Byravee Iyer
Jul 29, 2015

It pays to be 'meaningful', but less so in APAC: Havas Media research

How much is it worth to be a 'meaningful' brand? Research by Havas Media Group shows that although consumers in Asia-Pacific are more likely than the global average to agree that brands are improving their quality of life, they don't reward those brands with as much 'share of wallet' as consumers elsewhere.

It pays to be 'meaningful', but less so in APAC: Havas Media research

The good news from the 'Meaningful Brands' report, shared exclusively with Campaign Asia-Pacific, is that brands are generally doing well at meeting consumer expectations in Asia-Pacific. While globally fewer than 28 per cent of brands are seen to be improving quality of life and well-being, in APAC the number jumps to 60 per cent. Further, consumers in Asia Pacific believe they can trust 82 per cent of brands.

However, being 'meaningful' provides less of a payoff here than elsewhere. The 'meaningful' brands in the region enjoy a 37 per cent better share of wallet than lower-performing brands, less of an improvement than the global average of 46 per cent. 

Havas condiucted the research last year across 34 countries, covering 300,000 consumers and 1,000 brands. In Asia, the analysis took into account the views of 36,000 people for 304 brands in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and Australia.

What brands are winning

Havas claims that meaningfulness is so critical to brand stategy that meaningful brands outperform the stock market by nearly sevenfold, with top scorers delivering an annual return of 11.76 per cent.

Havas found that the global brand that generates the most meaningful connection with consumers is Samsung. Google, Nestlé, Bimbo, Sony, Microsoft, Nivea, Visa, IKEA and Intel were also among the top performers. 

In Asia Pacific, FMCG, pharma and retail brands dominated the list of top performers in the majority of markets surveyed.

Heritage or local brands seem to have an edge over global brands when it comes to "meaningfulness". With the exception of China and Japan, which had technology brands as the top scorers, daily household brands dominated all the markets. These include Woolsworth in Australia, NTUC Fairprice in Singapore, Aqua in Indonesia, Amul in India, Biogesic in the Philippines, Haier in China and Panasonic in Japan.

“The results of this study are specially relevant and exciting for marketers in Asia as it demonstrates high amount of trust in the region and consumers expect brands to play a critical role in their lives,” said Vishnu Mohan, CEO of Havas Media Group, Asia-Pacific.

Developed Asia versus emerging Asia

The study also found wide differences in people’s relationships with brands in developing markets (India, China, Indonesia and Philippines) versus developed ones (Australia, Japan and Singapore). Overall consumers have a healthier and more meaningful connection with brands in developing Asia.

Havas describes developed Asia as a cluster of “mature, pragmatic and brand-agnostic countries” where trust levels are as low as 36 per cent for brands. This is in stark contrast to developing Asia, where brands have a high level of meaningfulness and are seen as providers of personal and collective well-being, and where the returns for these brands are 30 per cent higher.

“In Emerging Asia people trust 83 per cent of brands, which is an impressive figure when you consider that globally that comes down to about 50 per cent," Mohan said. "What this essentially means is that there is an opportunity for brands to build on the optimistic sentiment of consumers and further cement their relationship.”

These differences also reflect in engagement levels with brands. People living in emerging Asian economies report that they wouldn’t care if 40 per cent of brands disappeared, considerably lower when compared to developed Asia, where the number grows to 89 per cent.

The majority of respondents in the region also agreed that large companies should be actively involved in improving quality of life and well-being. Indonesia and India sit above the average, with 74 per cent seeking more brand involvement, while Australia and Singapore were more skeptical at 60 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively. 


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