SINGAPORE: Today's generation of Asian men are significantly more likely than their fathers to be engaged in the day-to-day running of their households, with consequent implications for brands' messaging, a new study has said.

JWT Asia-Pacific surveyed over 1,500 men and women in Singapore, China and Malaysia, using its online panel Sonar, and found that 81% of men thought their parenting styles were very different from that of their fathers. Most were taking on a greater family role, in terms of looking after children and helping with chores, and were concerned about their work-life balance.

"The men we surveyed aspire to be progressive dads," Libby Schaub, strategic planning director at JWT Singapore, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Brands have a real opportunity to connect with men across Asia through their role as active invested fathers."

When asked what defines a man today, career success continued to be the top response (63%) but emotional support for one's family was a close second (57%).

In fact, men were increasingly focused on their personal relationships ahead of their position in the wider community. Their role as husbands or boyfriends (64%), fathers (60%) and wage-earners (42%) were far more important than being a loyal citizen (17%) or community leader (4%).

There was also less worry about the need for men and women to conform to traditional roles with most (80%) seeing the sexes as more or less equal.

But there were also discrepancies evident in the sexes' perceptions of who was doing what. For example, around 40% of men said they were largely responsible for grocery shopping, while just 12% of women agreed that their spouse was the primary grocery shopper.

Men certainly felt they were more engaged with their children but 70% admitted that their spouse largely took care of enforcing routines such as bedtime, eating schedules and homework.

Among the report's suggestions, noted Campaign Brief Asia, was the idea that brands might want their marketing to explore ways in which they could help nurture men's relationships with their wives and children, as the same time as "dialling down the testosterone factor".

Nor should supermarkets automatically assume that only mothers were shopping for children's items and that fathers had no views on buying products such as diapers.

Emphasising practical aspects, such as durability or efficiency, were approaches that would appeal to male shoppers, the study said, as would the use of digital technology and mobile devices.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, Campaign Brief Asia; additional content by Warc staff