SINGAPORE: There is a clear relationship between brand storytelling online and increased consumer spending, referrals, and engagement, new research covering ten key Asian markets has revealed.

A study, Content Matters: The Impact of Brand Storytelling Online in 2014, from integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom Communications surveyed over 2,200 consumers between the ages of 15 and 60 across Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam, and explored how they interacted with brands across six categories.

The conclusions were clear. "Put simply, the more consumers engage with brand content, the more they spend on brands," said Stephen Tracy, APAC Lead at Waggener Edstrom's Insight & Analytics (I&A) practice.

Much of this engagement was coming through social media, as 78% of Asian digital consumers said they obtained information about products and services via that channel. A similar proportion (74%) looked for deals and promotions there, while 69% participated in contests and giveaways, and 68% shared information about products and services.

Further, consumers who followed a brand online were between 17% and 39% more likely to recommend it friends or family, depending on the category. At the lower end of that scale were electronics and appliance brands while travel and tourism brands achieved the highest levels of brand advocacy.

The other categories with increased likelihood to recommend included mobile devices (19%), food and beverage (24%), healthcare (27%) and personal care (29%).

Some differences emerged across the various countries. For example, food and beverage products proved attractive for consumers in mainland China and South Korea, where those following these brands online spent up to 160% and 167% more every week respectively.

Consumers in India and the Philippines following travel and tourism brands online spent up to 187% and 160% more respectively each year on these. Filipino consumers following healthcare-related products and services were also likely to spend up to 257% more per purchase, while the comparable figure for Singaporean consumers in this category was 172%.

"If brands succeed with creating consumer engagement through high-quality content marketing across Asian markets, then the ROI will follow," declared Zaheer Nooruddin, Vice President of Digital at Waggener Edstrom's Studio D in Asia-Pacific.

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff