Last week, I was invited by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei to talk about the top five trends that are shaping Asia in 2011.
The economic uncertainty in the US and Europe has caused every MNC to look even more closely at Asia, so I shared my insights on some profound trends that are driving business transformation across the region.
These critical trends must also influence communications strategies in the region. We need to acknowledge how they inter-relate and fit within a broader socio-economic story in today’s always-on conversation.
1) Rural Development – Asian governments are placing a high priority on driving economic gains into rural areas, and rural consumers need lower price points and product relevance. This has created enormous opportunities for new “bottom of the pyramid” products and services.
2) Pricing – Consumers in Asia more than anywhere in the world, display extreme price sensitivity for functional products of low perceived differentiation, but exceptional premium for visible consumption of high perceived differentiation. This dynamic coupled with the evolution of group buying, member-only and flash sales has changed pricing strategies forever.
3) A move from Conformity to Individuality – Traditional households and values are no longer valid across Asian markets, led by the emergence of the independent female consumer. Personal experience, individuality and self-consumption patterns must now drive marketing strategies, rather than status, gender or traditional relationship-role contexts.
4) Convergence of Digital, Mobile & Social – Mobile phones are increasingly the primary device for web access in most Asian markets. As mobile and social platforms converge, consumers gain access to fully integrated experiences among communities, not individuals, which fuel the always-on conversation.
5) Purpose – For the first time in Asia, corporations now are expected to design social innovation business models that create shared value and enable the countries where they do business to pursue growth in a sustainable manner.
AmCham Taipei just this month celebrated its 60th anniversary, having been established in 1951. This is the same year in which the first national live television broadcast in the U.S. took place — a technological and communications milestone that has been heavily eclipsed since. This not only reinforces the fast-changing world in which we live, but also the critical importance placed on commerce across borders and nurturing local market relationships through on-the-ground insights and understanding.