Consumers in Asia are more likely to believe brands can do good, an outlook that global brands might be able to tap into at a time when local brands are increasingly preferred.

And they would be pushing at an open door, a recent report from McCann Worldgroup – The Truth About Global Brands 2: Powered By The Streets – suggests.

Global brands have the power to make things better, according to 85% of APAC consumers surveyed, compared to 89% in Africa and just 66% in Europe.

“What we are seeing happen – including across Asia Pacific – is that intolerance is on the rise and interest in other people is on the decline,” said Judd Labarthe, McCann Worldgroup’s regional planning director.

“The silver lining, fortunately for brands, is that when there is a lack of empathy in lots of people’s lives, people believe that global brands have tremendous power to make the world a better place.

“It might be that the sands are shifting, but the opportunities for global brands are quite strong,” he argued. (For more, read WARC’s report: Eight ways brands can win consumers in Asia.)

Exploiting those opportunities, however, will require an appreciation of what the different cultures in the region expect when it comes to making the world better.

Labarthe flagged up the difference between ‘globalisation’, a spreading out process, and ‘globality’, a deeper understanding of how best to serve particular cultures; it’s about working “for the culture, not in the culture”, he explained.

The number one thing by far that everybody wants brands to do, he added, is to make business more environmentally sustainable – “so make sure you are behaving in a more responsible way”.

In terms of individual countries, job creation is seen as a key contribution that brands can make as well as working with government to improve essential services.

“The key outtake is, whether you are a brand or a company, clearly people are expecting us to pay back to the system that supports us,” said Labarthe.

He observed that “these are not typically things” expected of brands to do, and suggested consumers “have ceased to differentiate between brands and companies”.

Sourced from WARC