it is noticeable that levels
of interaction and feedback with and between their
users tend to be low.
~ Wolcome Octobor 2010
IiMIIrrrrrrrr.. OMlMllt..- .. _
However, with some exceptions, judging by the
general reluctance of Australian companies to stick
their toes in the social media waters as well as the lack
of integration between their websites, social media
channels and traditional communications activities,
few leading Australian firms are yet prepared to lead
in front of the pack, or employ ajoined-up approach to
this area.
Qantas uses YouTube to provide a lively mix of
corporate announcements, updates on CSR activities
such as the airline's Change for Good partnership with
UNICEF (pictured), product overviews and promotions.
Since it was launched early 2006, the channel has
attracted over 900,000 views.
1. Australian Adult Social Technographics Revealed, Forrester Research,
November 2008
2. Social Media Use by Australia's Best Brands, Burson-Marsteller,
November 2009
..-..... Zaheer Nooruddin
Director, Lead Digital Strategist
Twitter: @BMDigitalChina
VideoShilring Corporate Blogs
Social Networi::s Microblogs
• Active Accounts Inactive Accounts
The surveyed companies represent some of the
largest industrial and investment companies in
mainland China. Many are state-owned enterprises,
and tend to be conservative in nature, which may
explain why their use of social media is not well
A major upside for microblogging in Chinese is that
with the same 140 character limit you can write 70-90
words in Chinese, versus an average of 15 words in
English. That's a 6 fold benefit when writing in
web environment (its corporate website) or,
increasingly, as a stand-alone blog on a third party
blogging service platform.
The recent surge in popularity of microblogs has led
many companies to experiment with these channels.
For example, Ctrip, a highly discussed brand in the
Chinese social web, is using a microblog hosted on top
web portal to update its stakeholders on
corporate news and promote special offers.
China Mobile - Telecoms Thought Leadership
Of the many social media tools available, microblogs
and corporate blogs are the most often used in China.
Mainland companies have been relatively quick to
adopt and experiment with corporate blogging,
integrating them as part of an organization's corporate
The second trend is that active blogs and microblogs
are increasingly used for what might be termed 'casual'
communications, in addition to more formal marketing
and public relations campaigns. This indicates that
Chinese companies are still experimenting with these
platforms, and are grappling to find their own social
media strategies - often ones that are quite different
from those adopted in the west.
As has been noted" while the Internet and social media
do not yet have the reach of some traditional media,
notably TV, Chinese consumers rate Internet-based
advertising and information as more credible than TV.
Two trends emerge from the study. First, many
companies rushed to set up their social media
presences in 2007 and 2008, but roughly half of those
destinations have since turned inactive.
Chinese consumers have taken to the Internet, and
continue to do so, in unprecedented numbers. They are
using the social web as a core tool for
information-gathering, decision-making and,
increasingly, as a channel to compare prices and buy
goods and services. Use of social media has spiraled as
users look to social networks, video channels, online
forums and other social platforms for word of mouth
" f ~ . : ~ ~ ~ : ; . : . : : = .~ ~ ~ ~
-_.... . _-""_..
... . _._ ' _ _-_..
.__ '.
-- ----_......- ..
China Mobile regularly provides corporate news and
updates, and comments on telecommunications industry
trends through its corporate blog (pictured) and
microblog, hosted on top web portals Sina and Sohu
respectively. In so doing, it has set the standard for Chinese
companies on how to apply these tools to communicate
with the media and other audiences.
Another issue to keep in mind is that Twitter, Facebook
and YouTube are blocked in mainland China.
Accordingly, global campaigns built for those
platforms must be re-strategized, translated into
Chinese and re-posted or re-created on China's
dominant social media platforms. China's social media
platforms are conceptually similar to major
international ones, but each platform has its own
unique qualities and dynamics.
1. China's New Pragmatic Consumers, McKinsey Quarterly, October 2010
K'i""I. Zaheer Nooruddin
.... _n Director, Lead Digital Strategist
Twitter: @zooruddin
• Active Accounts _ Inactive Accounts
While Internet users prefer to click on videos and
images on the Internet, rather than pure text, video
sharing channels have yet to be embraced in Hong
Kong, other than for consumer and product marketing
purposes. This may be due to the relatively small
amount of externally-sharable video content
available, or that video sharing is seen to be only of
interest to consumers.
Most companies in Hong Kong are still in the early
stages of assessing how to apply social media to their
businesses. The most popular approach for Hong
Kong-based companies has been to set up a presence
on Facebook, which has very high local reach. Facebook
is much the most popular destination on the Internet in
Hong Kong" with an almost 8% share of web traffic.
International companies have been the most
enthusiastic users of social media, a good example
being Cathay Pacific Airways, which in Hong Kong and
globally, uses Facebook pages, Twitter and other social
media platforms such as video and photo sharing
channels to communicate with its corporate
stakeholders and its consumers, to handle general
customer enquiries and to drive recruitment.
