Technology Featured APAC

Brands entangled to scam messages at risk of losing consumers’ trust: APAC study

Hong Kong – As the rise of scam messages from fraudulent entities begin to overwhelm consumers, users in the Asia-Pacific region now have their trust with brands slowly erode once brands get entangled in any form of scam messages, the latest survey from digital trust company Callsign shows.

According to their latest insights, around 52% of APAC users lose trust with the brands they are loyal to once a scam message sent to them claims to be associated with their favorite brand, regardless of any real association to the message itself or its actual content.

Such loss of brand confidence also unveils a reason that 28% of APAC users state that they receive more scam messages than personal messages from friends and family. On a global scale, the insights puts out the ratio of people receiving scam messages at around 4 out of 5 people.

As 51% of APAC respondents admit that they have fallen victim at some point in their lives to these SMS fraud or scam messages, 29% of the respondents say that they have stopped using the brand mentioned or allegedly associated with the fraud message.

“The problem has become so pervasive that consumers mistrust the technology, processes designed to protect them from fraudsters and confirm identities with many adamant that users must prove beyond doubt who they are when logging in to use a platform, and that there should be an online identity system to quell the surge of scams,” Callsign said in a press statement.

With these issues in mind, 45% of APAC respondents say they think identity is the problem and that people should prove who they are when signing into any platform, which includes authentication measures like two-factor authentication (2FA) and third-party app authenticators.

For Stuart Dobbie, senior vice president for innovation at Callsign, the insights shows that consumer trust in our digital world has vanished and, rightly or wrongly brands, are being blamed. He added despite all these sentiments,little is being actually done to purposely re-establish digital trust through complete and accurate digital identities.

He further explained that with consumers feeling the brunt of perceived inaction by organizations, it is no surprise that they are asking for more protection, and that if we continue to be unable to know and trust that the person is who they say they are online, large parts of society will stop working.

“Digital trust is about the confidence we have in the technology, processes, and people to secure our digital world. Digital trust is underpinned by digital identities, and the fact that scams are running wild proves that our digital identities are well and truly broken. It’s time to re-think fraud prevention strategies, identifying genuine users through their behaviors will allow us to identify users online and re-establish digital trust,” Dobbie added.

Meanwhile, Namrata Jolly, general manager for Asia-Pacific at Callsign, commented, “The solution lies in re-thinking how we fight fraud and how we identify people online. Current approaches tackle both challenges by only identifying fraud. The problem with this approach is that a fraudster using stolen credentials looks like a genuine user gaining access to accounts or executing transactions. If instead fraud strategies look to positively identify only genuine users, this automatically and simultaneously prevents fraud.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Nostalgia, unrepresented sectors key drivers among young Filipinos’ preference for audio content

Manila, Philippines – The global pandemic has pushed the majority to tune in to digital channels to be entertained, including music streaming. With the greater majority of these listeners being under the Gen Z and millennial demographic, their diverse perspectives on music streaming content can be tapped by advertisers, as the latest insights from Spotify shows in retrospect of the Philippine market.

Part of the influencing factor many young Filipinos are streaming audio content more than ever is due to reasons around having it as a ‘mental escape’. For instance, the survey noted that the respondents have listened to songs from the ‘70s 59% more and songs from the ‘80s 40% more as a way to lean on to a ‘nostalgic feeling’. Furthermore, about 87% of millennials and 85% of Gen Z’s locally say that they listen to audio to reduce their stress levels. Lastly, around 76% of Filipino millennials see audio as a mental health resource.

In line with this, the survey recommends brands to align any of their sponsored content to a more ‘comforting’ zone, noting that this creates a positive association with the type of audio we are listening to. Furthermore, the survey also emphasizes the significance of the rise of podcasts, which can be used by brands to promote podcast episode snippets to inform listeners and increase curiosity.

“Listeners are more receptive when messaging matches their mood. Consider millennials’ nostalgic listening experience and lean into contextual targeting to match their vibe,” Spotify said in a statement.

