The Race to the Next Platform in APAC: The Age of Anxiety

The term ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO) entered the global lexicon around 10 years ago. In the age of continual digitalization and disruption today, this fear of missing out has in fact intensified, especially for the younger generation. On social media, staying connected with the network of friends that they have amassed, and keeping them continuously interested in their life through the self-expression and creativity that they feel define who they are, can result in emotional anxiety.

Youth fear of being ‘out of circulation’, as it was referred to by Malaysian youths in McCann’s study, because they worry that the lack of presence, even temporarily, can impact their social status. The need for approval is tangible and young people have described themselves sitting in front of the laptop continuously hitting refresh, waiting for someone somewhere to ‘comment’ on a post or ‘like’ a video that they have carefully crafted.

As we shift more and more into a digitalized and algorithmic culture, APAC consumers who previously did not show the same “tech-lash” as it had happened in the West, are now more cognizant of privacy and data security. 2020 could be the year of data privacy for APAC, with regulators across the region putting into effect policies that safeguard consumer data, ensuring that data is not being exploited in ways that are unbeknownst to users.


 

Recently, it was reported that China removed 100 apps that were illegally collecting and using personal information. Many banks, retailers and weather forecasting apps were involved, which were found to have leaky privacy agreements that either misinformed users or failed to notify users of the risks of divulging personal data.

As everyone anxiously searches online for information about the outbreak, they have encountered a barrage of misleading information, with much of this misinformation potentially causing stigmatization and discrimination.

India, on the other hand, received mixed reviews for the proposed rules by its government to regulate the way companies handle customers’ personal data, with some businesses praising it as necessary to protect privacy and others complaining that it will adversely impact their operations. As governments step up on their data protection and security measures, so too will consumers start paying closer heed to news about data security and privacy breaches in countries both within and outside the region.

In a number of reports that looked at key trends in APAC around smart home devices, for instance, one of the primary consumer demands mentioned was for smart home brands to prioritize data privacy with more than half of the consumers stating that privacy concerns were stopping them from buying.


 

In this age of data, technology and information overload, brands and platforms alike need to double down on improving security and safeguarding trust.

Alongside rising concerns about data privacy and security, there have also been fears over many platforms’ lack of control over objectionable content or the spread of propaganda and false information. It has been more than two months since the COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China, and proceeded to spread to many more countries. In the wake of the outbreak, panic has continued to disseminate throughout social media, forcing tech platforms to grapple with what the World Health Organization is calling an “infodemic”.

As everyone anxiously searches online for information about the outbreak, they have encountered a barrage of misleading information, with much of this misinformation potentially causing stigmatization and discrimination.

‘I am not a virus’

In recent weeks, the movement and slogan “I am not a virus” has been making its rounds not just in APAC but in other parts of the world too. In the face of ongoing disinformation, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok have all been working to promote factual content with some deprioritizing misinformation on their platforms.

With so much on healthcare being made available on the internet these days, consumers in APAC are increasingly inclined to consult online experts and other digital sources for health and wellness advice. Digital app Pingan Good Doctor is one of China’s most popular and trusted healthcare platform at 10.45 million monthly active users and comprises a 12,000 strong panel of healthcare service providers that provides real-time medical consultations, online appointment booking and hosts a health-related discussion forum.

In the face of ongoing disinformation, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok have all been working to promote factual content with some deprioritizing misinformation on their platforms.

Even in a country like Indonesia where internet penetration is still under 50%, the market has a burgeoning digital healthcare scene. Alodokter currently has about 20 million MAUs on its platform with the app used to chat with doctors, book appointments, discover personalized content and manage health insurance. The app also works with a trusted network of 20,000 doctors and 1,000 hospitals and clinics.

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, many of these digital healthcare platforms have been mobilized to help the public stay informed and safe during the epidemic, creating a counterbalance to the heightened anxiety caused by misinformation. Ping An Good Doctor, for instance, has seen visits to its platform hit 1.11 billion, newly registered users grow 10 times, average daily consultations reaching 9 times more than usual, and anti-epidemic videos attracting over 98 million views.

In this age of data, technology and information overload, brands and platforms alike need to double down on improving security and safeguarding trust. Investing in the technology to do so will no doubt better endure them with consumers.

For example, Samsung is now incorporating its trusted Knox technology into its connected devices, which has a hardware security system and firmware updates to help ensure that devices are protected. In addition, brands can also alleviate this prevalent sense of digitally induced anxiety by ensuring that the content they produce and promote is honest, authentic, respectful, and importantly, true to brand values.


This is the fifth in a five-part series written by Sharon Soh, Head Of Strategy APAC at IPG Mediabrand’s UM, that delves into how platform development will shape the way brands connect with consumers across Asia over the next decade.


The Race to the Next Platform in APAC:

Part One: The Super App
Part Two: Democratized Creativity
Part Three: Ambient Computing
Part Four: Algorithmic Culture
Part Five: The Age of Anxiety

Sharon Soh

Sharon Soh

Sharon is the Head Of Strategy APAC at UM and a contributor to Branding in Asia Magazine

Read More

subscribe & get more brand in your diet

newsletter

get more brand in your diet

We never share your info,
we only share ours