However, it is not just international companies that are
adopting Facebook and other channels. For example,
Hong Kong's MTR Corporation has set up camps both
on Facebook and Twitter to share corporate news and
information with journalists, bloggers, customers and
railway enthusiasts, including updates on its Corporate
Social Responsibility initiatives and programs.
Sodal Networks Corporate Blogs Video Sharing
While Facebook and, to a lesser extent Twitter, are
starting to occupy corporate minds, corporate blogging
is almost non-existent in Hong Kong among the
companies surveyed. In addition to concerns about the
lack of internal capabilities, corporations may also find
it easier to be "represented" online as an entity, rather
than by individuals within a company.
Cathay Pacific - Media Be Influencer Relations
Cathay Pacfiic use a mix of social media channels,
including a corporate blog (pictured), to tell the Cathay
corporate story, as well as to announce product news
and promotions, and answer customer questions. Cathay
also encourage users to share their Cathay experiences
with other customers using videos and photos.
The relatively large number of inactive social network
pages suggest that that many Hong Kong companies
have yet to decide how best to sustain their social
communications and engagement strategies beyond
the relatively simple and straight-forward first step of
channel creation.
While Cathay Pacific and MTR are both proactively
encouraging users to share experiences in the form of
videos, photos and posts, most of the companies
surveyed are primarily using social media to "push"
corporate-related information, much of it text-based,
and have not reached the stage of activating audience
engagement and through building online
communities of stakeholders through social media
Going forward, Hong Kong's companies should use
social media to bring to life their brands and make
them truly engaging for their audiences. They can also
establish real dialogue between their brands,
stakeholders and customers.
1. HitWise Hong Kong. September 2010
Palin Ningthoujam
Digital Strategist
Twitter: @palinn
communicate with their many stakeholders, both
domestically as well as in other English language
markets. Corporate blogs are also seen as a useful
means of getting your message directed to the
audience rather than having to communicate through
intermediaries such as journalists.
Partly given their international focus, Indian
technology giants such as Infosys and Wipro are
actively blogging. Infosys has a wide range of blogs,
mostly focused on its products, categories and
partnerships, but also highlighting and analysing
trends around innovation and leadership. Wipro's blog
discusses technology trends and the firm's
sustainability initiatives, amongst other topics.
• Active Accounts _Inactive Accounts
Video Sharing Corporate Blogs
Social Networks
Yet companies in other sectors are also jumping on the
social media bandwagon, including FMCG companies,
whose product brands are generally active in the social
media space, and banks such as ICICI and HDFC. The
latter are mostly focused on providing customer service
support and product promotions.
It is not all Facebook and Twitter. Corporate blogs are
seen as a good way for Indian companies to
Given the low user penetration, combined with a
patchy telecoms infrastructure, Indian companies have
moved relatively fast in response to the opportunities
afforded by social media. Many top Indian corporates
surveyed are either experimenting or already have
active accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
Hardly surprisingly, India's top technology companies
are proactively using social media of all types for both
corporate and consumer outreach.
Facebook and Google's Orkut social networks are both
highly popular in India; India is a major engine of
growth for Linkedln. Meantime, Twitter's popularity
among politicians, celebritites, film stars and
sportsmen has given the microblog massive publicity.
At 6.9%\ Internet penetration in India remains
relatively low, yet social media use is swelling as ever
greater numbers of people flock to social media to
network and voice their opinions.
Infosys - Business Thought Leadership
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Using video to tell the corporate story is also gaining
ground in India. Here, companies are using YouTube
(and increasingly Facebook) to host interviews and
speeches by senior management and promote events,
in addition to supporting broader marketing
In addition to a slew of blogs on its products and
partnerships, management and experts at IT firm
Infosys tackle topics from global economics and business
regulation to innovation, leadership and employee
motivation and retention on their Flat Earth and
Leaderati blogs (pictured).
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Indian companies still put great emphasis on their
websites. But only a small minority has sought to
integrate their websites and activities on third party
social media platforms. While Indian companies
appear relatively comfortable with corporate blogs,
most companies are still experimenting with
Facebook and are not yet ready to join their various
online channels at the hip.
1. InlernelWorldSlales, November 2008
Natashia Jaya
Twitter: @natsiii
• Active Accounts _Inactive Accounts
Nonetheless, telecommunications companies are
amongst the most active adopters of social media
channels in Indonesia. Both Indosat and Telkom
Indonesia are using Facebook and Twitter, on which
they have built substantial communities.
Video Sharing Corporate Blogs Social Networks Microblogs
Video for corporate communication has yet to take off
in Indonesia. This is most likely due to the country's
poor telecoms infrastructure and high commercial
and retail broadband prices. And while smartphones
are increasingly widely used, the fashion is for
Blackberries, which are less suited to viewing video
than other smartphones.
Engagement and interaction with stakeholders and
customers does not seem to be the main objective.
Rather, top Indonesian companies are looking at social
media primarily to disseminate content and drive
awareness. Interestingly, the little interaction
between companies and users is mostly on Twitter -
perhaps due to the microblog's relative ease of use
from a corporate perspective.
