To successfully launch a company in the Asian-Pacific region, one must possess a degree of commercial and cultural competence that cannot be equalled in any other location on the planet. It has already been discussed how important it is to localise and translate your material in order to make it appealing to customers in other countries. However, in order to establish a long-term presence in the largest and most competitive markets in the world, such as the Chinese, Korean, and Thai markets, you will need to devise a unique and individualised marketing strategy that places a primary emphasis on the online communication channels that are the most well-liked among consumers.
It is never simple to enter a new market by just copying and pasting content from your domestic market. As a consequence of this, whenever you are interested in entering a new market, you should always adapt your marketing plan to the environment and user insights that are prevalent in that area. However, there are a few traits that are typical to Asian markets that need to be taken into consideration. These markets need to be viewed as a whole. When you are getting ready to enter any market in the Asia Pacific region for the first time, it is essential that you keep these helpful pieces of advice in mind.
Direct, straightforward messages
The use of subtle storylines in advertising has grown over the past few decades in both the US and Europe, encouraging viewers to pay close attention and consider the message carefully. We all adore the P&G Thank you, Mom and Extra Gum’s Origami movies, which depict everyday events with hardly any words but nevertheless manage to be really moving and strongly related to the brand by way of a stirring end message.
P&G: Thank You
Extra Gum: Birds (Origami)
This strategy has been widely used in advertising campaigns originating in the West for some time now, and Asian companies are beginning to implement it as part of their globalisation efforts. When developing promotional videos for the local audience in Asia, however, Asian advertisers tend to favour subjects that are more clear. Contrast the advertisement for the Olympic Games that Alibaba prepared for viewers in Western countries with the advertising campaign that 11.11 sales ran on Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba. The latter is by far the easiest and waggish option, as it consists of RTBs that are straightforward and snappy taglines.
Other examples of advertising with direct and memorable messages come from Burger King in South Korea (the price of the burger is repeated over and over again), Fitty mask in Japan (the fact that you only need one mask for seven days is repeated eight times within the first thirty seconds), and Lazada in the Philippines (the main message about birthday sales is an easy read from both the audio and the footage throughout the whole video).
Burger King (South Korea)
Fitty Mask (Japan)
Long-form videos and storylines with a lot of emotion can be very powerful forms of advertising in Asia, despite the fact that they appear to be on completely different ends of the spectrum. As a consequence of this, what we discussed earlier with regard to the concepts that are more overt is still accurate. The overall presentation of these tales lacks the level of depth that readers in the West could find satisfying. However, the forms may be extremely extensive in some cases. According to the YouTube Leaderboard for the Asia Pacific region, the bulk of the adverts that had the most views had a duration that averaged 101 seconds, and 30% of them even exceeded 120 seconds. Although it is possible that the user’s attention from these films may not always translate into product purchase or usage (you will need to employ shorter, more informational forms for this), it may nevertheless contribute to brand loyalty in the market.
Apple, for example, is promoting its brand in the Chinese market by producing films that range in length from seven to twelve minutes in advance of the most important holiday season, which is the Lunar New Year. When you watch the 2020 commercial titled “Daughter,” for example, try not to let your eyes well up with tears. Users in India and Pakistan were captivated by the “Google Search: Reunion” movie that the search engine giant published. During the same time period, Pantene promoted its products and services in Thailand by airing the touching commercial “You can shine,” which was about a deaf musician. There is little question that firms local to the area also use the more involved forms. It’s possible that the Pantene commercial got its ideas from the commercials that the Thai Life insurance company has been running for a number of years in a row (for the most famous of these commercials, see “Unsung Hero”). These commercials have a significant emotional impact on viewers.
Google Search: Reunion
PANTENE: You can shine
Unsung Hero (Thailand)
Social is the king
2020 saw East, Southeast, and South Asia as having the most social network users worldwide. In addition, users spend an unprecedented amount of time on social media each day: 4 hours and 15 minutes in the Philippines, 3:14 in Indonesia, and 3:01 in Malaysia (while the global average is 2:25 and the US average is 2:07). While native formats on social media are a great way to advertise, influencer marketing is another strategy that is flourishing in this environment. In Asia, influencer marketing efforts have seen an 85% surge in 2019–2020, with the pandemic making a personal touch in advertising even more crucial. A few successful examples of international brands utilising influencer marketing in the Asia Pacific region include Spotify’s online gaming-related episodes with a macro-influencer in the Philippines, Vaseline (P&G) advertising via a mid-influencer in Thailand, and partnerships with micro-influencers by Lancome in Thailand, Sudio in Malaysia, or Pepsi in Singapore.
