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Welcome to The Stream: Allison+Partners’ content hub that features the latest news and trends making the biggest waves in media and marketing.

NOVEMBER 17, 2017 //     

Which APAC KOLs are Key?

Photo: topchinatravel.com

By: Paul Mottram

Across Asia Pacific, social media has become mainstream. In China, for example, there almost one billion users of WeChat, Tencent’s messaging service that combines messaging with social sharing, ecommerce and payments. Marketing resources – whether paid, owned or earned – are highly allocated towards social platforms.

Amid this shift, marketers are increasingly turning to online influencers, often known simply as KOLs (key opinion leaders) as an alternative to interruptive, frequently intrusive, and often ineffective banner-based advertising. The logic is simple: social endorsement from online opinion leaders or celebrities will reach and appeal to consumers in a natural and compelling way as they scroll through their feeds.


At Allison+Partners, we wanted to look more closely at how influence really works. So, the latest installment of our Influence Impact Report, takes a deep dive into the dynamics of influence in Asia.

This October, we surveyed 3,065 consumers across the China, Japan and Singapore markets, looking in particular at the food & beverage, financial services, consumer electronics & mobile devices, and travel & leisure sectors. We wanted to understand what kinds of influencers have the greatest and deepest impact? How do consumers weigh the influence of KOLs against that of their friends, families and peers closer to home? And ultimately, how does influence translate into word-of-mouth buzz, shares, and recommendations for brands and products?

The research reveals some intriguing findings:

  • While Asian consumers in these markets are overwhelmingly online, often for at least 3-4 hours per day, direct word of mouth remains the single most powerful influence on them
  • Younger Asian consumers are frequently more conservative, skeptical of change and seeking validation for their product or service choices
  • The brand attributes most valued are social responsibility and visual presentation that matches the consumer’s preferences
  • Influence comes from a variety of sources, depending on the product category. Online influencers and KOLs play a role, but it’s often subsidiary to other sources, such as professional or expert reviews, feature articles, and consumer reviews—and always works in concert with them
  • KOLs are most followed in China, followed by Singapore and Japan
  • Consumers who follow KOLs are on average significantly more likely to recommend products and services to their friends, family and co-workers than those who don’t

The report reveals the complex nature of influence in the region, and suggests a framework for understanding and leveraging it. Influencing word-of-mouth is the name of the game, and getting it right involves not only selecting the right influencers, but also appealing to the subset of consumers – we call them Engaged Enthusiasts – that has a disproportionate influence on their peers.

Download the Influence Impact Report here, and contact us for more information on how we help brands get influence strategy right.

Paul Mottram is managing director of All Told, Asia Pacific.

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 //     

Facebook's New App Connects Creators with Video, Fans and Watch Shows

Photo: Facebook for Creators

Facebook is trying to win over the influencer crowd with an app built just for them, and it connects to Watch for those influencers with an official show on the social network.

The Facebook Creator App, announced Thursday, will give internet stars a place to create and edit videos, film live, message with followers and track stats about their videos. The app is for people with a Facebook Page, not just a personal account.

AGENCY NEWS // NOVEMBER 16, 2017 //     

The Power of Engaged Enthusiasts: Allison+Partners' Study Uncovers New Insight on Consumer Influence in Asia Pacific

There is a powerful category of Asian consumers who have disproportionate influence in their ability to spread brand awareness and drive purchase decisions, according to Allison+Partners’ latest Influence Impact Report. These “Engaged Enthusiasts” are more likely to follow and trust social media influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs), more receptive to marketing content across channels, and more likely to give recommendations to others. This makes them a critical target for brands seeking word-of-mouth buzz and preference.


Making up 23 percent of total internet users in the region, Engaged Enthusiasts are defined by their openness to influence at large, and potential to influence the opinions of their immediate peers.

  • Seventy-nine percent say they are extremely or moderately likely to make recommendations to others, compared with 34 percent of other social media users
  • Forty-one percent are likely to post their recommendations on social media, compared with 21 percent of other social media users
  • Seventy-three percent trust recommendations or endorsements from influencers or KOLs a great deal or a lot, compared with 25 percent of other internet users

The Asia Influence Impact Report draws on original consumer research conducted in October and November 2017 among consumers in China, Japan and Singapore. It features data on general preferences and detailed information on consumer preferences about products and services in four key categories: consumer electronics and mobile devices; food and beverage; travel and leisure; and financial services.

“Influence comes from many interrelated sources and how marketers select and prioritize influencers for their brand is critical,” said Paul Mottram, managing director of Allison+Partners’ All Told group in Asia Pacific. “While reach is important, it’s not everything. Will those influencers be perceived as credible and an authority for your brand or category? Will consumers trust their recommendations?”

Finding the right influencers takes rigor and a proven process for identification and evaluation. To that end, Allison+Partners’ proprietary Influence Impact Score approach helps define the correct blend of influencers for a brand by quantifying and scoring the complex variables that determine potential impact.

“Influencer engagement programs should be both measurable and accountable,” Mottram said. “The Influence Impact Score gives marketing communicators a valuable new tool to help target and justify their programs accordingly.”

Other research findings in the report include an assessment of the brand attributes Asian consumers value the most. The top two factors that emerged overall are a brand’s social responsibility and the extent to which a brand’s visual style aligns with the consumer’s tastes.