Kalbe Farma - Healthcare Thought Leadership
Despite this, Indonesian companies have been generally
slow to use social media for corporate communication
and marketing, and are largely still in experimentation
mode, restricting their activities to social networks and
microblogs, specifically Facebook and Twitter, which
they use largely to distribute company news and to talk
about their Corporate Social Responsibility
Furthermore, Indonesian journalists, analysts and other
influencers are highly active on both Facebook and
Twitter, using these channels to track trends, research
stories and discuss issues with their friends and
professional networks.
Indonesians have only taken to social media relatively
recently. But the growth rates have been extraordinary,
fueled in part by high mobile and 3G penetration rates,
combined with widespread enthusiasm for mobile
communication and social networking.
While the country's Internet penetration rate remains
low, some 28m
Indonesians have registered to use
Facebook, the second highest number worldwide. And
Jakarta is now labeled the 'Twitter Capital of Asia'
based on its high share of global Twitter users'.
The impact of such enthusiasm for social media has
been immediate. Aside from sharing personal
experiences, Indonesians are using these technologies
to bring about societal change. The role of social media
in helping resolve the reported misdiagnosis and
subsequent mistreatment of Prita Mulyasari
at a
Jakarta hospital has been well documented, and there
are many other examples.
Pharmaceutical company Kalbe Farma uses Facebook to
highlight industry research into Alzheimer's, cancer and
other illnesses (pictured). The page also highlights health
workshops the company holds for local communities,
and the Research and Technology-Kalbe Science Awards
(RKSA) that it holds beinnially to reward Indonesian
researchers for their achievements.
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From the high percentage of inactive social media
accounts in Indonesia, it is clear that Indonesian
companies are mostly still taking a short-term
approach. We expect this to change as the Internet
and social media expand their reach beyond the urban
areas, broadband becomes more pervasive and
companies develop a greater understanding of the
need to build close relationships with their
1., October 2010
2. Sysomos, January 2010
3. http'!/
Cindy Low
Senior Associate
On the surface, social media and the Japanese are not
natural bedfellows. For westerners, social media is
about networking and dialogue, an opportunity for
individuals to promote themselves as topic experts. In
Japan, blogging is mostly done for oneself, and is rarely
promoted. Social networks are used largely to reinforce
existing relationships, not develop new ones.
• Active Accounts Inactive Accounts
corporate blogs and video channels, it is striking that
no companies in this study are using major Japanese
(such as Mixi or Gree) or international social networks
to communicate with journalists and other corporate
From a corporate point of view, social media demands a
transparent and conversational approach to
communications that does not come naturally to
Japanese organizations prone to bureaucracy and
Yet after a hesitant start, Japanese people have taken
to social media with some gusto. Microblogs, especially
Twitter, are proving highly popular, and while social
networks such as Mixi have struggled to advance
beyond the 20 million user mark, social gaming, the
latest big hit, looks likely to last the distance.
Microblogs Social Networks Corporate Blogs Video Sharing
Nissan - Media 8c Influencer Relations
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1. Global Social Media Check-Up, Burson-Marsteller, February 2010
Strikingly, neither are companies using corporate
blogs, apparently contradicting Burson-Marsteller
that found that corporate blogs are used by
a number of leading Japanese firms (none of which are
covered in this study). Yet the bulk of these blogs were
targeted at specific markets - mostly the US - as
opposed to global or local Japanese channels.
Furthermore, Japanese companies often review blog
posts before they are posted, or turn off the ability for
users to comment, thereby limiting open dialogue and
turning the channel more into another content
distribution arm.
It is also apparent that major Japanese companies are
not taking advantage of the Japanese love of video
and the country's high speed 3G networks to tell their
story, opting instead to host videos on their own
websites, and then mostly to support their consumer
marketing programmes.
While large Japanese companies may not be
aggressive users of social media, this does not mean
that they are not paying attention to trends in media
consumption nor to the requirements and behaviours
of their stakeholders and customers. Strong demand
for social media monitoring services in Japan is
evidence of this interest.
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Ofthose companies that are actively using social media
while there is some experimentation with microblogs,
Of the companies surveyed, there is a high proportion
of inactive accounts. Why? Most likely as Japanese
enterprises are still feeling their way in this area, and
are sitting on their channels until they have decided
how to move forward in a systematic manner.
Drawing on press conferences, trade shows and other
events, Nissan communicates its corporate activities,
including environmental and community programs, using
its website, Twitter and live video streaming service,
USTREAM. Aimed principally at the Japanese market for
now, such an approach can help Nissan to extend its
corporate reach to other markets.
Unlike many small businesses, which see the Internet
and social media as a cost-effective way to cut through
the consumer clutter, Japan's top companies have been
more wary, using social media sparingly for
consumer/product marketing, and little as a means to
build their corporate reputation.
