Brand Purpose in Focus at Spikes Asia 2019

Brand Purpose in Focus at Spikes Asia 2019
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

This year’s Spikes Asia Festival will address how brands in APAC can become agents for change.

In recent years, we’ve seen brands stepping up to take a stand on the defining social issues of our time. Work from the boldest global brands and agencies has prompted changes in behaviour, representation, policy and legislation, and the ways we preserve our world.

Some 91 per cent of millennials would switch brands for one which champions a cause. And there’s the growing feeling that creative work being produced across Asia needs to evolve to meet the needs of this new generation of consumers.

It’s a generation that needs a champion. Consumers are now looking to brands for moral direction on the social, political and environmental issues they once relied on governmental organisations to lead on. For brands in APAC, defining purpose and embracing this new role of ‘change-agent’ is now not only unavoidable, but urgent.

In 2019, the Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity puts the new rules around brand purpose in the spotlight. They’ve released a programme addressing how companies in the region can support positive change and do work that does better for the world.

Asia rising: a chance to define what ‘purpose-driven’ means in APAC

As we heard from AMV BBDO’s Nadja Lossgott this year at Cannes Lions, ‘there’s no bravery without empathy’. Purpose isn’t something that brands can fake, and consumers will find insincerity hard to forgive. Work that puts purpose at its core connects brand values to a social cause that its audience cares about deeply.

It’s this that makes the challenge that much more difficult for brands in Asia Pacific to compete when it comes to creating authentically purpose-driven work. In a space where the issues that are important to consumers vary drastically depending on the social climate of the specific Asian market, there’s no room for diluted mass messages.

It’s also here that the region has an opportunity to come into its own. Connecting with a cause means not only listening to your consumers, but truly understanding what’s important to them. Brands and agencies in APAC have, for a long time, had an unparalleled understanding of individual countries and the consumers that live in them.

For Asia Pacific, everything is local. If the challenge is to align brand values with audience values and create emotional work that resonates at a human level, it’s a region that’s already equipped with the tools to win. At this year’s Festival, we’ll hear more about the opportunity for APAC to establish itself as a leader in brand purpose.

Success for Palau Pledge: the value of brand purpose

We know that work that does good is, ultimately, better for business. Brands committed to purpose have grown two times faster than others in the past 12 years. We’ve also seen awards success for purpose-led work in recent years.

One of the biggest success stories to come out of Cannes Lions and Spikes Asia in 2018 was Palau Pledge, the work took home Grands Prix across the Awards. Produced by Host / Havas Sydney, the creative campaign saw Palau become the first country in the world to incorporate positive environmental practices into immigration policy.

Palau implemented a permanent new entry visa process in 2017, and all tourists must now sign a mandatory agreement (stamped in their passports and dedicated to Palau’s children) to be good environmental stewards during their time in the country.

Palau Pledge did something that all purpose-driven work should do: invited willing participation from a consumer that was ready to commit to driving change. The pledge promoted personal responsibility and encouraged positive sustainable actions. It paved the way for progress in an uncertain world, captured the industry’s attention and picked up awards across the globe as a result.

Brands activists and change-makers on stage

This year at Spikes Asia, FCB and Weltmeister Automobile will tackle the truth of brand building in an era of paradoxes. Speakers will take a close look at the idea of ‘brand as platform’ and share lessons on connecting with a ‘human-based’ purpose that gives true meaning to the brand.

We will also see ADK and Toyota take to the stage alongside Wei Soong Toh, the Asian Para Games gold medallist and brand ambassador. They will discuss social movements in Asia and the brand’s philosophy of ‘Mobility for All’. Speakers will tell the story of how they used a global platform and championed social inclusion to transform a traditional brand and capture the attention of Asia’s youth.

Elsewhere on the programme, Dentsu Inc. will take a critical look at the danger of ‘cause-washing’ looming over the industry. The session will offer insight into what it means to ‘be authentic’ and look at how brands can find the right connections.

Join the Spikes Asia team from 25 – 27 September 2019 at Suntec Singapore to discover the new rules of brand purpose in APAC and learn how to produce work with the power to lead us towards a better world. 

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