BANGKOK: Brands seeking to engage millennials in Asia are advised against treating them as a single entity and instead should recognise that those born in the 1980s and 1990s have distinct lifestyles and opinions.

That is according to new research from the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN (HILL ASEAN), which released its findings at an event in Bangkok last week.

As reported by Campaign Asia, HILL ASEAN reached this conclusion after studying 1,800 millennials born in the 1980s and 1990s across six countries in the region – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia.

According to the report, HILL ASEAN researchers applied sei-katsu-sha, a philosophy that takes a 360-degree view of people as fully rounded individuals rather than looking at them as one-dimensional consumers.

Basing its research on this principle, HILL ASEAN identified generational differences among millennial consumers, classifying those born in the 1980s as "curators" and those born in the 1990s as "convergenators".

It said curators use the internet and social media as a simple "stage" for creating different personas whereas convergenators have more fully absorbed the ever-expanding possibilities of digitalisation and globalisation.

In other words, curators seek self-expression through different digital outlets, while convergenators take a more complex approach which often blurs the lines between the real and virtual worlds.

"The marketing implications of such designations are vast," Campaign Asia stated. "The study concluded that brands speaking to the curators of the 80s should act as stage producers – enabling their target audience to embrace the selves they seek to project to the world," it added.

Meanwhile, convergenators born in the 1990s respond to what the research describes as an "honest buddy" approach with brands. That is being always by their side and complementing their feelings and situation to enable them to just be themselves.

Commenting on the findings, Goro Hokari, Institute Director of HILL ASEAN, said: "It was really eye-opening for me personally to see how comfortable our 1990s group is with the virtual world. Many of them feel that it is interchangeable with the real world.

"Those born in the 1980s, however, tend to be a little more reticent – engaging with social media, but keeping the virtual world at more of an arm's length."

Data sourced from Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc staff