Felix Heinimann
Group Managing Directior
Essence Communications
Twitter: @TechatEssence
_Active Accounts _Inactive Accounts
Video Sharing
Corporate Blogs
Socia! Networks Microblogs
Nevertheless, both corporations and government
institutions are starting to realise that the benefits of
a direct and interactive approach outweigh the
challenges and risks. This is especially true of
consumer-focused sectors, such as
telecommunications, consumer technology, and
tourism and travel.
opportunity, as video can be a highly engaging way to
tell one's corporate story, whether it is to bring
management closer to the customer, to explain the
background and meaning of key corporate
announcements, or to illustrate corporate
responsibility and community programmes.
Amongst the companies surveyed, DiGi
Telecommunications showed the highest level of
activity, using Facebook and Twitter to make
announcements and as channels to address consumer
complaints quickly. While DiGi's Twitter-stream is fast
becoming an avenue for customers to air their
grievances publicly, the company moves fast to
respond, with its posts also shared on Facebook. This
provides transparency whilst building good corporate
image by depicting itself as a company that cares. DiGi
DiGi • Corporate Social Responsibility
Neither are local companies exploiting Malaysians'
appetite for online video. This appears to be a missed
Despite the rapid adoption of social media channels by
the Malaysian general public - social networks now
have almost 75% reach in the country, and Malays are
amongst the heaviest users of online video in
- Malaysian companies tend to see social
media as a double-edged sword. For some it is a direct,
dynamic and interactive avenue for stakeholder
communication, for others it is an all too easy way to
get exposed to negative feedback.
A similar approach is practiced by the majority of
companies surveyed, who are using social media as
additional channels for product promotions and to
announce corporate updates. Almost all companies shy
away from the core purpose of these platforms - direct
interaction with their users. It is striking that no
companies in the study are using blogs, at least for
corporate purposes.
An essentially conservative and non-confrontational
culture, the most trusted form of communication in
Malaysia is through face-to-face interaction and word
of mouth. Accordingly, top companies are mainly using
social media to distribute company news and facts,
rather than as a tool to connect and engage with their
For example, Malaysia's Employee's Provident Fund (not
covered in this study) recently launched new Facebook
and Twitter channels, though the company has stated
that both platforms will only be used for
DiGi's Deep Green programme set out the company's
goals and activities to reduce its carbon footprint. Unlike
most CSR programmes, set out in brochure format,
online and in print, DiGi is encouraging users to share
and vote on green ideas and is running Challenge for
Change, in which contestants submit c1eantech and
social enterprise ideas online and via video.
Though not covered by this study, the proactive use of
Facebook, Twitter and corporate blogging by Tony
Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia, as well as by Malaysia's
Prime Minister and a large number of other politicians
(of all persuasions), have brought them closer to the
public and are clearing a path for those unsure how to
move forward.
1. State of the Internet with a Focus on Asia-Pacific, comScore, July 2010
Jinny Jacaria
Account Group Director
Strategic Edge, Inc
Despite a relatively poor telecoms infrastructure, and
Internet penetration only 30%" suddenly people are
talking of the Philippines as the new social media poster
boy. Philippine use of Facebook has surged to 17.6m
users, and the country boasts one of the highest
Twitter penetration rates in the world'.
• Active Accounts _Inactive Accounts
Meantime, most Philippine companies remain in
website mode. Having spent sometimes large
amounts of money relatively recently on these
channels, they are keen to see a return on their
Instead, the great majority are hanging back until they
train their communications teams, have the necessary
investment to sustain the relevance and interest in
their social channels and are satisfied of the legal
implications of sharing company information and
views on the Internet and in social media.
Philippine companies are also concerned about how to
measure the success of social media as a platform for
corporate marketing. It is perhaps only when
companies are able to see the real value of social
media engagement in their broader marketing efforts
that they will be able to justify it as a corporate
marketing tool.
Video Sharing
Corporate Blogs Social Networks Microblogs
Even the top local banks, insurance and other financial
services companies are experimenting with Facebook
(though not with microblogs, video sharing, corporate
blogs and other forms of social media). Yet it is mostly
experimentation - the majority of accounts were
inactive during the period of research for this study.
A good example is mobile company Globe Telecom,
which actively uses Facebook and Twitter to increase
awareness of its products and get closer to its
customers. And with some success - the company now
counts over 230,000 fans on Facebook and 35,000
followers on Twitter.
Meantime, few Philippine companies have begun to use
social media for corporate marketing and
communications and, where it exists, it is mostly to
highlight corporate citizenship activities. A notable
exception is the Ayala Corporation conglomerate,
which maintains an active Facebook page, a corporate
blog and a YouTube channel.
Local companies are now playing catch-up, with the
great majority focused on exploiting consumer
opportunities - typified by a multitude of contests,
discounts, promotions and product launches - and an
increasing focus on customer service. Most activity is
on Facebook.
Ayala Corporation - Leadership Communica-

Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO of Philippine
conglomerate Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala uses
Facebook to communicate the progress of his companies
and corporate initiatives concerning sustainability and
corporate governance, and to serve as a platform to share
his views on philanthropy and other public issues.
This is a missed opportunity. Web traffic in the
Philippines is already dominated by search engines
and social media, and traffic to company websites
often in decline as people spend more in social
networks and other media.
More important, companies must understand that
customers now have more choice, and power, than
ever before. Staying away from social media simply
lessens their ability to influence stakeholder behavior.
1., October 2010
2. Market Insight Social Networking in the Asia-Pacific Region, Gartner,
October 2010

Jonathan Hoel
Digital Strategist
Twitter: @jon_hoel
Based on its strong trading economy, business-friendly
regulatory environment and strong broadband and 3G
mobile infrastructures, Singapore is rated as one of the
most advanced digital economies in the world
• Active Accounts _Inactive Accounts
One Singapore company - Starhub - is actively using
Facebook and other channels, though primarily to
communicate product promotions and discounts and
to provide customer service support. The firm's use of
social media for corporate marketing and
communications appears to remain a low priority.
While Singaporean companies have been holding back
on the use of social media for corporate purposes,
those that are experimenting in this area are mostly
focused on 'warmer' topics such as corporate
responsibility, which are arguably less likely to be
contentious. An example is OCBC Bank's annual Cycle
Singapore campaign, which uses Facebook and,
latterly, Twitter to build awareness and increase
Video Sharing CorporateBlogs Sodal Networks
It is also apparent in the relative lack of two-way
interaction with users. Most Singaporean companies
prefer to take a 'push' approach to social media, using
Facebook and other channels largely to disseminate
press releases and other corporate statements.
DBS Bank - Issues & Crisis Communications
This is not to say that Singapore's top companies are
wholly shying away from two-way communications.
This 'push' approach comes at the expense of two-way
online interaction between companies and their users;
few companies are giving the impression that they are
actively listening to their stakeholders' requirements
and opinions. The dearth of corporate blogs used by
Singaporean companies in this study, as well as more
broadly, is instructive in this regard.
While Singapore has the makings of a truly world-class
digital economy, its leading companies are in the
experimental phase when it comes to corporate use of
social media. This is most evident in the high proportion
of inactive accounts, especially on Facebook and
YouTube - the top social network and video sharing
channel respectively in the island state.
Read a personal message from Piyush, our
CEO, about last week's service disruption.
Retweeled by vi)eshkk and 4 othENs
It,i'l!l .a
DBS Bank uses Twitter to field customer service enquiries.
This proved a useful tool in a much publicised ATM
disruption in July 2010 (pictured), during which customer
enquiries were fielded and updates and links to further
information where communicated regularly to customers
and other stakeholders.
Companies also realise social media can be a useful
tool when faced with an issue or crisis. During an ATM
service interruption in July 2010, Singapore-based DBS
Bank used Twitter to communicate updates to its
customers. Once the issue was resolved, DBS has
continued to use the account to answer broader
enquiries about its products and service.
Incidents such as the above can serve as a catalyst for
more structured and proactive use of social media
1. Digital Economy Rankings 2010, Economist Intelligence Unit
Margaret Key
Market Leader
Twitter: @MargaretKey
Koreans are hungry for social media. A garrulous
people, social media helps them meet, talk and
organize during the working day and beyond. Social
media also plays an increasingly important role in
public life, for instance helping Koreans organize and
run protests against US beef imports. Korea's President
has taken to Twitter
Koreans are also fortunate to benefit from the fastest
broadband infrastructure in the world'. Catching up on
the latest sporting highlights or gaming with your
friends is almost as simple as updating your social
networking profile or sending an email on your
• Active Accounts • Inactive Accounts
1. httpd/!/BluehouseKorea
2. State of the Internet Report Ql 2010. Akamai Technologies
that can benefit, or damage, an organisation's
longer-term reputation.
There is also the volatile nature of the Korean
blogosphere to contend with, made no easier by a
widespread culture of anonymous contributions and a
willingness to discuss issues that can make other
internet cultures appear tame.
Video Sharing Corporate Blogs Social Networks Microblogs
Despite the excellent telecoms infrastructure, Korean
companies have yet to start using video in any
substantive way to illustrate their activities. In this
area, PR departments have yet to learn the storytelling
skills of their marketing colleagues. As such, it is a
space to watch.
Social networks are also proving popular, and not just
for consumer campaigns. Korean companies are using
Facebook and Twitter to draw attention to the latest
corporate news and to provide a better service more
finely attuned to the evolving needs of journalists,
bloggers, analysts and other influencers. Corporate
social responsibility programmes are widely
communicated through social media.
It is equally little surprise then that microblogs are
today's preferred social media option. Increasingly
popular, easy to use, open and trustworthy for the
user, Korean companies figure it is a good way to
communicate direct to local and international
stakeholders at little cost, while maintaining
reasonable control over the message.
