Gary Scattergood
Sep 11, 2015

No purpose, no point: Brands must have a conscience to connect with millennials

SPIKES ASIA - If brands are unable to convey a sense of purpose, they have little chance of connecting with millennials, according to Omincom’s APAC CEO, Cheuk Chiang.

L-R: Chiang, Hatalkar
L-R: Chiang, Hatalkar

Speaking alongside Lakish Hatalkar, vice president of OTC Asia Pacific for Johnson & Johnson, Chiang championed what he termed “creative with a conscience”.

“We both believe for brands to truly resonate with consumers and millenials in particular, they need to have very strong sense of purpose,” he said. “Brands can very often express what they do, but not every brand can express what their purpose is.”

They suggested creatives had to stop viewing their industries “as fluffy”, and instead believe that their work had the power to change lives.

“There is now a huge gap between the youth age and middle age,” added Chiang. “There is a shift in focus from security, property and employment to purpose and personal identity.

“No longer is it about a great product, price and customer service, but it is now vital for brands to have a strong sense of purpose because 85 per cent of millennial purchasing behaviour is tied to perceived good; it is commercially beneficial.”

Chiang and Hatalkar then pinpointed four factors for brands to consider when identifying their purpose.

  • Check me: They identified the health-checking capabilities of the Apple watch as being a prime example of how a brand can align itself with well-being.
  • Correct me: They cited a campaign by Uber in Canada, where on-street breathalyzers were used to check if people were safe to drive home after a night out. If they were over the limit, Uber gave them a free ride.
  • Protect me: They highlighted the Intel baby onesie, which detects a baby’s heart rate, breathing and movement with the data then sent to a parent's phone, as a great example of a brand utilising its core capabilities to reassure parents.
  • Remind me: Brands can play a key role in reminding people of what is important. They showcased work by VW in Australia where speedometers designed by children were put in their parents cars, acting as a reminder to drive safely.

Chiang added: “Creative with a conscience is something we are all able to do.

“It’s time for us as an industry to take a stance and to constantly ask ourselves, what is the purpose of the work we are doing.”

Campaign Asia-Pacific’s view: The idea that brands need to have a purpose is not new, but this did manage to show how it could be put into practice. However, the presentation veered dangerously close to being preachy and didn’t asses the potential pitfalls of brands seeking to display a strong sense of purpose, especially when some of their other practices may not be squeaky clean.


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