Over the past 18 months much has been written about social media in China, about massive growth, new social media darlings and the massive number of users of these sites. We have seen brands reaching out to bloggers and social media sites and creating campaigns in a social media environment. Media dollars are shifting to social media sites and campaigns embrace social elements to connect with consumers. In most cases, however, we largely see traditional marketing thinking about being transplanted into a social media environment.
As a brand agency, we asked ourselves the question: what does this all mean to our Clients’ brands and the way we guide them through this new world gone social? We needed better insights on how brands should navigate and embrace social media, how consumers embrace it and how they relate to brands. We needed to understand Chinese social consumers and the role that brands play in their life, how influence is built and how are the key influencers. We wanted results that answer the how and not the why.
OgilvyOne commissioned this study in early 2010 and then worked with our Planning team on insights and implications for brands in China. This report is the first of its kind – a regular deep dive into the online space in China and the Asia Pacific region.
Over the last three years, social media has gone from zero to internet hero. And things are going to change. Social media users are a new kind of consumer that instinctively incorporates brands and friends into their sharing communities.
Initiators, Commenters and Gawkers
26% of all social media users regularly start conversations. They are content creators and they also publish their views and opinions. A further 29% are Commenters – people who may not initiate, but they do like to reach and comment on other people’s views. And finally there are the Gawkers who prefer to browse and observe.
Social media users are no longer discriminating between ‘brands’ and ‘friends’. They are simply identifying a third group they can engage with – ‘frands’.
Social media is no longer an experiment. It has arrived as an important media category deserving of a major role in marketing plans targeting mainstream and leading consumers alike. Social media is powerful because users are blurring the distinction between they relate to friends and brands, creating powerful new opportunities for brands to create uniquely close relationships with those how buy them
The era of consuming is over. The era of sharing had begun in earnest. Social media is the new mainstream.