HONG KONG: Nokia, the mobile phone manufacturer, was named as the top digital brand in Asia in 2008, coming in ahead of McDonald's, Coca-Cola, KFC and Nike in a survey across six countries in the region conducted by TNS.

The company surveyed 3,000 consumers in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, and Nokia registered the highest level of digital brand recognition everywhere except Taiwan.

Sony, Visa, Citibank, HSBC and AirAsia made up the top ten, with other major multinational brands including  Pepsi, Samsung and Toyota also making the top 20.

Malaysia's AirAsia was the only brand based in one of the country's surveyed to make this group overall.

Anne Woodhams, of TNS Hong Kong, said multi-national brands probably featured more prominently as they have a "a formal focus on digital" as part of their marketing strategies, and bigger budgets.

Among the report's other findings were that the number of Thai consumers who argued they were not influenced by online ads rose from 9% in 2007 to 16% last year.

Similarly, the number of people saying they were influenced by any form of digital communications fell from 42% to 33% in Thailand last year, and also declined by 5% in Malaysia to 30%.

A majority of consumers also trusted marketing communications much less than word-of-mouth, consumer reviews or blogs.

Search ads, pop-ups, banners, email and SMS campaigns received the lowest scores in terms of trust, and were also perceived more negatively than ads on traditional media like TV and print.

TNS argued the brands receiving high levels of recognition had either utilised their own online platforms or branded content to engage with consumers, two tools which received high ratings in terms of trustworthiness.

Data sourced from Brand Republic (Asia); additional content by WARC staff