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Cause marketing takes off in Singapore

News, 30 June 2016

SINGAPORE: Millennials in Singapore are more receptive to cause-based marketing than previous generations but brands should strategise carefully, new research indicates.

Elly Chu, Associate Director of Insight at Flamingo Group, discussed this topic at a Flamingo-hosted Culture Breakfast event, where she revealed that more than half of 16-25 year olds in Singapore desired a career that can make a social difference, not just making money.

"From having material possessions, they are moving towards valuing people and relationships. They also value personal satisfaction and happiness," said Chu. (For more, including how brands can drive awareness with cause marketing, read Warc"s exclusive report: Brands and social purpose: Engaging Singapore's millennials.)

Chu believes there are significant opportunities to engage Singapore's millennials by running cause or social change campaigns – but these should be closely aligned with brand values.

Regina Tan, Associate Director at Flamingo, explained that brands can first explore and carve out their social mission by understanding the intersections between the brand purpose and social need.

"What's most important for community brands is to carefully cherry pick the initiatives that they want to get involved in. It's about finding what is aligned with your brand purpose," said Tan.

Connecting with Singaporeans by appealing to their sense of social change, however, comes with some very unique challenges. Social activism has had a scant history in the city-state, meaning even Singapore's millennials can be extremely skeptical about the purported social purpose of a brand – especially when it comes across as vague, or is linked to intangible outcomes and invisible effects.

Flamingo suggests brands should engage directly with the Singaporean community, translating actions into immediate impact.

In one example, Ben & Jerry's Singapore partnered both Up2Degrees and ECO Singapore to encourage consumers to take a pledge to turn up the temperature of their air conditioners by two degrees and do their bit against global warming. The ice cream giant also held a Benefit Night to donate a portion of their sales to the Up2Degrees cause.

Data sourced from Warc