According to the 'Meaningful Brands' report, people’s expectations from brands in Asia-Pacific are relatively well met. In India and China, 61 per cent and 68 per cent of people trust brands. This figure was significantly lower in Japan (46 per cent) and Indonesia (53 per cent).
The research was conducted last year across 23 countries, covering 134,000 consumers and 700 brands. In Asia, the analysis took into account the views of 10,000 people for 87 brands in China, India, Indonesia and Japan.
Brands in the developed regions recorded alarming levels of disconnect, showing a need for them to radically reinvent themselves to reconnect with people or risk becoming increasingly commoditised, according to the study authors.
SK Biswas, chief strategy officer, Havas Media Group, APAC, told Campaign Asia-Pacific it comes down to three factors. First, brands in emerging markets are growing in scale due to economic growth and are much larger than in developed markets (in terms of volume).
Secondly, emerging markets have a high degree of local relevance when it comes to product delivery and communication. “These brands aren’t restrained by the need to satisfy consumers in multiple diverse markets," Biswas said. "They can focus on delivering locally relevant needs.”
Finally, homegrown brands do not have the monetary muscle of large MNCs, which makes them more innovative when delivering on local needs, he said.
A majority of respondents in the region also agreed that large companies should be actively involved in solving social and environmental problems. In addition, 67 per cent of people in India, 66 per cent in China and 62 per cent in Indonesia think that brands can play a role in improving their quality of life and well-being. The expectation of Japanese consumers was significantly lower at 37 per cent.
Consumers in Asia-Pacific also have a stronger relationship with brands when compared to more mature markets. According to the annual study, 53 per cent of consumers reported that brands improved their quality of life, compared to just 28 and 29 per cent in Western Europe and the US.
Interestingly, across the four markets in Asia-Pacific, China is the only country where technology brands figured prominently amongst the list of most meaningful brands. However, unlike other countries, homegrown technology brands dominated the Chinese market, adding a higher level of trust and meaning.
Vishnu Mohan, CEO of Havas Media Asia-Pacific said the study was especially pertinent for Asia-Pacific as it is the new birthplace of the next generation of global brands. “Unlike Europe and the US, more people in Asia-Pacific believe that brands are playing a role in improving their well-being. They are also more positive towards brands in general, and brands in APAC have more to gain by reinventing themselves so that they are more focused on the creation of positive and tangible value."