WARC, the authority on advertising and media effectiveness, has released its 2019 Asian Strategy Report, outlining successful key marketing trends in the region. The Report is based on an analysis of the results of this year’s WARC Prize for Asian Strategy which awards the smartest strategic ideas that are growing brands in Asia.
It has shared three important findings: Big brands are competing with local brands with a challenger mentality that is powered by cultural insights and AR/VR-driven experience opportunities.
The WARC Prize for Asian Strategy, now in its ninth year, is a free-to-enter annual competition in search of the best strategic thinking from Asia’s marketing industry. The WARC Prize for Asian Strategy 2020, marking the tenth anniversary of the awards programme, will open for entries in April.
Lucy Aitken, Managing Editor, Case Studies, WARC, says: “Against a backdrop of digital disruption, societal challenges and regional diversity, this year’s Asian Strategy Report helps to bring clarity with valuable insights drawn from our analysis of breakthrough marketing ideas.”
Here are the three key strategic themes that WARC’s 2019 Asian Strategy Report highlights:
Big brands are adopting a challenger mentality
Larger brands are adopting challenger behaviour in Asia so they can stand out and compete against successful local brands in their sectors.
Among this year’s winners were KFC and Amazon in China, alongside Castrol in India, which behaved in unexpected ways for their sector in devising and pursuing a strategic path that won favour with consumers.
Jury member Ian Dolan, Head of Strategy and Planning, PHD China, observes: “These game-changing challenger brands are rewriting category rules and bucking obvious routes to market. They are also demonstrating a purpose-led approach which is rooted in providing value to the consumer or cause, often in original executions with unrivalled clarity of thought.”
AR/VR offers strategists new experience opportunities
AR/VR played a much larger role this year, with three winning submissions – Nike and Coca-Cola in China, and IKEA in India – putting the technology at the core of their initiatives, versus just one winning entry last year.
Judge Andreas Moellmann, Chief Experience Officer APAC, Geometry Global Japan, points out that the global AR/VR market is forecast to grow more than seven-fold in the next four years, from US$27bn in 2018 to US$209bn. He comments: “Marketers dream of engaging people with their brands and products – and of making them come back for more. AR/VR makes this dream come true: creating experiences without limits.”
New growth opportunities emerge when brands reframe using cultural insights
Brands in categories from male skincare in Indonesia to financial services in Singapore identified successful ways to reposition themselves and reap the rewards.
Jury member Natalie Gruis, Head of Strategy International, TBWA\NEBOKO, comments: “Changing the frame of reference for brands and their products enables us to unlock new opportunities for growth because we can uncover people that would never have considered them before. More importantly, it moves us from focusing on how to gain a share of an existing category to resizing an entirely new market. Disruption at its best.”
Summing up, jury chair Frederique Covington, Head of Marketing and Cross Border, Asia Pacific, Visa, says: “Understanding regional diversity and regulation, alongside a commitment to rediscovering your customers, are the tenets of a successful strategy in Asia.”
A sample of WARC’s 2019 Asian Strategy Report can be downloaded here.