SINGAPORE: Marketers in Asia may be able to gain better insights into consumer behaviour if they take account of the different concerns expressed by consumers in the region. 

The latest Anxiety Index from JWT, the global advertising agency, surveyed consumer anxieties in 27 countries, tracking safety and security concerns as well as economic worries, with Asian nations revealing differing priorities, as reported in Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Ann Mack, the director of trend-spotting at JWT, advised marketers that when consumers are anxious about an issue there is a tendency for them to try to exert more control over the areas of their lives that are within their control and this can affect the choices they make. 

She said: "Often control applies to brand and product choices. This means brands must understand their consumers' anxieties and address them proactively." 

Pakistan stood out with nearly 60% of respondents saying they were very anxious and almost 90% reported they were worried about high rates of crime, terrorism and the increasing cost of living.

In Japan, anxiety is high about the budget deficit and, following a series of damaging tsunamis, natural disasters.

Concerns about gas prices and employment exercise South Koreans the most while anxieties in China and Hong Kong mirror those expressed in the rest of the world – unemployment and the cost of living.

In South Asia, Indonesians are among the most concerned worldwide about corruption while Indians worry about energy prices and the country's deficit as well as wider social concerns, such as global warming.

Mack warned brands that navigating consumer anxieties should not be about exploiting fears. She suggested instead that brands would connect better if they sought to raise optimism and confidence. 

For example, in markets like Pakistan and Indonesia where there are strong concerns about corruption, she said brands will only capture true trust and admiration by finding relevant ways to tackle societal problems.

Sympathetic and action-oriented campaigns could inspire and connect with consumers, she advised.

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