Jeremy Heng Gautam Dutt
Jul 31, 2013

The view from Singapore: Keeping up with consumers

As part of the Asia's Top 1000 Brands report, we asked experts from around the region to share in-country expertise on the factors driving branding in their markets. Two leaders from Havas Media Singapore, Jeremy Heng, director of strategy and content, and Gautam Dutt, MD of digital, share the view from the Lion City.

The view from Singapore: Keeping up with consumers

Singapore is a unique market in Southeast Asia given its size, location and affluence. It is a developed market in a developing region. Adoption and usage of digital devices is very high, consumers tend to be very demanding and efficiency is taken for granted. Keeping pace with changing consumer media habits is a constant challenge for brands. Consumers are invariably ahead of marketers in adopting new technologies. It is in this context that we look back at 2012 to identify trends emerging from work done by top brands in Singapore.

A key trend has been the creation of movements instead of campaigns. Not every brand can credibly aspire to creating movements but some brands are uniquely placed to do so. The HPB "I Quit" campaign during 2012 is a great example. It's focus on "Pro-Quitting" as opposed to "Anti-Smoking" resulted in the marshalling of self-sustaining support from social support networks.

There has also been a shift towards more meaningfulness: Brands are focusing on going beyond providing utility to thinking about contributing towards personal and societal wellbeing. Consumers today want to be active members of community. They don’t just want to passively receive messages from brands - they want to be co-creators, be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to engage with brands that have defined purpose beyond profit to advance worthwhile causes together. Brands have the opportunity to be a force for social good.

ASIA's TOP 1000 BRANDS 2013

View Singapore's top 100 brands

Thirdly, there has been a shift towards providing brand experiences rather than just communicating a message. The consumer’s time is now more precious than ever. As such, the experience has to be truly worth their time. The best brand experiences need to be immersive and conversational. They should invite participation, be useful, and create a sense of community and sharing.

Finally, digital adoption improved further, especially integration of social media and mobile into the marketing mix. 2012 saw social media become mainstream and big brands became comfortable with integrating an always-onsocial presence into their marketing mix. Mobile was the new entrant and many brands started ramping up their mobile presence. This led to a always on digital presence across search, social, mobile, allowing marketers to think through paid, owned and earned media options.

SingTel has made very credible progress in engaging communities in the social environment through its Facebook, YouTube and Twitter channels, experiencing growth in both follower count and engagement. Its recent organisational restructure to focus on digital technologies reflects its commitment to staying current with technological trends.

In summary, brands exist today in a world experiencing a paradigm shift not just in the way audience communicates, but also in ways they engage and discover the world around them. Technology has enabled an ever-increasing number of platforms used to connect, communicate, share, engage, consume and even purchase. More specifically, the mobile web, search, and location/context-based applications have become integral parts of consumer's lives and everyday routines. The brands that will succeed will effectively bridge the gap between communities and commerce.

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