SYDNEY: Brands who seek to engage consumers in conversations via interactive platforms such as social networks are likely to see their perception ratings improve as a result, a survey of five major markets in Asia Pacific has revealed.

According to a study by Lightspeed Research and Trendstream, 30% of Australians said their views of a brand would be more positive if the product concerned had a social network page allowing them to request information and make enquiries.

This figure stood at 37% for their counterparts in India and China, demonstrating that such an approach could play a powerful role across a number of different countries in the region.

Similarly, 37% of web users in India, and 25% of South Koreans, would be impressed with a brand which they had mentioned on a portal such as Twitter contacting them directly in response.

Only 23% of contributors in Australia shared this opinion, while just 8% of the panel in this country agreed they would be more enthusiastic about a brand which established its own "group" on properties such as Facebook and MySpace.

A third of Indians, almost a quarter of South Koreans and a fifth of Chinese netizens saw corporate blogs as a way in which brands could increase "liking" levels among consumers, compared with 18% of Australians and 13% of people in Japan.

Some 46% of the Chinese sample authored their own blog according to Lightspeed and Trendstream's analysis, a total that reached 40% in South Korea, 34% in India, 25% in Japan and 11% in Australia.

Terry Wiley, Asia Pacific ceo for Lightspeed Research, said "while consumers are hungry for engagement, the data shows that there are clear limits that consumers expect brands to respect." 

"For example, very few have much appetite for brands befriending them on social networks – just 7% of Australian and 9% of Japanese respondents would improve their view of brands using this strategy."

"Clear regional differences do exist so it's vital that those wanting to develop strategies to drive consumer engagement understand how different segments of consumers behave and what they expect from brands online."

Data sourced from BandT; additional content by WARC staff