LG Electronics launched a CSR campaign to highlight its
commitment to hemophiliac sufferers using a corporate
blog and Twitter. Users were encouraged to show
photos of their blood donations via Twitter, and talk
about them on the blog, with LG promising to donate
direct to a charity.
Local Internet companies have been quick to rise to the
challenge, providing users with a slew of innovative
services. Top local portal/search engine Naver's highly
successful Knowledge iN Q&A service provided the
inspiration for Yahoo! Answers; both Naver and rival
Daum have launched real-time social media search

LG •••1:1 --_._--........_- ..
::;::="_-::..------_.""--- -
-- .. __.. _._-
Source: http://blog.lge.comJ
Generally conservative by nature, Korean companies
are keen to be seen as innovative, but would prefer to
be innovative without taking on the associated risks.
There is also a tendency to view social networks and
other social channels as marketing tools to reach out to
customers rather than as public relations platforms
So it may come as little surprise to many that top
Korean companies - including a good smattering of
household name chaebol such as LG, Samsung, Hyundai
- are leading the social media charge in Asia. However, it
has not been plain sailing.
LG Electronics· Corporate Social Responsibility
Luna Chiang
Group Director
Compass Public Relations
While many top Taiwanese companies are aware of the
social media phenomenon, and are considering how to
approach this area, most are staying clear of social
media for corporate marketing purposes, at least for
Why are Taiwanese companies so reluctant?
First, many firms are grappling with the value
proposition of social media. How can their activities be
measured and financial value evaluated? Culturally
conservative, the need to attach tangible value to
business activities is regarded as critically important.
• Active Accounts • Inactive Accounts
If Taiwanese companies need local inspiration, they
would do well to look at phone manufacturer HTC
Corporation. HTC uses a combination of Facebook,
Twitter and YouTube in English language to highlight
and showcase latest products globally, leverage
physical events such as press conferences and product
launches on the Internet, and build relationships with
customers, bloggers and other opinion-formers.
A second factor is the nature of media outreach in
Taiwan, which is often stymied by the lack of in-house
communications teams. Basic media enquiries tend to
go through the company PR person, with spokesperson
duties handled by the CFO - again, a reflection of the
importance attached to financial and operational
performance - and not well suited to the demands of
social media, from initiating and responding to
discussions, to ongoing channel management.
Microblogs Social Networks Corporate Blogs Video Sharing
Third, while a number of major Taiwanese companies
are active in social media, they are using these channels
almost exclusively for consumer marketing and product
promotions. These channels are localised to meet the
requirements and behaviours of consumers in specific
markets - a global approach is rare.
HTC - Media &Influencer Relations
..._-....... ..,.
. _ ~ - - ~ - - - _ . ~ - - _ . _ - -
Source: http-;'
HTC is steadily building its profile on the Internet, using
social media to communicate and engage with
customers and opinion-formers. The company regularly
uploads coverage of its press conferences to YouTube,
Facebook and its website, resulting in hundreds of
thousands of views, and has posted material telling the
'Quietly Brilliant' HTC corporate story (pictured).
It is perhaps little accident that HTC, along with other
top consumer technology players such as Acer, regard
themselves as global companies with global
ambitions. To reach today's consumer technology
buyers in all parts of the world, HTC understands it
has little option other than to be online, and be where
their consumers increasingly are - in social media.
However, to stay the long course, even the more
global Taiwanese companies will need to move
beyond product marketing and look to build trusted,
long-term relationships with all manner of
stakeholders, and proactively look to build a good
corporate reputation.
In the future, we expect to see Taiwan's more
progressive companies use corporate marketing in a
more substantive way, and with social media at its
heart. It is surely a question of when, not if.
Jeremy Plotnick
Knowledge Director
Aziam Burson-Marsteller
CP ALL - Business Thought Leadership
Likewise, companies have been hesitant to adopt these
new channels and, when they do, generally follow
consumer trends in opting for social networks such as
Facebook and HiS, as well as Twitter, while largely
steering clear of blogs and video sharing.
Video Sharing CorporClte Blogs
Social Networks Mkroblogs
1., October 2010
Top Thai firms are not yet exploiting the
conversational opportunities of social media.
Bumrungrad Hospital, for instance, actively uses
Twitter but almost exclusively as a one-way channel to
provide health tips and information about hospital
• Active Accounts Inactive Accounts
reputation management topics and focus 'feel good'
CSR stories or promotions.
And while anecdotal reports indicate that Thai
consumers, especially young people, are becoming
active users of online video, local companies have
stayed clear. Possible reasons: Thailand's weak
technical infrastructure with limited broadband and
almost non-existent 3G wireless access. Another
reason: YouTube's checkered history in the country,
with the government closing access to the platform a
number of times due to claims of material deemed
offensive to the Thai monarchy.
Corporate blogging is used by only one company in
the survey, for a mix of corporate marketing and to
enable company executives to share their thoughts on
a range of social and cultural topics. The lack of
interest in blogging is in line with overall consumer
trends as well as with marketing practice in Thailand,
which stresses the use of visual imagery rather than
the written word.