Loud, visual, and “noisy”
Asian markets have a tendency to favour advertising that is colourful, strong, and vocal because of the belief that form follows content. Take for example photographs that are instantly recognisable of neon lights in Tokyo. The market for digital advertising in Asia is just as competitive and challenging. To be heard over the commotion, the advertisement that you are putting out must be yelling at the top of its lungs. In addition, if you are planning to launch an app in one of the Asian regions, you should ensure that it is capable of sending its users as many alerts as is humanly possible so that they are kept up to date on everything that is happening in the world. Consumers in the West might find persistent push notifications bothersome, but in this part of the world, they are standard practice for mobile app marketing. Because users are accustomed to operating in an environment in which advertisements, notifications, and popups compete for their attention, they are easily able to manage the clutter without coming across any problems in the process. If you adopt a communication style that is less assertive, you run the risk of never obtaining enough attention for the message you are trying to convey.
Movies really need to start utilising these kinds of tactics. In the narrative, there should be some exaggeration, along with brilliant colours, compelling music, and straightforward comedy. You may either watch the film that Grab produced for the same event in Malaysia or the commercial that Nike produced for the Lunar New Year. Both of these ads were successful in the Chinese market because they checked all of these boxes (while still being committed to the brand). Another method that is frequently used in the region is composing an infectious tune specifically for use in commercials. Watching this advertisement for Toyota Indonesia is recommended, but only if you don’t mind getting a song stuck in your brain. Observe how local businesses in South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam are capitalising on this trend by looking at advertising featuring extremely colourful imagery for products such as canned tuna, dentures, and soy milk, respectively.
Toyota: Indonesia Commercial
Mobile-first and even mobile-only
Despite the fact that marketers from all over the world refer to younger generations of consumers as being mobile-first, the real origin of mobile-first, if not mobile-only, can be traced back to Asia. Mobile-first was even coined in Asia. One of the reasons is that many economies in the Asia Pacific region are in the process of developing, which means that the majority of customers there missed the Internet’s desktop phase and experienced web browsing for the first time on a smartphone. This is because many economies in the Asia Pacific region are still in the process of developing. Another point to consider is that even the most developed economies in Asia are on the cusp of passing the most developed economies in the field of mobile technologies. When 2021 rolls around, mobile devices will be responsible for 65%of all Internet traffic in Asia (which is 11 percentage points higher than the global average and 15 points above the US share). This number is expected to climb even higher by the year 2025 when there will be an extra 700 million people using mobile Internet in this region. The amount of money spent on advertising in the region is another indicator of the region’s shift toward digital and mobile platforms. The proportion of total global spending on digital advertising that is allocated to Asia Pacific is the largest (55.7%, compared to 48.0% in 2020). The amount of money spent on mobile advertisements rose dramatically between 2019 and 2020 in China (14.6%), Vietnam (49.1%), and India (84.0%).
Therefore, any marketing campaign created for Asian markets should begin with a mobile-centric concept and afterwards be adjusted for desktop and offline formats. The cross-mobile challenge “Get supercharged at 2PM” by Berocca in Vietnam (whose mechanics tied YouTube bumper videos, mobile banners, Instagram stories, and TikTok); a live streaming event on the WeChat mini-program by Sephora in China that made it simple to convert mobile engagement into in-store purchases; and the Dove Deo Dry Serum Mobile Campaign in the Philippines, which saw 95% of the campaign’s reach come from mobile devices.
Get supercharged at 2PM by Berocca
Perform some preliminary study on the current state of the media landscape because virtually every market in Asia possesses its own unique collection of the most popular social media and video sites. Having said that, given that the majority of users have short attention spans, simplicity and clarity should still be considered to be general guidelines. Due to the fact that they have just recently begun using the internet (refer to the considerations made above), it is possible that they will avoid formats or advertising strategies that require an excessive number of contacts.
The Bottom Line
You may give consumers in Southeast Asia remarkable experiences with the help of these marketing trends, which can distinguish your firm from the competition, keep audiences interested for longer periods of time, improve brand recognition, and encourage favourable perception. If we keep our focus on listening and continue to put what we’ve learned into strategy, we will certainly be ready for marketing success in the future year.