“Asian consumers appear to value brands that not only do good, but also brands that look good – or make the consumer look good by being associated with them,” Mottram said.

The report also contains a wealth of insights and actionable advice on:

  • Consumer preferences and social media usage in the region
  • The relationship between the influence through “external” sources and the influence that takes place within consumers’ own networks
  • Additional insights into consumer preferences in China, Japan and Singapore and within four vertical markets
  • Strategies for activating the influence of “Engaged Enthusiasts”
  • A proven formula for selecting and prioritizing influencers and KOLs

About the Influence Impact Report

The Influence Impact Report is an ongoing series that explores the dynamic forces that shape and drive consumers in an active ecosystem of influence. Allison+Partners compiled this report based on an online survey of 3,065 Chinese, Japanese and Singaporean internet users between October and November 2017 using the Qualtrics Insight Platform, which also provided the consumer panel. To download the Influence Impact Reports, visit http://www.allisonpr.com/what/influence-360.html.

AGENCY NEWS // NOVEMBER 16, 2017 //     

Brands Should Focus On 'Engaged Enthusiasts' In Asia: Study

A category of Asian consumers wields disproportionate influence when it comes to spreading brand awareness and driving purchase decisions, according to new research from Allison+Partners.

The Influence Impact Report polled more than 3,000 consumers in China, Japan and Singapore, finding that 23% of respondents can be described as 'engaged enthusiasts' — more likely to follow and trust social media influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs), more receptive to marketing content across channels, and more likely to give recommendations to others.  READ MORE
NOVEMBER 16, 2017 //     

Are Podcast ‘Super Listeners’ Audio Advertising’s Next Sweet Spot?

Photo: Getty ImagesWe all have that podcast friend—the one who can’t seem to stop referencing podcasts and telling you which ones you have to listen to. But it turns out these “super listeners” could be useful for marketers, according to a new report by the Knight Foundation and Edison Research. READ MORE
NOVEMBER 15, 2017 //     

Mountain Dew's 360-degree video teaser drives 63% completion rate

PepsiCo's Mountain Dew successfully leveraged a 360-degree video teaser to promote and drive engagement to a more full-fledged virtual reality experience, "The Professor Presents: #GotHandles," per news released today and made available to Marketing Dive in advance. The campaign was created with Immersv and the soft drink brand's ad agency OMD.

The effort drove a 63% video completion rate and a 22% post-video clickthrough rate, according to a release. Innovid's 2016 Global Video Benchmarks report found the average clickthrough for mobile video ad campaigns was usually just 1%. The campaign also outperformed the Immersv network average of 15% clickthrough rates by 32%. READ MORE
NOVEMBER 14, 2017 //     

Ikea: Criticism of campaigns that champion diversity only pushes us on

Ikea has been running its ‘The Wonderful Everyday’ campaign for the past four years and credits it with bringing more personality and understanding of what the brand stands for to the UK market. And it says a big reason it has been successful is its focus on diversity. READ MORE
NOVEMBER 14, 2017 //     

Snapchat Filters Ads Now Target People -- Not Just Places

Photo: SnapchatBrands can now apply more-advanced targeting tools to Snapchat photo filter campaigns, enabling them to reach select audiences and experiment more with the creative messaging, the company says.

The messaging and media app is calling the new tool, which arrives Tuesday, "audience filters." Instead of just hitting a specific location (which is what its geofilter does), brands can target based on interests, time of day, age, gender and other technical criteria.
NOVEMBER 13, 2017 //     

How Alibaba's Annual Shopping Event Rakes In $25B

Photo: Alibaba Group

Every year on Nov. 11, Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group hosts the world's biggest shopping event, called Singles Day. Chinese consumers fill their online shopping carts beforehand and stay up until the clock strikes midnight to click the "buy" button, trying to catch the best deals before they sell out.

Alibaba's event on Saturday—once an unofficial Chinese celebration for the unmarried until Alibaba rebranded it as a Chinese take on Black Friday—brought in $25.3 billion in transactions in 24 hours, up 39 percent from last year, which bodes well for Chinese consumer sentiment. Alibaba says 90 percent of sales during the event were on mobile devices.

NOVEMBER 13, 2017 //     

Lowe’s Built an Escape Room and Challenged Four DIYers to Build Their Way Out

Lowe’s may not be the first brand to stage an escape room, but the stunt sure is a clever way for the hardware store to market its wares.

A new 17-minute reality-style ad puts four skilled craftspeople—an electrician, Moe; a contractor, Wes; and two YouTubers who run DIY channels, Bob and Grant—in a custom-built obstacle course with three rooms, a series of puzzles to solve, and one hour to make it to the ground floor. Each person got to pick one tool to bring into the maze, though more were scattered throughout.

NOVEMBER 13, 2017 //     

Cannes Lions get a makeover after holding company complaints

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will implement several fixes next year amid grumbling from the marcomms industry.

To reduce overlap among Lions, the festival will gut more than 120 subcategories and retire the Cyber, Integrated, and Promo & Activation Lions. It is also grouping related Lions through a track-based system. The PR Lions will sit within the "Reach" track, alongside Creative Data, Social & Influencer, Direct, and Media. Most of the creative disciplines, meanwhile, are housed within the Comms track.


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