And with audio now having a more ‘emotional’ attachment to these younger generations, respondents are now more positive in democratizing live experiences concerning audio content. About 65% of the respondents say that they prefer connecting with other music fans around the world through a live-streamed concert, while 35% prefer connecting with their favorite local artist and fellow fans through a physical concert.

In addition, 51% of the respondents now prefer virtual concerts in contrast to the 42% of respondents preferring physical concerts, stating that virtual concerts are far more cheaper and more convenient.

The survey also noted that as part of democratizing these audio experiences to a wider audience, brands are advised to think more of the consumer base’s interests, not what they are made of. For instance, gamers who are long stereotyped for the male demographic, are now expanding into the female demographic.

“Gamers are focused on scoring when they’re deep in play mode, but they also use time spent gaming to learn and discover new things, from podcasts to playlists. Take your targeting to the next level by reaching gamers of both generations in real-time while they’re soundtracking their gaming,” the company added.

A larger part of the democratization of live experiences in audio content is due to the wave of fanbases rallying support behind these artists and content creators, with 39% of the respondents saying they have known their favorite music artists or podcast creators via social media. Other factors include knowing them from an existing artist (15%), streaming service recommendation (11%), friend recommendation (9%), and as seen from a movie or TV show (8%).

“Gen Zs and millennials are not just consumers, they’re creators. Pull back the curtain and give your audience a backstage pass to your brand’s creative process — and the opportunity to be part of it,” they commented.

Lastly, Filipino Gen Z’s and millennials understand that part of their diverse audio listening experience comes from amplifying unheard perspectives from societal sectors that are not given amplification back then to represent themselves. Around 62% of millennials and 58% of Gen Z’s in the Philippines said they’ve sought more content from more diverse creators and podcasts in the last year.

In addition, 68% of Filipino Gen Z’s believe they have more freedom to be their authentic selves than previous generations.

“As voices behind the mic become increasingly diverse, the audio medium is resonating with a wider audience — the fruits of which are already starting to change the industry,” Spotify stated.

The platform added, “[Gen] Zs are the most racially and culturally diverse generation yet, and they expect brands to reflect, represent, and empower them through their campaigns, talent partnerships, and participation in social justice movements.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SG brands should bank heavily on strong purchasing power from Chinese expats: survey

Singapore – As the national government is easing down border restrictions related to COVID-19, local businesses in Singapore are finding new ways to bounce back and generate positive momentum. One of these factors is the significant rise of the Chinese expat demographic, who are seen as a factor these local brands can bank on in terms of purchasing power, a survey conducted by AI marketing platform EternityX shows.

Around 52% of the affluent respondents noted that they have spent an average of more than S$1,000 per month on luxury or beauty goods, 19% of which even spent an average of more than S$5,000 – a sum typically equivalent to buying a small shoulder bag from a luxury fashion house or a diamond ring from a high-end jeweler.

Furthermore, regardless of the complicated cross-border logistics, more affluent Chinese expats prefer shopping on Chinese online marketplaces including, Tmall, Taobao, and Pinduoduo rather than local and regional ones such as Shopee and Lazada.

The survey also found that most Chinese expats have been easing back into their pre-pandemic life; as 63% of respondents said that they have been spending more this year than they had in 2020.

“During the lockdown, we’ve seen brands shifting their focus to new consumer demographics within the territory, and Chinese expats are believed to be an important segment to aid consumption growth, now and into the future,” said Richard Andrew, managing director for Southeast Asia and Australia at EternityX.

In terms of making investments, about three-quarters of the affluent agreed that digital resources, including search engines (80%) and social media (73%), play important roles when they make investment decisions. In addition, 33% of the affluent Chinese expats plan on saving and investing 16% to 30% of their annual income, with stocks and bonds, insurance, and real estate being the top 3 investment options, indicating great untapped opportunities for financial institutions.

