SINGAPORE: Aligning with a social or cultural purpose continues to be a popular strategy for many brands in Asia but customers are increasingly wary of brands that seem inauthentic in doing so, according to analysis of more than 180 ad campaigns from the region.

WARC’s Asian Strategy Report 2017-18 – released yesterday – analyses the strategic trends shaping marketing campaigns across the region, based on entries to the annual WARC Prize for Asian Strategy which this year drew more than 180 entrants from 16 countries across the region.

Brand purpose is popular with the region’s marketers, but as the trend continues, consumers are more likely to call out brands if the product and cause are poorly matched.

Read more about how marketers in Asia can strike the right balance on brand purpose here: Asian Strategy Report 2017-2018

“Consumers are increasingly critical of brands that don’t practice the values they advocate, and are overtly harsh if they believe brands are simply making use of hot social issues for one-way commercial gain,” said Anna Chitty, CEO of PHD China, and one of the judges in this year’s Prize.

“Today’s consumers are actively on the look-out for brands that are not authentic to the cause, calling out those who fail to meet their headlines and promises and holding them to account,” she added.

However, brands which are able to use a purpose-driven message to disrupt category norms and create emotional buy-in from key target audiences – such as SK-II’s Marriage Market Takeover, which won this year’s Grand Prix – can see huge benefits to their brand.

“SK-II celebrated and supported the previously stigmatised unmarried women – and many of its core customers – giving them a platform where they were empowered and given a voice, all while achieving a strong business performance,” Chitty said.

Sourced from WARC