How can your brand help Asian consumers realise the value of their good intentions?

Explore how your brand can get sustainability right in Asia, and close the value-action gap.
31 August 2021
value action gap sustainability
Jessica Bower

Senior Director, Consulting Division , Singapore

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It is more important than ever for brands to get sustainability right. First and foremost, the world badly needs a shift towards more sustainable choices, and many consumers recognise this and want to see this change.

But there is a huge discrepancy between how people act and their values. There is an all-important value-action gap: three in five Asians say they are prepared to invest their hard-earned time and money to support companies that do good, but find it difficult to actually make it happen.

The reality is that while people don’t need to be convinced about the importance of sustainability issues, it does not translate to behaviour. Seven in 10 Asians still buy brand new rather than second hand (70%) and pre-packed products rather than refill (68%), while over half (56%) still choose their car for transport.

Brands have a critical role to play to convert people from intention to real action and close the value-action gap – so the good intentions of brand messaging and of consumer desires can be realised.

Drive impact by focussing on important issues that can make the biggest difference

From recycling to transport, to how we choose where to invest our money, the value-action gap transcends issues. So, prioritise where your brand can make the biggest difference. Are there issues that Asians care about, but there is a distinct lack of actionable leadership on? Chances are, you’ll get more credit for this, than simply following in areas where others have already cracked the behaviour change.

But before you can take practical steps to affect change, you must understand why this is not yet happening – and there are three key factors that persistently undermine even the most well-intentioned initiatives.

1. Cost

Kantar’s new study Sustainability – the Asian Story finds almost four in five Asians (77%) prioritise saving money over saving the planet. While sustainable materials are more widely used, shifting to the green or clean option doesn’t always meet the promise of real efficiency. Extra costs deliver a major brake on consumer adoption.

2. Comfort

Over three in five Asians (62%) don’t want to risk trying something new. Current levels of comfort and familiarity with existing options means winning against incumbents can be a real challenge.

3. Convenience

Over six in 10 Asians (62%) ‘can’t be bothered’ to try the sustainable alternative. Why? Most of us have some form of laziness and often don’t try new things until it’s really easy to do so.

Cost, comfort and convenience too often outweigh the benefit of a more sustainable solution. Success will come when we face the fact that being sustainable alone isn’t enough. Brands must do more to drive adoption to help consumers find the change compelling enough to action.

Know your audience and understand that not everyone is on the same journey

One in five ‘Eco-Active’ Asians (19%) are adopting sustainable changes and new solutions early. This is great, as they can lead the charge. But don’t overlook the one in three ‘Eco-Believers’ (30%), who are ripe to close the value-action gap. They don’t need convincing, just help to act. And with clear guidance to support them, you’re on your way to reaching half of the population to effect real change. But how? By better understanding your audience and their fuels and frictions, you can drive behaviour change.

1. Frictions

Explore your business-specific friction. Is it cost, comfort or convenience that is the barrier to change for your consumers? Identifying and isolating friction points guides effective steps to action.

2. Fuel

Fuel change by providing additional benefits that motivate the right sustainable behaviours in your brand’s consumers.

By addressing your friction points and communicating tangible benefits to your consumers, you can design options to overcome barriers and close that value-action gap. The result: more people compelled and equipped to realise their good intentions and make your brand part of this progress.

Click here more information on Kantar’s Asia Sustainability report and how your organisation can start to take effective and informed steps to successfully navigate your sustainability journey.

Kantar’s Sustainable Transformation Practice brings together expertise and assets from across Kantar through a framework of six key pillars. This supports organisations across the spectrum of sustainability challenges to meaningfully define and powerfully activate sustainability strategy.

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