SINGAPORE: Different philosophies around independence, financial goals and supporting family mean that financial brands targeting Asian millennials face a very different task to those targeting their Western counterparts.

Writing for Warc, Kunal Sinha, author and Associate Fellow at the Asian Consumer Insight Institute at Nanyang Business School, Singapore, points out that, quite apart from the different lifestages being encountered across the age group, a growing middle class means that more Asian millennials than ever are turning to financial brands to help them with their goals and responsibilities.

Where a younger millennial might want freedom, for example, an older one is more likely to seek security. "Calibrating the brand and individual products will be key to creating relevance across the life stages," he says.

Asian millennials are also more entrepreneurial and more keen to have a positive economic impact, something financial brands need to recognise by connecting at an emotional level.

"Financial institutions must be able to inspire," Sinha argues; ANZ, with its brand positioning of 'Your world, your way' is an example, "reflecting how ANZ can help people make the most of their opportunities, in order to live the life they want".

Millennials everywhere spend a great deal of time online and using social media, and financial brands need to create improved customer experiences across the full product portfolio through online platforms.

And that is especially true in China, where traditional banking brands are under threat from the advance of internet giants Alibaba and Tencent into this category via their Alipay and WeChat Wallet products.

So when China Merchants Bank introduced a digital banking proposition for the young, mass-digital customer segment, it offered a short paperless account-sign-up process that linked the account to the customer's identity card and mobile phone number.

After signing up, additional features can be activated by uploading pictures of the customer holding his or her identity card, and linking the new account to other bank accounts.

"These are essential innovations for financial institutions to adopt if they want to stay relevant," Sinha states.

He also observes them moving into popular culture in various relevant ways, with DBS creating a serialised love story in India and Bank of the Ryukyu using anime characters to promote insurance in Japan.

Data sourced from Warc