1 It’s time to get real – authenticity matters
The social media channels to which so many consumers are connected depict a world that so often seems contrived; the perfect selfie, the perfect meal and the perfect moment. In this context, consumers are seeking out a dose of reality. They want to engage with brands that provide products that carry a sense of authenticity about them, and which communicate in ways that feel like a real conversation. Brands that use natural ingredients rather than artificial colors and flavors stand to do well, along with brands that portray “the real Indonesia” and present an inclusive message. Consumers say they believe their peers more than they believe brands as a source of reliable information, which means brands working with ambassadors could think about emphasizing people who have achieved fame by working hard, rather than those who appear to have achieved celebrity overnight.
2 Views on gender are changing faster than advertising
Brands in Indonesia too often rely on gender stereotypes when talking to or about women, Kantar’s Getting Gender Right study has found. That means they either get ignored – it’s hard to make an impact when you’re showing one more ad among many with a smiling mom serving dinner – or they are seen by men and women as being behind the times and lacking relevance. It’s not that women don’t appear in ads; it’s that their roles follow stereotypes, particularly in categories such as baby care, laundry, cleaning products, personal care and food. They do tend to be underrepresented in categories such as automotive and financial services, however, or play only a supporting role to men, even though women tend to be a household’s lead or joint decision maker in most categories. Times are changing, and research shows that breaking stereotypes can generate higher levels of engagement among both men and women. Ads featuring women could be used to generate excitement and pride, while ads featuring men could make a more affectionate, caring impression.
3 Brands can tap into burgeoning national pride
This trend goes beyond simple flag-waving, and refers to a deeper sense of rediscovery of what it means to be Indonesian. Brands such as Eiger, Wardah and GOJEK have succeeded in building an association between Indonesian heritage and a message of quality and relevance. But a rediscovery of local pride is manifesting itself in ways that brands across almost every category can tap into; holidaymakers are seeking out little-known destinations within Indonesia, as well as restaurants and hotels providing a modern take – and often a premium-priced luxurious one – on the traditional “kampung” or village experience. Some brands are using shared knowledge of local tradition as a jumping-off point for humor, giving traditional songs, stories or scenes a contemporary twist.
4 Ownership is no longer enough
The greatest pleasure of buying something used to be in the moment of consumption or the delight in owning something new. That’s changing, as consumers increasingly look for brands that provide them with a great experience (as well as a great product). Shampoos that promise an energy boost are growing at over 10 percent a year, while those with an anti-dandruff function are in sharp decline. Detergents that focus on fragrance are up; those emphasizing stain-removal are down. In the travel sector, people are still looking to tick another destination off their list, as well as to indulge in experiences that they can photograph and share, and which contribute to unique and lasting memories. Rather than simply take a city tour, for instance, they might seek out a more intimate experience such as a cooking class or opportunity to shop where the locals do. In some ways, consumers are innovating faster than brands, using branded products in new ways to create things they love. Brands could look more closely at partnerships across categories, to provide consumers with an experience of several brands that they love, all at once.
5 History will not repeat itself
There was a time when brands in Indonesia could sit back and watch additional sales roll in thanks to surging GDP and consumer wealth. Those days are over. The maturing economy means that car sales and retail sales are all flattening off, meaning that if brands want to see growth, they must engineer it themselves rather than expect a rising tide to carry them. Brands in different categories are affected differently; volume sales of essentials are declining due to continued price increases, while “nice to have” categories are rising as pack sizes get bigger. Spending on indulgences is on the up. Growth used to result from economic opportunism and geographical expansion, and while there is still untapped potential among lower income earners and those in remote locations, the biggest rewards are now seen as being the result of smarter, targeted, precision growth based on identifying more niche pockets of opportunity.