China Mobile builds bonds

22 March 2011

BEIJING: China Mobile is the brand most effectively engaging Chinese consumers at present, a study has found.

Consultancy R3 drew on the views of more than 10,500 people based in ten cities across the country, and all within the 15–40 year old demographic.

It monitored three criteria – namely, the preference, engagement and values associated with the goods and services featured – to produce a cumulative index rating.

Telecoms giant China Mobile, which now has over 580m subscribers, headed the rankings having registered a combined score of 118.9 points.

It received 85 points in terms of being seen as the most attractive provider in its category, 72 points for forging a connection with consumers, and 199 points when participants assessed the positive qualities the brand exudes.

Handset manufacturer Nokia logged 105.5 points, including 61 points covering its appeal measured against competing offerings.

The Finnish organisation posted 71 points for the bond formed with shoppers, and 185 points in relation to the attributes it personifies.

Nike took third place on 81.5 points, hitting 116 points concerning the rapport built with its target audience, aided by its links to the NBA and ad campaigns boasting basketball stars like Kobe Bryant.

Elsewhere, Nike only generated 35 points where panellists were asked to identify the number one player in the sports segment, and 93 points for the principles it embodied.

"China Mobile continues to lead because of its strong brand values and high preference - well above China Telecom and China Unicom," said Sunny Chen, a senior researcher at R3.

"While Nokia performs well in both these factors too, Nike ... leads for strong engagement and association with stars and media in China."

Electronics pioneer Apple claimed fourth, lodging 80.1 points, reaching 155 points for the characteristics it represents, falling to 43 points as a sector leadership rating and 42 points for constructing a relationship with buyers.

Li-Ning, a rival to Nike, closed out the five leading operators on 75.6 points, awarded 102 points for creating an affinity with customers and 92 points regarding the qualities it exhibits.

Lenovo, the information technology specialist, was sixth on 67.4 points, fast-food chain KFC grabbed seventh after obtaining 65.1 points, and dairy group Mengniu occupied eighth, holding 62.2 points.

Completing the top ten were electronics manufacturer Sony, collecting 61.2 points, and Coca-Cola, recording 59.6 points, meaning foreign firms made up 60% of this cohort, a trend replicated more widely.

"Only 19 of the top 50 brands are local companies, which suggests there are still some gaps in terms of the way they are building preference and values in China," said Chen.

Among digital properties, social network Q-Zone led on 91.3 points, incorporating 133 points for favourability, 128 points when weighing up associations, but just 13 points while discussing engagement.

Ecommerce hub Taobao secured 100 points on the first two metrics and 69 points for the third, equating to 89.8 points.

These amounts stood at 99 points, 112 point and 22 points respectively for video-sharing portal Tudou, which gathered 77.6 points in all.

It thus beat Youku, a similar platform delivering 61 points overall, considerably ahead of Kaixin001, another social network, with 44.7 points.

"Q-Zone dominated on both preference and values - it's a very popular outlet for young Chinese, matched with a deep opinion from them on the values it offers," said Chen.

Data sourced from R3; additional content by Warc staff