Lastly, in terms of media consumption, while over 71% of the respondents have lived in Singapore for over 10 years, Chinese expats still heavily utilize Chinese media platforms, with iQiyi, Douyin and Sina being the most influential platforms when it comes to their spending decisions; while WeChat, Toutiao and Sina News are their primary Chinese media channels for breaking financial news.

Media consumption plays a huge role on the purchasing behavior of these expats, as the survey shows that despite many of the respondents speaking English at home, 77% still tend to purchase brands that advertise in Chinese on a Chinese media channel. The survey reveals as well that campaigns running on Chinese digital platforms in simplified Chinese drive higher engagement and generate more leads with Chinese expats living overseas. This shows the power of communicating in a customer’s native language and the diversity of the platforms that can provide enhanced interaction with Chinese expats.

For Andrew, their latest data has shown that it can take up to 30 steps for a customer to make their purchase decision; the more expensive the products, the more steps the customers need.

“This survey reveals the unique ways in which Chinese expats spend their disposable income and consume media, which sheds light on how brands and businesses should tailor a personalized approach that best connects with their target customers. Demographics matter and therefore brands should embrace technology and innovative digital solutions that precisely target one of Singapore’s wealthiest segments [Chinese expats] in order to maximize the effectiveness of advertising campaigns,” he stated.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Big shot ambassadors to continue driving growth of SEA’s e-commerce platforms

Singapore – As more and more e-commerce brands in Southeast Asia ramping up their presence through frequent platform deals such as the recent ‘9.9 Sales’, these brands in the region are highly incentivized with the use of influencers for their sales campaigns, hence pushing the e-commerce industry in the region to a steadfast growth, latest insights from e-commerce aggregator iPrice shows.

Comparing the latest ambassadors of Lazada and Shopee namely K-pop actor Hyun Bin and international kung fu actor Jackie Chan respectively, the report showed that the senior global star received higher engagement for articles published regarding the collaboration. Jackie Chan’s presence in Shopee’s latest campaign garnered 59 articles published, compared to the 53 articles garnered by Hyun Bin’s Lazada campaign.

Despite that, Hyun Bin’s campaign garnered more engagement in social media, receiving 79% of ‘love’ reactions, 19% of ‘haha’ reactions, and 2% of ‘wow’ reactions. Meanwhile, the study found that Jackie Chan’s campaign garnered 62% of ‘love’ reactions, 21% ‘haha’ reactions, and 17% of ‘wow’ reactions on social media.

“It’s clear to see that influencers play an important role in driving excitement for the upcoming sales period. Thus, key e-commerce companies have enough incentive to involve influencers in their campaigns,” said iPrice. 

Meanwhile, overall web visits among e-commerce platforms across the region have increased by 31% this year from January to June compared to the same time frame last year. By average, overall web visits from the aforementioned period this year clocked in 4 million web visits.

The Philippines experienced the most surge by 73%, followed by Indonesia (41%), Malaysia (34%), Singapore (10%), Thailand (9%), and Vietnam (7%).

Specifically, the top two Singapore-based companies, Shopee and Lazada, experienced an increase of web visits by 56% and 10% in 1H 2021 compared to the same period last year.

In terms of consumer behavior, given the uncertain COVID infection rates, consumers will continue to stay at home, and consequently forego holiday travels and family get-togethers. With that given, it is expected that there will be more opportunities for online shopping. iPrice foresees that Southeast Asian consumers would probably spend an average of US$40 on e-commerce by the end of the year.

Furthermore, the insights found out that there was an increase of 26% in average consumer spending in 2020, when consumers spent about US$32 per e-commerce transaction.

“Most purchases will be directed towards the categories of sports and outdoor, home improvements, and electronics. Lastly, even if consumer spending won’t increase as predicted, online retailers can still expect far more online web visits to their platforms this year,” the company concluded.

