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Food companies will benefit from telling their story to online Asians

By RJ Whitehead , 22-Jan-2014

Chinese consumers who follow food and beverage brands on social media are likely to spend up to 160% more on their purchases each week, according to a study into the impact of “online brand storytelling” across the Asia-Pacific region.

The story is similar in other countries, including South Korea and Singapore, according to integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom Communications.

Covering a number of segments, from travel and tourism to healthcare and F&B, the study aims to reveal the relationship between online brand strategies and consumer behaviour. It surveyed over 2,200 consumers between the ages of 15 and 60 across 10 nations.

Return on investment

"Put simply, the more consumers engage with brand content, the more they spend on brands," said Stephen Tracy of Waggener Edstrom.

"Communications professionals across Asia find themselves under increasing pressure to prove the ROI of their investments in digital content. 

“Our research reveals a clear relationship between brand storytelling online and increased consumer spending, referrals, and engagement.” 

Zaheer Nooruddin, vice-president of the digital operation at Studio D in Singapore, agreed: "For us the real take-away is that brand owners must focus on creating rich, compelling, and relevant storytelling for their audiences in 2014

If brands succeed with creating consumer engagement through high-quality content marketing across Asian markets, then return on investment will follow.”

Big numbers

Across the region as a whole, nearly four-fifths of 78% of consumers who use online services stated they obtained information about product and services using social media.

In China, 86% said they actively consume online advertorial content or click on digital ads, while slightly more digital consumers in Hong Kong actively participate in brand campaigns that have contests and giveaways on social media.

Of India’s online consumers, 91% use Facebook either frequently or very frequently. Meanwhile, consumers in the Philippines who follow healthcare brands online spend up to 257% more on related products and services per purchase; in Singapore, consumers buy 172% more.

"This study shows that in 2014 digital-driven brand storytelling is central to successful communications. Consumers want to be engaged by brands online," said Matthew Lackie, senior vice-president at Waggener Edstrom. 

"We are seeing that B2B and B2C companies will be rewarded in 2014 with larger spends, engagement rates, and higher levels of brand advocacy when they provide their audiences with great content."

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