HONG KONG — 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. 

This, concludes the study,  makes this group a critical target for brands seeking word-of-mouth buzz and preference. In particular:

  • 79% of this group say they are extremely or moderately likely to make recommendations to others, compared with 34% of other social media users

  • 41% percent are likely to post their recommendations on social media, compared with 21% of other social media users

  • 73% trust recommendations or endorsements from influencers or KOLs a great deal or a lot, compared with 25% of other internet users

"Influence comes from many interrelated sources and how marketers select and prioritize influencers for their brand is critical," said Paul Mottram, MD 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?"

The report also inlcudes an 'Influence Impact Score' to help 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," said Mottram. "The Influence Impact Score gives marketing communicators a valuable new tool to help target and justify their programs accordingly."

Other findings 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. Surprisingly, respondents rank having a brand spokesperson that aligns with their cultural heritage as least important.

“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.