Platforms Featured Global

Article theme, in-feed ad must match to trigger detailed memory response: report

Singapore – Amid consumers’ online content consumption, in-feed advertisements show up to monetize the traffic it gets from online readers. And with that traffic, online consumers now expect that there should be an evident correlation between the article they are reading versus the in-feed ads they are served, new data from technology company Integral Ad Science and Neuro-Insight, a neuromarketing and neuroanalytics company.

Said data was collected not through traditional survey data methods but rather through examining brain activity in response to contextually matched ads, showing context can significantly impact ad memorability.

According to the report, matching informational ads with an article’s message creates a very strong detail memory response, and drove a 36% lift in detail memory compared to when there was no match. This can be especially relevant for campaigns that focus on a clear call to action that brands want consumers to respond to.

Part of what consumers also get a closer affinity to as well is that endemically matched ads drive higher memorability: Endemically matched ads, or those that align with and match the surrounding content based on vertical, such as auto ads near auto content, drove a 23% lift in activation within the part of the brain responsible for the memory of practical details, which includes key messages, calls to action, and branding elements. These ads also boosted global memory by 27%, or the memorability of broad themes, overarching narratives, or audio and visual elements.

‘Detail memory’ pertains to the type of memory based on specific themes the consumer observes among the advertising being served, whereas ‘global memory’ pertains to the type of memory based on broader topics.

Meanwhile, ads focused on an emotional response are best paired with content themes. Ads that aim to leave an emotional memory, a particular feeling, or overarching brand perception among consumers performed best when placed alongside articles with a matching theme, such as an ad with a seasonal summer theme adjacent to summer season content. The study found that emotive ads drove 40% higher global memory within thematically matched articles compared to when there was no match.

Lastly, consumers recognize ads as part of their online experience, as the vast majority of consumers (63%) viewed ads as part of their online reading, not disruptive or a distraction. Only 36% of participants said they scrolled past an ad without reading it.

“Using the latest neuroscience and neurometrics, this groundbreaking study demonstrates the specific ways that a webpage’s context can dramatically alter how audiences recall and respond to ads. As our industry prepares for a cookieless future and increasingly moves away from audience targeting, advertisers have a significant opportunity to be intentional with contextual targeting tools, such as IAS Context Control, to drive greater campaign outcomes,” said Tony Marlow, CMO at IAS.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Average Aussie consumer spends AU$500 monthly on discretionary items: report

Sydney, Australia – As more and more consumers now resort to their mobile devices to create online purchases, social media has changed consumer spending on discretionary items, as a new study by Australian direct bank UBank estimates that the average Australian consumer spends around AU$500 per month on such items, or the equivalent of AU$6,000 per year.

According to the report, with the current Australian adult population standing at 19.75 million, it is estimated that the discretionary spend is around AU$118.24b, and all of these purchases are only made via our mobile devices. 

For Philippa Watson, CEO at UBank, such behavior can be attributed to existing COVID-19 restrictions, which not only drastically affected our way of living but also how we spend and make purchases online.

“Australians are finding new avenues to part with their cash using apps on their phones and devices,” she said.

By demographic, the report notes that men are spending an average of AU$602 each month compared to women that AU$400 per month on discretionary items. These include clothing and shoes (AU$89.14 men spending per month compared to AU$75.44 women spending per month); dining out (AU$102 compared to AU$62); entertainment (AU$86 compared to AU$56); and tech gadgets (AU$88 compared to AU$38).

“More surprisingly, it’s men who are spending more on average each month in areas like clothing, dining out, entertainment and gadgets,” Watson added.

Meanwhile, in terms of age demographic, millennials are spending the most each month, averaging to AU$773, compared to Gen X who spend AU$528, with Gen Z that spend AU$465 and Baby Boomers spending AU$236. In fact, millennials account for 50% of all discretionary spending on these channels splashing AU$59.1 billion each year.

The report also noted that social media exposure has made a positive impact in online spending among Australians, as one in five or 21% of Australians say social media has had a positive influence on the way they manage their money, with millennials, or about 35% of the respondents, are more likely than all other generations to say social media has had a positive impact on the way they manage their money.

