SINGAPORE: Social progress and increased concerns about environmentalism are offering brands with a strong "purpose" story the chance to engage consumers in developing markets, new research has revealed.

Ogilvy and Mather's Velocity 12 study has shown that optimism about the future is at record highs across much of Asia as social progress – largely spurred by education and economic development – informs consumer purchasing habits more than ever before. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: Brands with social purpose find opportunities in Asia's developing markets.)

Asian consumers are particularly optimistic about the future, according to the research, which found 91% of Chinese consumers to be positive.

Meanwhile, 90% of consumers in Myanmar anticipate positive change, followed by their counterparts in India and Bangladesh (80%), and Indonesia (just over 70%).

Despite this optimism, however, consumers in these developing markets believe that there is a wide variety of societal issues which need to be addressed. Specifically, quality of life, child health and the environment are their top concerns, with economic issues following.

Procter & Gamble (P&G), Nestlé and Coca-Cola have already found success by engaging consumers with campaigns focused on nutrition, recycling, and women's empowerment.

For example, In Vietnam, concern about children's health prompted Nestlé to create the Milo Champions band, and an app to track children's nutrition and performance.

The band monitors its user's nutrition intake through the Champions Energy Calculator and provides parents and children with useful information, rewards and inspiration in order to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

"It is by engaging with their consumers in conversations around significant issues affecting their lives that brands are able to create deeper connections with consumers," the report said.

And this purpose-driven strategy can help marketers to put their products at the heart of conversation, opinion and trust, as long as efforts to engage in this way are authentic, closely aligned with the audience's interests and focused on tangible actions.

Data sourced from Warc