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71% of Asian consumers oppose cultural unification and globalization, Y&R pan-regional research 2014 suggests

VML Qais, an Asian arm of Y&R with offices in Singapore and india, has released the findings of the pan-regional study Generation Asia 2014 encompassing 10 Asian markets and 32,000 consumers aged from 18 to 60 years old.

The study shows that the majority of Asian consumers representing a multitude of ethnicities and languages are against “westernised’ cultural globalization. 73% of the older consumer group of 36-60 y.o. (named as “Powers” by Y&R) and 70% of younger 18-36 year olds (named “Potentials”) say they fear the ongoing erosion of their traditional cultural values. Around 75% agree that the attempts to preserve authentic culture are made only within families.

This finding infers a new approach for global brands trying to market to Asian customers—the so-called culturalization term coined by Y&R.

“This key insight offers new opportunities for brands looking to connect with Asian consumers, and calls for a new approach to marketing communications that we at Y&R describe as ‘Culturalisation.’ This need to connect with people’s cultural identity is what brands really need to focus on instead of the supposed choice, and endless tired debates, of Globalisation versus Localisation,” explains Hari Ramanathan Chief Strategy Officer, Y&R Asia.

Asian consumers are diverse in terms of culture, beliefs, economic opportunities and purchasing power index. But there are some strong attributes that allow marketers to make generalizations. A recent research on Asian customers by McKinsey suggests that the Asian region population, tied by multiple threads of history and culture, has pursued an ambition economic growth and integration in the recent decades; millions have been lifted out of poverty.

According to Edelman’s Goodpurpose study, Asian consumers appear to trust in ethical and socially responsible brands more than Europeans, with trust highest among the Chinese (93%) followed by Indonesians (85%), Malaysians (83%), Indians (80%) and Singaporeans (78%).

“Increasingly consumers are seeking a sense of identity and relevance, of ‘here’ rather than ‘anywhere’, rejecting the global homogeneity that too many brands are embracing.

The ‘world-wide vanilla’ approach to marketing represents a missed opportunity when so many consumers are craving relevance based upon cultural values, according to our extensive Generation Asia research,” commented Y&R Asia President Matthew Godfrey on the “culturalization” approach to Asian customers.

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