_ --
_....... - -

-- --
-_. ..... _.... _-
:: -_.. --...
.. ---·1
Thai conglomerate CP All uses its corporate blog to talk
about a number of issues important to its business,
including sharing anecdotes and best practices from
franchises of its 7-Eleven stores: previous histories of
store owners, how and why they started doing business
with CP All, howthey dealt with problems, the key to their
While most Thai companies surveyed have a branded
presence on at least one of the main social media
platforms, there appears to be a lack of strategic
rationale and organizational commitment to their
endeavors. Social media is all too rarely integrated into
a comprehensive corporate marketing platform; rather
they serve as largely standalone communications
channels or at best are linked to the corporate website
in a hub and spoke system. There are also many inactive
or under-utilized channels; others are usurped by
customers and/or employees to discuss topics
unrelated to the company or its business.
The Thai translation of 'usage' of social media is to 'play'
- that is, an individual will 'play Facebook' - and the
connotation of fun seems to have carried over into the
corporate arena, manifested in companies' apparent
reluctance to address serious corporate marketing or
Social media has been relatively slow in reaching critical
mass in Thailand, though the political disturbances
earlier in 2010 led to a spurt in the use of Facebook
(now counting users
) and Twitter by both citizens
and politicians. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva
now counts over 480,000 followers on Facebook'.
Some key considerations for organisations when developing and implementing a
corporate social media strategy:
Monitor Continuously
Discussions online don't conveniently take place during work hours - they can
happen anytime, on any channel and any topic. Make sure you are tracking
top influencers, forums and other online channels in order to identify
potential issues early and proactively enter into relevant conversations.
Clarify Objectives
Many organizations stray into social media without a clear idea of what they
are looking to achieve, and using rudimentary metrics and tools to evaluate
their performance. Having a clear set of objectives will make the programme
more effective, easier to sell and simpler to evaluate.
Get Management Buy-In
Encourage senior management to be aware of - and, optimally, participate in
social media - in order to foster appropriate participation by employees on
behalf of the company. Setting a positive example is the best method of
social media leadership.
Align Messages
Until recently, different stakeholders could be treated separately using
different sets of messages and materials; the internet now gives all audiences
access to much the same information. The need for consistent messaging to
all audiences and across all channels is becoming increasingly important.
Connect the Dots
Your stakeholders may have a different view of your company than you do,
and can voice these opinions whenever they want. When considering your
corporate social media strategy, look laterally across your organization to
identify potential weaknesses or contradictions and plan your response.
Contribute to the Community
Make sure that your participation in social media is relevant and genuinely
helps and adds value to your audiences, as opposed to always providing
content that is marketing or promotional in nature. As with human
relationships, people respond to companies that listen, are responsive and
Participate in Good Times and Bad
There will always be situations in which it is best to avoid participating in
online conversations but, generally speaking, negative content provides an
opportunity for an organization to share its point of view or set the record
straight. Avoiding negative issues can also make you appear uncaring and
perhaps with something to hide.
Be Prepared to Respond in Real-Time
Social media conversations take place in real-time and can spread like
wildfire, so it is often necessary to respond immediately to ensure that you
are seen to care about your customers. Equally, a quick response can stave
off reputation damage that may take months to repair.
Be Flexible
Whilst it is preferable that your message and content are as clear and
consistent as possible in today's faster, flatter communications environment,
the dynamics of online conversations can turn on a dime. Try to retain some
flexibility both in your messaging and in its delivery.
Speak as a Human
People expect to be talked to as human beings, not as constituents of a
demographic or members of a database. When interacting with customers
and other stakeholders on the internet, it is essential that your voice and
tone are both personal and true to your organisation's values.
Don't be Heavy-Handed
Be careful about getting into fights with people on the Internet - large
organizations rarely tend to win spats in the broad court of public opinion.
Furthermore, the use of legal actions or threats often only makes matters
worse, alienating your audiences and helping spread the fire.
Optimise Continuously
It is increasingly easy to track online conversations relevant to your
organization, as well as monitor use of your branded social media channels
on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. Such data can be enormously helpful in
ensuring that your approach is appropriate. It can also help fine-tune your
Next Steps
Below are some initial actions for organizations considering planning and implementing
corporate social media programmes.
Understand Audiences
Few organizations get a grip on what their audiences think about them,
beyond those they already know well. It is also important to appreciate their
behaviours, in terms of preferred sources of information, approaches to
research, relative spheres of influence etc - both online and offline. What
people say and do online does not necessarily reflect what their offline lives.
Assess Communications Capabilities
Understand how well equipped your internal and supplier teams are to plan,
implement and assess social media programmes, build relationships in the
online environment (including leveraging existing 'offline' relationships), and
track, analyse, escalate and manage online discussions.
Identify and Strengthen Gaps
Identify the gaps betw,een your overall communications objectives and plan,
and your current social media knowledge, skills, systems, processes and
tools. Look to strengthen weaknesses through training, recruitment or by
improving internal decision-making processes and procedures.
