A crisis changes consumer relationships with brands and their expectations from products and services. To understand these shifts, Havas Group dived into what is expected of brands in a post lockdown world through the lens of its proprietary global study "Meaningful Brands" that links brand performance to consumers’ quality of life and wellbeing through three key benefits - personal, functional and collective.
“Consumers are demanding that brands have skin in the game. Our findings reveal that consumers will reward brands that want to make the world a better place and expect brands to use their strengths to solve problems created by the pandemic. Showing empathy in action and brand activism will become a crucial part of a product/service strategy in a world impacted existentially by the pandemic,” said Charu Harish, chief strategy officer, Havas Group India and Southeast Asia.
Rise of collective consciousness
According to the study, there is a rise of "collective consciousness" across Asia. For the first time in a decade, consumers are shifting priorities from functional and personal benefits towards aspects that help and support the society at large. 35% prioritise collective benefits over functional and personal.
Spotlight on mental and emotional well-being
Approximately 57% Asians are looking at brands to equip them in maintaining their mental and emotional well-being especially in markets like Indonesia where consumers prioritise mental and emotional well-being over any other “personal benefit” with 59% rating it the topmost priority.
This is a cry for help across developing economies such as India, Indonesia and Philippines where brands are falling short on the deliveries and there is a gap on what consumers are demanding in terms of a brand’s role in helping them maintain their physical and mental well-being and how they score brand performance on this aspect.
Empathy in action rather than words
A massive 62% consumers are evaluating brands on how they treat and protect their employees and using their buying power to make a stand. This is much higher in developing economies like Philippines where it is as high as 75%.
Buying is a political act
Consumers believe brands have a more important role than governments today in creating a better future with 60% consumers across APAC expecting brands to use their strengths to solve problems created by COVID-19 and showing commitment to improve the quality of life. This is a key area where most categories perform below expectation and can be a huge opportunity for brands to activate their brand purpose in a meaningful way. While commitment to improve quality of life is prioritised in Philippines and Indonesia, consumers across developed Asia markets like Singapore and Korea wants to see how brands can play a bigger role in helping the country through the crisis.
From DIY to DEY (Do everything yourself) economy
More than one in two Asian consumers are looking at brands to help them learn and adopt a new skill. The pandemic has made people realise the importance of self-sufficiency and evolving their skill sets. Consumers are looking at avenues to reskill themselves and also build self-sufficiency into their business models upstream and downstream – a huge opportunity for brands to drive deeper engagement and build communities.
Safety and protective tech baseline for all categories
Around 63% consumers expect brands to improve health and safety standards across all categories be it automotive, FMCG, or retail. Brands across all categories need to look at Innovations on health that consumers can see, touch and feel to deliver a future ready narrative on health and safety.
“There are fundamental shifts that are changing how consumers view and engage with brands and the Fast & Fearless study demonstrates what’s meaningful in the “new” world and highlights new areas/benefits spaces where brands are playing catch-up currently. The findings from this study are aimed at inspiring quicker actions and fearless decision-making as brands buck the trend and break the status quo,” added Vishnu Mohan, chairman and CEO, India, Southeast Asia, North Asia, Havas Group.
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