“While we know young people love social media and apps, it’s encouraging to see some positive money management behaviors resulting from these channels,” Watson concluded.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Around 42% of Aussies think non-health brands should engage in vax awareness efforts

Sydney, Australia – As pandemic woes globally are now starting to ease thanks to constant rollout of vaccination campaigns, a large chunk of Australian consumers, around 42% of them, believe that even non-health brands should play their part as well in promoting vaccination campaigns in their respective localities, new data from Kantar shows.

Despite the high percentage of consumers agreeing to heightened brand-centric vaccination campaigns, 74% of Australian consumers still believe that brands should not use the pandemic in exploiting others, while 54% of respondents say that they want brands to talk as they have always done, signaling the balance of brand communications and advocacy.

Such proximate affinity of these consumers to their brands of choice in the mid of the pandemic is rooted in the factor of locality, to which 76% of respondents choose to shop at local stores since it shows importance for the community. This trait has raised 12% since its last reading in April this year. In addition, 35% of respondents strongly suggest that convenience fares better than the price of a brand’s product or service.

Jonathan Sinton, chief commercial officer at Kantar Australia, said, “Homegrown is preferred with 37% continuing to pay attention to product origin, [which is] a marked increase to pre-pandemic preferences when origin was far less of a consideration. Additionally, almost two-thirds (63%) of Australians believe that environmental issues are more critical than ever (+6%) as we become more focused on purchasing sustainable products and brands right now.”

He also added that Australians are only decreasing sustainable behaviors that are against current pandemic rules, such as carpooling and keep cup usage, or where they have hygiene concerns or because it is simply inconvenient.

“Being a strong brand committed to provenance, value and sustainability is key to connecting with pandemic weary Australians in these uncertain times, but this must be communicated with authenticity,” Sinton added.

Adding to the sentiment of Australian consumers for brands engaging in vaccination campaigns is the fact that 66% of Australians want the majority of the population vaccinated to feel safe returning to daily life and 55% believe the country should keep the goal of zero cases of community transmission.

Marketing Featured APAC

Online shopping, promotions and convenience: the trinity of the modern APAC shopping experience

Singapore – The shift in shopping behavior among Asia-Pacific (APAC) consumers has been fixed in three factors: preference to online shopping, frequency of promotions, as well as convenience, new research from Reprise shows.

According to their report, regular ‘a few times a month’ online shoppers are now outpacing their offline counterparts by 42% vs 31%. Those who shop online ‘once every few months’ leapfrog offline shoppers by 66%. 

Meanwhile, promotions and sales are the best way to engage SEA markets, as 61% wait to shop online during the big sales days, vs the 39% ‘anytime’ shoppers. 

Lastly, convenience is the e-commerce ‘trump card’, with the reasonings of being ‘time-saving’ and ‘finding best prices’ are perceived as the two biggest advantages by 76% and 65% of online shoppers. 

“We have seen unprecedented growth in e-commerce in the last 12 months. Many markets in APAC have leapfrogged as much as 5 times, already meeting projections for 2025. This e-commerce acceleration is partly led by platforms that have fast-forwarded their interface roadmaps and advanced their technology. This, along with audience targeting via in-platform ads have played a significant role,” said Ritika Gupta, e-commerce director at Reprise APAC.

Despite pandemic restrictions, consumers’ desire to look and feel good weren’t dampened; as the top 3 most shopped categories online in APAC over the last six months were; clothing and apparel (67%), health and beauty (47%), and consumer electronics (40%). 

However, the shipping fee is the biggest ‘turn-off’ for shoppers. The top 3 perceived barriers to online shopping are ‘shipping fee’ (57%), ‘shipping time’ (55%), and the inability to ‘touch and feel’ products before purchasing (48%). Hence, good reviews go a long way, as the top 3 shopper motivators when purchasing online are ‘good reviews’, ‘promotion/sale,’ and ‘good star ratings’ as voted by 60%, 54% and 50% of online shoppers respectively. 

