Japan’s Bloggers Focused on Companies & Brands : Social Media Implications

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I found this news piece a bit interesting when sifting through the press wires this morning; Technorati Japan has worked on an amazing study which shows how Japanese bloggers are writing about and communicating with companies via their own personal blogs.

One fascinating aspect of the US and Japanese blogging markets is that there is a vast difference between the percentage of bloggers who blog for business related matters, and those who blog for personal reasons.

Just 4.7% of the Japanese bloggers surveyed said that the primary reason they blog is to ‘raise visibility as an authority in my field,’ whereas 33.9% stated in a similar Edelman/Technorati American-based study of English language bloggers last year that this is their primary reason for blogging — seemingly a significant cross-cultural difference

The end result being honest info directly from the gut of the Japanese consumer, and a new outlet for Japanese public relations firms in terms of consumer review monitoring and reputation management.

Another interesting part of this equation is that (and I don’t have the facts to back this up) a huge majority of Japanese bloggers host their blogs within ‘blog social communities’ owned by Yahoo Japan, Goo, Livedoor and the other top Japanese search engines and web properties. If content ownership in the Japanese market is reflective of its US counterparts, this content is owned by the blog hosting companies.

Now, look what Yahoo has done with integration of Answers, flickr and its other social media offerings into the branded Nintendo Wii channel. Imagine these Japanese hubs consolidating all of these bloggers’ reviews, experiences and hopes for these companies within vertical sectors set up for each business (with the option for those bloggers to meet and interact with other bloggers who share the same preference for specific brands, stores and shopping areas); the end result would be user generated media at its finest.

Among the survey’s key findings were:

Seventy percent of respondents said that among the reasons they blog is ‘to create a record of their thoughts;’ 63.8% said that they blog ‘to create a record of the information that I have gained;’ and, 58.7% said that they blog ‘to share information I have gained with others’ (multiple reasons for blogging were accepted).

Just 4.7% of the Japanese bloggers surveyed said that the primary reason they blog is to ‘raise visibility as an authority in my field,’ whereas 33.9% stated in a similar Edelman/Technorati American-based study of English language bloggers last year that this is their primary reason for blogging — seemingly a significant cross-cultural difference

A total of 84.5% Japanese respondents said that they blog about companies (their industry, service, products), with 49.3% doing so at least once a week (with 14.6% saying ‘daily or almost daily’).

A majority — 55.4% — said they are ‘never’ contacted by companies.

Seventy percent of Japanese bloggers said that they find corporate websites to be trustworthy or very trustworthy, while 62.9% indicated that they find the ‘corporate news release’ trustworthy or very trustworthy.

“What these results show is that while Japanese bloggers are communicating about companies or products all the time, companies are not communicating with them enough, even though conventional methods of corporate communications are still more trusted in Japan compared to America,” says Edelman North Asia President Robert Pickard. “This seems to argue in favor of companies supplementing their traditional one-way ‘monologue’ communication of messages by engaging with bloggers online through a new two-way ‘dialogue’ where conversations are key.”

“The important thing is targeting,” says Technorati Japan Marketing Manager Fumi Yamazaki. “Because bloggers have different attitudes depending on what company or product or product category they are talking about, we are trying to reach out to the bloggers, understand what they want and provide the means for the companies and bloggers to both be satisfied with what we provide.”

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Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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