Numerous studies have shown that consumers in Asia welcome brands that engage in social issues, such as global climate change or gender equality, but new research suggests what they actually care about are causes closer to home.

That consumers in Asia want brands to stand up for local causes is one of the key findings in a comprehensive new report from Kantar, the insights firm, which analysed social media and carried out surveys in nine APAC markets, including Australia.

The study, entitled Purpose in Asia, revealed that a full 90% of consumers in the region said they expected brands to get involved in societal issues that they care about.

Just as important, an average of 60% reported they would be more likely to buy from brands with a purpose aligned to their views, while another 60% said they would be happy to pay “a little bit more” for brands with sustainability credentials.

However, where perhaps the Kantar study differs from others is it revealed a disconnect between the causes that dominate global media and brand campaigns and the issues that matter most to consumers in Asia.

For example, climate change and gender equality are two of the top five issues likely to be seen across Asia, yet the two main issues that consumers across all ages and both sexes really care about are health/wellbeing and ending poverty.

“These two topics appeared within the five most important issues for all countries questioned, and appeared alongside issues such as quality education and hunger in emerging markets, and decent work and economic growth in developed markets,” the report said.

The lesson for brands when they develop their campaigns is that consumers in the region appear to care most about local issues that affect them personally rather than bigger global societal issues, however important they are.

And those that do manage to align their social communications should expect to be rewarded, as long as they take care to be authentic and get the tone right.

Sourced from Kantar; additional content by WARC staff