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Go local or go home, experimenting with Gen Z are the driving force for effective marketing in Asia: WARC insights report

Following an analysis of the WARC Awards for Asian Strategy 2022 results, WARC has released the insights report which outlines the common themes

Reframing traditional associations or utilising hyper local touchpoints is important for operating in Asian markets, and also catering to the GenZ also plays a big role in ensuring the brand’s success, as per WARC’s latest insight report.

Following an in-depth 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 the insights report outlining common themes and successful marketing trends. 

The key lessons outlined in ‘Insights from the WARC Awards for Asian Strategy 2022’, are:

  • 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.”

  • Sustaining relevance

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, advised, “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, 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.

Rica Facundo, Asia Editor, WARC, said, “The 2022 entries focused on the pandemic’s aftermath and the host of challenges it accelerated in its wake. 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.”

Trezelene Chan, Head of Sustainability, Singapore and APAC, Kantar, said, “To drive action, you need to move from insight to intervention to close the value-action gap. 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.”

The report includes expert commentary, winning case studies, data analysis, best practices, a behind-the-scenes look at this year's Grand Prix winner and key observations. A complimentary sample report is available here.

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