Asian CEOs reject social media

30 August 2012

SINGAPORE: Chief executive officers in Singapore, Hong Kong, India and China are "at best passive observers" of social media, reports a new survey.

Added Value Saffron Hill, the marketing consultancy, interviewed 32 Asian CEOs and found that they are hesitant to use social media personally due to privacy concerns.

They are also sceptical of its value in the corporate setting, with the prevailing attitude being that social networks provide a limited forum for employee feedback, but not for dialogue.

Reticence about social media is in spite of a larger trend among Asian CEOs, who valued digital technology for its ability to facilitate their existing work habits.

Notably, the majority claimed to be undaunted by new connected devices. They reported feeling in control of items such as smartphones, turning them off or giving them to support staff during key meetings.

However, the report also showed that CEOs indicated they were more accessible by email due to the "always on" nature of smartphones.

This cohort was also enthusiastic adopters of iPads, with one CEO saying: "I started taking my iPad for short trips and now I find the laptop is becoming desk bound. It feels heavy and unnecessary for some trips."

Encouragingly for brands looking to engage this valuable niche audience, the executives interviewed indicated they were open to marketing communications, provided they were appropriate and relevant.

Connected devices offered an opportunity to engage them with brands they were already tuned into, noted the survey, citing travel, apparel, luxury and technology as key categories of interest.

"In many ways technology has made [CEOs] more similar to the everyday person," said Jon Wright, head of analytics and insight at MEC Asia Pacific, the media agency. "They constantly access information on the go to remain informed and inspired.

"Brands need to ensure that valuable content is provided that fits with the CEOs' requirements, and it needs to be effectively 'liquid' in order to be accessible via any device," added Wright.

Data sourced from Added Value Saffron Hill and WPP; additional content by Warc staff