Re-design Policies, Procedures and Toolkits
Make sure your current communications infrastructure is up to date and
sufficiently flexible to meet today's reality. This may include the introduction
of a corporate social media policy, the development of handbooks and other
resources and updating your crisis communications protocols.
Communicate Employee Roles and Responsibilities
It is very easy, and tempting, for employees to share their own views and
experiences on company-related issues on the internet. It is vital that your
people are aware of the evolving legal framework (in some countries)
governing disclosure to bloggers, their professional and personal
responsibilities and the broad principles of communicating online.
Cascade Learnings
While often the best way to develop capabilities in any area is through the
implementation of communications programmes, also consider how best to
develop a system for sharing social media knowledge and learnings within
and across your communications teams, and ensuring these stay top of
The companies surveyed in this study comprise the top 10 companies per country as ranked in the 2009 Wall Street
Journal Asia 200 Index. The Index can be viewed at
BHP Billiton
Coca-Cola Amatil
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group
BlueScope Steel
Qantas Airways
Westpac Banking
Westfield Group
Rio Tinto
Mainland China
China Merchants Bank
Lenovo Group
China Mobile Communications
China International Trust &Investment
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China
China Telecom Corporation
Bank of China
Bank of Communications
Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Airways
Swire Pacific
Hang Seng Bank
MTR Corporation
Sun Hung Kai Properties
Shangri La Asia
China Light & Power Holdings
Hong Kong & China Gas (Towngas)
Li & Fung
Cheung Kong Holdings
Infosys Technologies
Tata Consultancy Services
Bharti Airtel
Larsen & Toubro
Tata Steel
Hindustan Unilever Limited
HDFC Bank State
Bank of India
ITC Limited
Unilever Indonesia
Astra International
Indofood Suskes Makmur
Bank Central Asia
Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna
Indonesian Satellite (Indosat)
Bank Mandiri (Persero)
United Tractors
Telekomunikasi Indonesia
Kalbe Farma
Toyota Motor Corporation
Nintendo Co.
Honda Motor
Seven & I Holdings
Sony Corporation
Toshiba Corporation
Nissan Motor
South Korea
Samsung Electronics
LG Electronics
SK Telecom
SK Holdings
Samsung Corporation
LG Corporation
Hyundai Motor
Hyundai Heavy Industries
Public Bank Berhad
Nestle Malaysia
UMW Holdings
VTL Corporation
Sime Darby
Malayan Banking
Resorts World
Hong Leong Bank
Jollibee Foods
Ayala Corporation
Ayala Land, Inc.
San Miguel Corporation
Bank of the Philippine Islands
Globe Telecom
Banco de Oro Universal Bank
Philippine Long Distance Telephone
SM Prime Holdings
Metropolitan Bank & Trust
Singapore Airlines
United Overseas Bank
Singapore Press Holdings
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation
Singapore Exchange
SIA Engineering Co
Keppel Corporation
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
Asustek Computer
President Enterprises Corporation
Formosa Plastics Corporation
Hon Hai Precision Industry
Formosa Petrochemical Corporation
High Tech Computer Corporation
Nan Va Plastics
Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corporation
Siam Cement
PH Public Company Limited
Charoen Pokphand
Siam Commercial Bank
Bumrungrad Hospital
Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited
Land & Houses Public Company Limited
Total Access Communications
CP Seven Eleven
Burson-Marsteller regularly publishes analysis and points of views on topical
communications issues. Recent examples relevant to readers of this report
include the publications listed here, which can be found on our Delicious
bookmark page
••• The State of Mobile Communications
September 2010
••• The Brand Management Dinosaur
August 2010
How to Effectively Manage Your Online Reputation
August 2010
••• The New Crisis & Issues Communications
July 2010
Image and Reputation in the Age of Digital Communication
July 2010
••- The Global Social Media Check-up
February 2010
The following employees at
Burson-Marsteller and its affiliates across
Asia-Pacific have contributed to this study:
Adeline Heng, Anoushka Bhar, Betty Ng,
Carly Yanco, Cindy Low, Craig Adams, Elliza
Abdul Rahim, Haruehun Airry Noppawan,
Jeremy Plotnick, Jinny Jacaria, Jonathan
Hoel, Luna Chiang, Margaret Key, Monica
Meer, Natashia Jaya, Palin Ningthoujam
and Stephanie Aye.
For Further Contact
To speak to one of the authors of this report, or for
further information, please contact:
Charlie Pownall
Director, Lead Digital Strategist
Burson-Marsteller (Asia-Pacific)
Twitter: @cpownall
Zaheer Nooruddin
Director, Lead Digital Strategist
Burson-Marsteller (Greater China)
Twitter: @zooruddin
Steve Bowen
Managing Director, Marketing & Training
Burson-Marsteller (Asia-Pacific)
Twitter: @steve bowen
Christine Jones
Managing Director, New Business
Burson-Marsteller (Asia-Pacific)