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Smitha Virik

Published on

May 23, 2024


apac, Marketing Trends

All Eyes on APAC

In an era characterised by rapid globalisation and digital transformation, the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) continues to emerge as one of immense economic growth that is capturing the attention of global businesses and investors.

image of stats for APAC

Despite the opportunities, many companies still fail to expand into APAC successfully. Why?

Because we’re not only a vast region, we’re an incredibly diverse one.

image of apac stats deep dive

As such, it can be a headache for APAC marketers to roll out campaigns. But things get even more complex when there is a need to make a case for tailored local market approaches or investments.

To explore how marketers in Asia deal with these challenges, we worked with Toluna to survey 200 marketing professionals and key decision-makers across different industries in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong on the issues they face operating as part of a global team while advocating for a local approach.

Broken down by the common problems marketers are facing, we layer our expert perspectives on top of the results to navigate this tricky, but rewarding, region – as ammunition for you to be able to fight back, whether it’s data, tactics or results.

Challenge #1: My Global Marketing team is suddenly looking into all things APAC, but I’m expected to drive results with the same global assets

Reality: Global marketing campaigns rarely work well in APAC – consumers are fatigued by campaigns that don’t reflect life in the region. Things need to be localised to be successful.

image of apac consumers needing localisation

How can we resolve this?

Localise everything. This doesn’t always mean you need local data or key visuals – but at the very least ensure your content and/or copy reflects local priorities and issues. Work with local teams and agencies to sense-check assets and remove elements that may be insensitive, irrelevant or off-putting.

Here are some other important pointers to keep in mind and pay close attention to:

  • Ignoring regional variations, leading to errors – Research and understand local cultures, dialects, and colloquialisms to ensure accuracy and cultural relevance. The same words can mean different things in different countries, even when they speak the same language.
  • Quality issues such as misunderstandings or offence – Work with experienced native speakers and engage external reviewers for quality assurance.
  • Limited time and budget – This often leads to incomplete or rushed localisation. Prioritise which content needs to be localised and establish a budget for the process to ensure efficiency at its best.
  • Inaccurate or outdated content damages trust with customers and your brand – Establish a process for coordinating between language teams and content creators, and leverage automated tools and services or a review process for approving localised content.

Challenge #2: I do not have a local spokesperson to drive thought leadership and the only spokesperson available is based overseas

Reality: Majority of global brands have spokespeople based in their head office, with limited local market leadership – consumers in APAC want to hear from someone who understands their culture, needs and what makes them tick.

image of microphone for spokespersons

How can we resolve this?

Identify and train up a local spokesperson to front APAC discussions. Audiences have come to expect opinion leaders and spokespeople who are authentic and in-know of current public sentiments. Local executives and thought leaders possess the right understanding of the region’s cultural nuances and are well-versed with the socio-economic landscape to manage communications around regional issues with fluency. The use of local spokespeople also allows for diverse perspectives and voices from the APAC region to be represented adequately.

Identifying the right spokesperson:

  • You don’t have to pick just one spokesperson for the entire company – different people can represent your brand at different points. Inform them of your narrative and the key messages to highlight, prepare them for interviews with the media and ensure they have a good understanding of the media landscape.
  • Authenticity rules. Speed, context, relevance, and transparency will get your stories out there. Human beings like to buy from human beings, so an authentic story fronted by a local spokesperson is key.
  • Build their personal brand. Your spokespeople are the face and voice of your brand seen across every channel. Customers, investors, the government, and local communities are listening to what they have to say on social media, at events, on blogs, etc, so each channel represents an opportunity to create a personal narrative for your spokespeople, which can give your brand’s messaging more power and authenticity.

In the vast and diverse landscape of the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), businesses are confronted with both immense opportunities and unique challenges. As globalisation and digital transformation accelerate, the APAC region emerges as a focal point for economic growth, attracting the attention of businesses and investors worldwide.

Click here to read challenge 3 & 4 and discover actionable tactics for conquering the challenges of APAC marketing.

Looking to launch your brand or campaign in the APAC region? Learn more about our global campaign management services or get in touch with our award-winning team here

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