In terms of advertising relation to e-commerce, online ads are the key driver to engage new buyers. 1 in 2 online shoppers look to online ads for discovering new brands and products when purchasing online. In addition, social media is king, as it is now the top point of research for 42% of APAC shoppers.

“As e-commerce continues to blur the lines between international borders, it’s now more imperative than ever for brands to tailor their marketing strategy to the locality of the region and markets that it serves. It is time to re-think e-commerce as a one-stop-shop, an e-business and a data haven. And perhaps time to re-evaluate the function and value of brick and mortar retail as an experiential step in the e-commerce path to purchase,” the report stated.

The e-commerce economy in Southeast Asia: growth and challenges

Starting off with Indonesia, with being a promising e-commerce market in APAC with a very cluttered landscape encompassing several local and global players; marketplaces are the main online shopping destination for Indonesians. 73% of online shoppers prefer marketplaces to brands’ websites for making online purchases. Despite having tremendous competition, certain marketplaces have stood out as the preferred shopping destinations for Indonesians. Currently, the international marketplace, Shopee, shows the most success in terms of product discovery as 86% of online shoppers engage with a new brand on that platform, followed by 71% on Tokopedia.

Meanwhile, shoppers in Thailand began spending more time on social media platforms, making the country the only market in SEA where 62% of online shoppers prefer to research brands and products on social media. Millennials seek the convenience of returns when shopping online. However, across generations it is the cheaper prices found online that drive shoppers in Thailand to participate in e-commerce.

In Malaysia, product information is emphasized by 46% of online shoppers for making a purchase decision. Optimizing product content on marketplaces has become critical for brands to stand out in the cluttered environment. In addition, Every 1 in 2 Malaysians do their product research online using social media platforms and almost 40% of the online shoppers also refer to online search portals for the same. Shopee deems to be a clear winner in terms of marketplace platform of choice, 92% of online shoppers have used Shopee to discover new brands in last 12 months.

Coming to the Singaporean market, Singaporeans not only shop locally but are avid international shoppers, making convenience the primary purchase trigger for 73% of online shoppers. They are also very price-oriented with 63% of Singaporean shoppers choosing to buy online to access better promotions and discounts. 

The report notes as well that one peculiarity among Singapore shoppers is that 52% access brand websites to gather more information before making a purchase decision. This is almost 50% higher than other markets in SEA. With new restrictions coming in every few weeks, it is understandable that the best performing categories are groceries, restaurant and food delivery services in addition to work from home-focused products including monitors, webcams, and even home office furniture.

In terms of the Vietnamese market, 41% of shoppers in Vietnam shop online a few times a week, compared to 36% who buy online a few times a month. Vietnamese online shoppers spend a large amount of time on the internet, when it comes to researching about new brands or products, 65% shoppers rely on social media and 45% refer to brand websites.

Lastly, the Philippines is one market that has not kept up with the e-commerce growth momentum compared to neighboring countries in SEA. Poor internet connectivity, largely unbanked population and its unique geography all lead to a slower e-commerce growth. Filipinos are less brand loyal and highly price sensitive. Two out of three Philippine shoppers will try new brands they find online, and 57% online shoppers also wait for products to go on promotion or discount before hitting the payment button. 

“The growth we’ve seen from e-commerce in the last 12 months is not unexpected, the impact of COVID has merely accelerated an already apparent trend. This acceleration provides a strong opportunity for brands to engage with consumers in a different way – consumers have proven that they are more open to engage with new brands and products in an e-commerce environment, and brands who recognize this and adjust their digital strategy accordingly – will reap the rewards,” said Pippa Berlocher, president at Reprise APAC.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Blis unveils new interactive consumer pulse dashboard in Singapore

Singapore – Global ad location Blis has announced that it will be rolling out its Consumer Confidence Pulse in Singapore, which acts out as an interactive dashboard that is built on existing trending data around consumer mood to analyze COVID anxiety.

