BBDO unveiled insights from its latest study on ‘Brand Purpose in Asia’ carried out under the agency’s BBDO Voices insights programme by BBDO Asia.
In its 13th year, the BBDO Voices study covered 300 respondents aged 18 to 45 years each in Mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines and India.
Purpose was cited by most respondents as the factor that shapes their attitude towards a brand.
Except for consumers in Japan who picked ‘Empowering women and gender equality’ as the top cause that they want brands to champion, consumers in key Asian markets want companies and brands to focus on environment and sustainability, the study finds.
The findings also indicate an inverse correlation between the GDP of a country and its expectations from brands on purpose, with more respondents in India and Philippines saying they seek brands with purpose than those in Japan and Korea.
Consumers in India and Philippines are therefore more likely to buy a brand with purpose, the study establishes.
A note on the findings states that brands will increasingly have the same accountability as quasi-government bodies.
“This is especially true in the developing regions of Asia where consumers are 20 pc to 40 pc more likely to have sought out brands due to its perceived impact on society. Here, citizens expect brands to step up and fill gaps which public governance systems often cannot. In this sense, consumers in developing parts of Asia will continue to expect brands to embrace the same agenda as governments,” it added.
The study also finds that purpose without functional characteristics will not work for consumers.
“Among those who bought a purpose brand within the three months prior to the survey, 6 out of 10 also bought it for its functional characteristics. To be relevant to the region’s consumers, a brand purpose narrative will always need to be rooted in what the product or service is supposed to functionally deliver. It also needs to be supplemented by rational/functional content along the customer journey,” the BBDO statement explained.
Unveiling the study at an event in Mumbai on September 26, 2023, TzeKiat Tan, CEO, BBDO Asia, stated, “India holds great significance for us, and in a market as dynamic as this, it’s essential for brands to embrace diverse cultures and consumer perspectives for success. The insights from this study provide us with valuable knowledge to building a strong brand presence in markets like India.”
Hans Lopez-Vito, COO, BBDO, Asia, noted, “Brand purpose is one of the most talked about topics in marketing today. When we say brand purpose, what exactly do we mean? According to us, purpose is a reason for a brand to exist beyond making a profit. It combines the ambitions in the least that cultivates the organisation and the changes that they want to fight for. There is a lot of research that has been done, especially in North America and Europe, that seems to say that brand purpose really does work. There’s not a lot of research that’s been done with Asian consumers just to see what their attitudes are when it comes to brand purpose. That’s what we did and we decided to study brand purpose.”
Suraja Kishore, CEO, BBDO India, added, “The report is revealing in the fact that unlike in developed nations, in developing countries like India people expect brands to go beyond selling. Indian consumers want brands and companies to do their best for the ecosystem they deal in, e.g. if you are an automobile brand then consumers expect you to also look at how can you improve the quality of roads, or how can you enhance safety on the roads or clean toilets on the highway. We believe that brands can have a meaningful impact on society and culture. BBDO Voices will further help marketers, brands and companies build effective purpose-driven brand narratives beyond their own gain when wanting to connect with consumers in India.”
Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India, said “People are looking for meaning not brands. By combining the quantitative data and intelligence of BBDO Voices with the emotional data and deep listening understanding of BBDO India, we can deliver greater connection, conversation and conversion for brands.”
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