New report: Aussie consumers want brands to stand up for local causes

Three-quarters of Australians want brands to get more involved with the issues they care about.
This is the insight from Purpose in Asia, a new report from Kantar revealing a disconnect between the causes that dominate global media and international brand campaigns, and issues that matter to consumers across the region.

  • 75 per cent believe brands should get involved in the issues that matter to them
  • Good health and wellbeing and ending poverty the top concerns for consumers
  • 42 per cent are more likely to buy a brand more aligned with their views

“These figures reveal that for many, an authentic brand purpose is now an expectation as opposed to a bonus,” says Kantar Australia’s Head of Brand, Gareth O’Neill.

“The causes closest to home for Australians are health and well-being and ending poverty, with affordable, clean energy also pressing concern,” adds O’Neill.

The study highlights the influence of social media in circulating information about causes. TV still dominates but one in three (32 per cent) Australians ‘like’ posts on social media around an issue they care about – however, they are the least swayed across the region by these sorts of campaigns.

“Aligning with the issues that matter to consumers makes business sense, with 42 per cent of Aussies questioned saying they are more likely to buy brands aligned with their views. 38 per cent would be happy to pay ‘a little more’ for brands with sustainability credentials. However, this commitment is substantially lower than the 60 per cent average across all of Asia,” says O’Neill.

“We’re still very skeptical down under though. Just a third of us feel brands authentically engage with issues. Compare that to India where 74 per cent perceived this as trustworthy brand activity.”

But across the region, consumers believe brands have a key role to play in advancing the issues that matter to people – “brands just need to work a bit harder in authentically connecting with Australians” adds O’Neill.

“In terms of the role brands should play; educating consumers about an issue was the top activity cited, followed by initiating and funding programs to support the issue, and then funding organisations directly.”

“Brands have understood the power of purpose for a number of years now,” says Joy Lee, Regional Digital Consultant for Kantar’s Insights Division.

“The challenge, however, lies in identifying what resonates across the diverse landscape of Asia, and then engaging in an authentic way. Brands now have permission to get involved and make a difference. The good news is that this isn’t necessarily about making a lot of noise on the global stage. It can also be about supporting local initiatives and driving small but meaningful change where it matters most to people.”

> Download the report

About the study
The quantitative research component undertaken for Purpose in Asia surveyed over 3,000 people over 18 with access to the internet. This was carried out by Lightspeed in August and September 2018 across nine markets: Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan. Defining and measuring the issues that matter to people across a diverse landscape such as Asia presents challenges. To ensure alignment, the research used the consistent framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Social media analysis using Netbase was then undertaken to understand the different nuances within the conversations around the issues that were selected as most important within each market; data covered a year’s worth of comments and cleaning and processing utilised Kantar’s research grade data principles. Mainland China was excluded as its social media landscape is considerably different; this allowed for better comparability within a more homogenous context.