Mobile Blogging Gets Traction in Asia

Corporate blogs will gain popularity as mobile devices become more affordable and sites more accessible, experts say

"[Enterprise] mobile blogging will take off when business devices see a certain degree of democratization, or in other words, as converged mobile devices become more affordable and prosumers (professional consumers) get access to such devices," Shalini Verma, senior market analyst for enterprise mobility research at IDC Asia-Pacific, said in an e-mail interview.

"Furthermore, mobile blog sites need to be more readily accessible on the mobile browsers," she said.

Verma noted that mobile blogs, which are the "mobile avatars" of weblogs and includes SMS (short messaging service), MMS (multimedia messages) and browser-based message input approaches—are still a relatively nascent social trend.

"From an authoring standpoint, consumer-oriented mobile blogs are more of a multimedia-driven experience, while enterprise-oriented mobile blogs are predominantly a text-based experience," she explained.

"Enterprise blogging is primarily related to customer feedback and debate, [and] there are business and investment blogs that are purely informational blogs," she said, adding that mobile blogs will become an important source of feedback as enterprises try to engage customer in all stages of the product lifecycle.

Verma said: "Leveraging various blog communities to gain customer insights is certainly on the cards in future, [and] this will be closely aligned with the enterprises' overarching plan to provide multi-modal customer interaction via enhanced contact centers."

However, enterprise mobile blogs will not be "standalone mobile blogs", the IDC analyst said. "These blogs sites will have multi-modal access via different types of devices, including PCs and converged mobile devices [and] QWERTY keyboards will be a key driver for facilitating easy inputs on such blog sites."

At 5.5 percent, the Asia-Pacific region ranks second in terms of corporate blogging to the United States, which leads at 14 percent, according to a study conducted by public relations agency LEWIS.

And only 2.5 percent of European companies have one or more corporate blogs, noted the findings which were unveiled last month at the EuroBlog 2007 conference in Ghent, Belgium.

According to the study which surveyed 300 companies across 10 countries worldwide, less than five percent of large and mid-sized companies worldwide currently have a corporate blog.

In addition, while corporate blogging is gaining ground in the United States, the "overwhelming majority of businesses around the world still goes without any form of company-branded blogs", said the study.

"Their reasons [for not having a corporate blog] vary strongly, [and] key barriers in the Asia-Pacific region include a tradition of doing business face-to-face and a high level of media regulation," Erin Atan, vice president of Asia-Pacific at LEWIS, said in a statement.

Mark van der Wolf, head of Creative at LEWIS Benelux, said: "Companies around the world remain hesitant to start blogging because the benefits, costs and implications are not clear to them.

"Their caution is justified because as the paper shows, a corporate blog is definitely not for everyone," he added. "Still, under the right circumstances and with the right approach, it can contribute greatly to achieving a multitude of business objectives."

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.