With the upcoming Olympics and explosion in buzz around sports in China, brands should be keeping an eye on blogs, BBSs and other forms of online social media to better position themselves. Any brand playing in this area in China would do well to read through CIC‘s newest, free white paper: “Tuning into Sports IWOM“. The report analyzed over 4 million messages from China’s online message boards to come up with key findings about sports in China, including:

Nike led Q4 buzz among the 14 tracked brands with over 42% share of voice. New product and campaign launches had a noticeable impact on buzz volume for several brands including Nike, Adidas and Reebok. For example, the launch of Nike’s new basketball sneakers and the launch of Adidas’ and Reebok’s campaigns in Q4 drove the high buzz volumes around these three brands. Basketball and football dominate the sports category buzz. Yao Ming and Houston Rockets topped the basketball player and team buzz, with 7.7% and 13% share of voice respectively. Football star Kaka and football team AC Milan occupied the top positions for football players and teams. Compared to those on larger portals or sports vertical communities, online fan club community members are over 2 times more active in creating content. Administrators of these fan clubs are not only among the most active content creators, but also possess rich knowledge of the forum discussions and utilize a number of tactics to influence others’ messages. Sports net culture is filled with a number of unique elements and serves as both media and communication platforms. E-zines (e-magazines) are created and/or supported by brands, websites and fans, rivaling traditional magazines in terms of content and overall quality. “Group reporting” of live matches on BBS is similar to recent development of Twitter “sports groups” (i.e. “Twitter Super Bowl”) in the West (though predates Twitter by many years). Cartoon blogs are finding new ways to communicate and represent fans’ passion and love of sports.

The full report can be downloaded here for free.

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