SINGAPORE: Asia-Pacific has emerged as the region where consumers record the strongest relationship with brands, indicating a growing gap between developed and emerging markets, a new study has revealed.

The 'Meaningful Brands' report from Havas Media found 53% of people in the region agreed that brands improved their quality of life compared to just 28% and 29% in Western Europe and the US respectively.

In India and China, 61% and 68% of people trust brands, although Japanese and Indonesian respondents registered significantly lower scores of 46% and 53%.

The research, which covered 134k consumers and 700 brands in 23 countries, also found large majorities in China, India, Japan and Indonesia agreed that companies should be actively involved in solving social and environmental problems.

This reinforces research earlier this week from Nielsen that found a high proportion of consumers in Asia-Pacific are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies engaged in corporate social responsibility.

However, consumers in developed markets appeared to be strongly disconnected from believing that brands make a positive difference to their wellbeing.

Respondents in Europe and the US said they would not care if 92% of brands disappeared compared to 49% quoted by their Asian counterparts.

Vishnu Mohan, CEO of Havas Media Asia-Pacific, said the analysis was pertinent for Asia-Pacific because the region is predicted to be the new birthplace of the next generation of global brands.

He said: "Unlike Europe and the US, more people in Asia-Pacific believe that brands are playing a role in improving their well-being. They are also more positive towards brands in general. Brands in APAC have more to gain by reinventing themselves so that they are more focused on the creation of positive and tangible value."

In other findings, China was the only country where technology brands figured prominently and website Taobao was ranked the top meaningful brand.

Automotive brands were the best valued in Indonesia, followed by finance and insurance, while local brands dominated in Japan apart from the top brand, Procter & Gamble.

The Life Insurance Corporation and food producers Britannia and Cadbury were rated the top three brands in India.

Data sourced from Havas Media, Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc staff