Following an analysis of the results of the WARC Awards for Asian Strategy 2022, an annual case study competition showcasing the best strategic thinking from the region, WARC has published an insights report outlining common themes and successful marketing trends.
“The 2022 entries focused on the pandemic’s aftermath and the host of challenges it accelerated in its wake,” said Rica Facundo, Asia Editor, WARC.
“The way brands changed and adapted their strategies to remain relevant to consumer behaviour changes showed a spirit of experimentation and new thinking. Marketers and advertisers can take inspiration from this to confidently and effectively navigate the ever-changing media landscape.”
Key Lessons from Asian Strategy Report
WARC prepared the following summary of insights from the case study:
Go local or go home
Perceptions of ‘local’ are key to connecting with Asian consumers, especially as deglobalisation and a preference to support local retailers is growing in the region. To appeal to local preferences, brands like Rupeek in India and Spotify in The Philippines are translating cultural insight by reframing traditional associations or utilising hyper-local touchpoints.
Experimenting with Gen Z
To connect with Gen Z authentically, this year’s entries showed how brands are experimenting with non-advertising routes as part of their marketing plan, such as utilising emerging channels and technologies. Digital bank Maya utilised gamification with bitcoins in their strategies.
Jury member Karen Ge, Head of Strategy FRED&FARID Shanghai and Managing Partner, FLAWED, said: “When it comes to wooing Gen Z, they are not elusive or hard to please with advertising tactics that embrace the experimentation spirit to leverage emerging technology and youth culture.”
Bringing omnichannel thinking into marketing
Brands, such as Ikea in Taiwan and Cadbury in India, are embracing omnichannel thinking to create fluid brand experiences across the blurring boundaries of the physical and online world.
Awards judge Bea Atienza, Impactful Brand Experience Leader, Colgate-Palmolive, said: “Omni-activation – deploying ideas that can live in any environment, whether online, offline or virtual, often enabled by technology – allows deeper participation and immediate action, whether in digital worlds or on commerce platforms.”
As brands are challenged to keep up and show up in new ways post-pandemic, without sacrificing core values, this year’s entries showed how brands can stay relevant while creating enduring platforms for sustained growth. Brands such as McDonald’s and PX Mart demonstrated results across a longer one-to-three-year period, and had building brand equity, awareness and market as the main objectives.
Jury member Michelle Yip, Consumer Marketing Director, Meta, advises: “Brands wanting to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world should stay close to their customer, listen and show up when it matters and be willing to do things differently but stay true to core values.”
Sustainability on the rise
Sustainability is becoming a key priority in the region. Brands should go beyond awareness campaigns, and think about how to trigger action by making issues personable and tangible.
WWF, the winner of the Grand Prix for Good, launched a multichannel campaign to put public pressure on the UN to commit to a globally binding plastic treaty.
“To drive action, you need to move from insight to intervention to close the value-action gap,” said Trezelene Chan, Head of Sustainability, Singapore and APAC, Kantar.
“Firstly, identify the behaviour you want to influence, then identify the fuels and frictions across the journey. Next, define the intervention brief to make it easy, meaningful and rewarding, and create the intervention, be it comms, innovation or ideally both. And think about partnerships that enable you to innovate and disrupt across the entire value chain.”
A complimentary sample report is available here.