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.