Sony and Panasonic vie for affection on social media battlegrounds

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Can 13,967 people be wrong? That’s how many people like Sony Australia’s Facebook page. According to the iconic Japanese supplier, that figure is growing by around 1,000 users every week, so it might soon catch up to rival Panasonic Australia, which is sitting on 18,454. Both are well clear of their Korean rivals, however, with LG Electronics Australia not even playing the Facebook game.

Sony and Panasonic quite clearly have very aggressive social media ambitions. In addition to Facebook, Sony also engages with consumers via YouTube and Flickr, whilst Panasonic’s local office has a Twitter stream for both the brand and its MD (Steve Rust), plus a YouTube channel.

Whilst there is no broad Facebook page for Samsung or LG’s Australian offices, there is a Samsung Australian Mobile page, which currently has 3,382 admirers. Quite clearly, Sony and Panasonic are taking social media more seriously. Sony Australia group manager — brand marketing, Simon Hovell explained why.

“The primary use of social media for Sony is to generate further advocacy for our brand — turning customers into fans, and fans into advocates. It allows us to have conversations with our customers, and also to examine the conversations they’re having with each other, to join in and influence,” Hovell said.

Check in to Panasonic’s Tweet stream and it’s clear that this medium is being used to promote the brand’s new releases, engage consumers in competitions and respond to consumers’ questions. Furthermore, next Tuesday (23 November 2010), Steve Rust will be online answering questions in a virtual Twitter conference.

Although Hovell is speaking on behalf of his brand, it’s clear that there is a high degree of universality to his comments, especially when he talks about these mediums assisting retailers in communicating product benefits to consumers.

“It provides valuable customer insight, which ultimately allows us to affect our business or marketing activities. We use social media to interact with our customers online, giving them reasons to engage with and place value on the brand. It is also complementary, particularly in this busy and competitive pre-Christmas period, to other touch points for customer advocacy, such as our call centre and retail floorstaff,” he said.

An example of this engagement is Sony Australia’s upcoming eAdvent Calendar being played out on its Facebook page. For the first 12 days of December 2010, Sony is giving away a different prize each day, with winners then encouraged to report back their thoughts on the products.

So, can 13,967 people be wrong? Well, it’s actually gone up to 13,979 in the time it took to write this article, so it seems the strategy is working.

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