Said dashboard also now tracks consumer movement over a rolling 13-month period, across 18 retail and lifestyle sectors including airports, gyms, malls, restaurants and grocery stores.

The platform launch comes after COVID concerns in the country had been at an 18-month low before the latest Phase 2 or heightened alert measures. Blis also notes that retail foot traffic remains steady versus the same time last year., adding that the number of people choosing to invest their money rose sharply between June-July 2021 further suggesting confidence is returning.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen brands pivot their operations, strategy and messaging multiple times to meet their consumers’ concerns about safety. The new dashboard will be an invaluable tool for brands to get ahead of the curve by ensuring their campaigns and messaging are striking the right tone and audiences at the right time,” said Emma-Jayne Owens, managing director at Blis.

Each month, the platform tracks responses to four questions around the economy, household financials, spend intent and COVID-19 anxiety. Coupled with consumer movement analysis, the dashboard enables brands to better understand trendlines by industry sectors.

For Alex Wright, global insights director at Blis, their data shows that consumers around the world are capable of exercising their own caution in advance of government-imposed restrictions. He added that while Singapore struggles through its latest set of restrictions, recent history suggests the post-lockdown recovery this time around may not be as gradual as when the pandemic first started.

“In Singapore, our respondents posted the lowest level of COVID concern across the 9 markets we track, prior to Phase 2 measures. This is likely linked to Singapore’s high vaccination rate and low death rate. Even so, consumer mobility in July demonstrated caution amidst rising cases until the tightening of restrictions on 22 July. Despite this caution, retail foot traffic remains steady versus the same time last year,”

The platform is currently rolled out as well across the UK, USA, Netherlands, Italy, and Australia. The markets of India, New Zealand and the Philippines will see the platform launch in the coming months.

Marketing Featured APAC

APAC consumers more likely to buy from ‘purposeful’ brands 7.9 times more

Singapore – Corporate and brand purpose has become a clear and indisputable driver of tangible business success and commercial returns, with consumers in the Asia-Pacific are 7.9 times more likely to buy from brands who have a clear brand purpose, new insights from global integrated communications agency Zeno Group shows.

According to the insights, consumers are 9.1 times more likely to trust the brand, compared with similar Zeno research that indicated 4.1 times more likely before the pandemic, 9.8 times more likely to recommend the brand to friends and family, up from 4.5 times more likely before. In addition they are 6.6 times more likely to protect that brand in the event that it was to make a misstep or receive public criticism.

In regards to life purpose, 85% of respondents said they consider a brand’s or company’s purpose when considering a job or employment with that brand, with that proportion rising to nine out of 10 among Gen Z and millennials. And 83% of respondents consider purpose in their decisions about making financial investments in a brand or company. 

For the specific APAC market, between 47% and 61% of consumers in China, India and Malaysia said they believe brands to have a strong purpose, up slightly from before the pandemic. But in Singapore, that number declined to only 33%. And in Australia, included in the survey for the first time, it was a scant 28%.

According to Paul Mottram, regional president for APAC at Zeno Group, said results should also be a call-to-arms for any business leader who might think they’ve got purpose covered with the annual ESG report, or token philanthropic efforts, adding that ‘iIt’s time to get serious about purpose’.

“Beyond purchase intent, the research shows the broader – and growing – impact of purpose. Consistent with other key data points in this research, we see an even stronger multiplier effect compared to similar research we published last year,” Mottram stated.

He added, “Because in those same markets [Asian markets], between 88% and 99% of consumers said it’s important for the brands and companies they engage with to have a strong purpose. It’s clear that a purpose deficit persists, between consumer demand for purpose, and brands’ ability to deliver.”

Said research also shows that consumers won’t hesitate to punish brands without a strong or clear purpose, with both their wallets and pocketbooks, and their voices online. Among survey respondents, 28% said they would stop buying from the brand; 30% would start buying from a competitor brand or company that better aligns with their stance; and 27% would discourage others from buying from or supporting that brand.