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August 18, 2010

NOTE: This is a mirror of a post I first ran on edelmandigital.com

Over the past year, Edelman Digital APAC and our partners at Brandtology have mined and analyzed 12 months of online conversation about major technology brands covering:

  • 8 million posts,
  • representing the perspectives of millions of netizens,
  • housed in 4,000 regional online channels,
  • across eight Asian markets.

So what? Well apart from improving the insights; targeting and relevance to our client’s digital programs; and helping us to win some new clients; the DBI has answered many of the questions we had when we launched it. Further, the DBI has tracked and enabled us to better appreciate macro-trends in the social media landscape across Asia. For example:

  1. Online chatter grows and grows: The first DBI (October 2009) tracked 800,000 mentions of survey brands in the quarter, while the fourth and most recent DBI (10.3, August 2010) tracked 2 million. This finding demonstrates that as more Asians come online, they are happy to build or join communities to discuss (technology) brands, pass verdict on products, and share content that catches their eye. The unprecedented rise in social network usage across the region has also not gone unnoticed in the DBI. For example, this quarter, the DBI (10.3) in China saw social networks finally overtaking bulletin boards in terms of total conversation about surveyed technology brands. We all knew people were talking – but the speed of increase has been startling!
  2. The Twitter Phenomenon: Asia has been a major contributor to the 100+ percent increase in the platform’s usage over the past 12 months. In October last year, Twitter represented approximately 18 percent of the conversations found in the first DBI (ex-China). This has since grown to represent almost half of all posts tracked about technology brands surveyed in influential local channels monitored – with a high in India where microblogs account for a whopping 69 percent of all conversations! As Steve Rubel eloquently puts it
    – we are quickly moving from a Web of pages to a Web of streams, and one where tech brands need to be omnipresent and working in, and reacting, in real time.
  3. Tech brands joining the conversation: The past 12 months has also seen technology brands expand their local blogger engagement outreach programs, with some running online competitions for advocate communities (Canon being a great example) to build their social presence on Facebook and Twitter in particular. In Singapore, seven of the 50 technology brands tracked now have a local Twitter presence, with others contributing to a regional or global Twitter ID. Facebook pages are also springing up, with tech brands taking a regional, local or product line approach towards building communities – with some building communities across all three at the same time! However, presence alone is not enough – more needs to be done to build engaged and active communities – but more on that another time.
  4. Telcos and mobile chatter dominates: Local telcos are prominent in the Top 10 brands across all eight Asian markets where we run the DBI. Netizens either love or hate their telcos – there seems to be little middle-ground. When you consider the fact that telcos are often the access point to the hottest devices we have tracked – smart-phones – then local telcos have the best opportunity to lead and define successful online brand engagement. For example, Bakrie Telecom in Indonesia, a new entrant to the local list of Top 10 ‘Buzziest Brands’ had 90.9 percent of brand mentions take place on Twitter – mainly referring to its “Esia” product and service – and has done a good job at engagement. It will be especially interesting to track how such telco social engagement strategies and efforts evolve as people seek increasing amounts of information about popular smart-phone brands that we continue to track such as including BlackBerry, iPhone and Android.

As the DBI evolves, we see the opportunity to dig deeper into the hottest technology products, as well as into the specific content that brands are using and creating to engage with online communities. Further, we’ll be able to track specific branded Facebook pages to measure engagement on an ongoing basis.

However, that’s for the future. In the interim, you can read more about the fourth Asia Pacific Digital Brand Index (10.3) in the following documents – a personal favorite of mine is how World Cup initiatives helping drive buzz for consumer electronic brands in China.

Finally – I knew you’d ask, so below are the Top 10 most discussed technology brands we’ve tracked in the 12 months (ending June 2010) across our eight Asian markets:

  1. Google
  2. Microsoft
  3. Apple
  4. Samsung
  5. Intel
  6. Nokia
  7. Sony
  8. Hewlett-Packard
  9. Yahoo!
  10. Research in Motion

You can access the media releases for all seven countries here.

We’re looking to evolve the DBI going going forward, what do you think might be interesting to focus on from here?

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