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Asia millennials seek brand authenticity

News, 11 January 2017

SINGAPORE: Marketers should avoid bombarding their millennial audiences in Asia with influencer posts and work hard to ensure an authentic tone – or risk turning away the customers that they seek.

That's the view of Ng Li Ting, from public relations agency DeVries Global in Singapore. Writing for Warc, he offers five tips for brands looking to target Asia's diverse millennial audiences with influencer content.

"As brands try to cash in, (millennials) find our social media feeds overwhelmed by posts from influencers promoting… well… everything," he says.

"Behind this is the common mistake of seeing millennials as a single, cohesive entity when this generation is one of the most diverse in our interests, values and purchase power."

Ng asserts that the region's millennials care about real brand values more than a highly stylized Instagram facade, and that marketers should focus on translating the core brand story – and how it aligns with the values of their target audience – instead of just hiring the latest social media star and hoping for the best.

Citing Lush Cosmetics, GoPro and Lululemon as brands getting it right by tapping user-generated initiatives, Ng warns that authenticity is key to engage the often fickle demographic.

"Digitally-savvy millennials can tell from a just quick glance that you are paying someone to promote something that doesn't quite fit, and dislike inauthenticity," Ng says.

"Instead of crashing social pages, marketers should build a network of real people – not just the latest Instagram star - who share the same interests as the brand and who speak to (millennials) like our friends would – not like an boring advertiser would."

At recent panel discussion of the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore's new influencer guidelines for marketers, trust and transparency were emphasised. Warc's report, Navigating Singapore's new influencer guidelines: a how-to guide, also noted expectations that less influential influencers will be "weeded out", while the "real content creators" will thrive over the long run.

Data sourced from Warc