Singaporeans love brands that can exceed needs and set trends above all other criteria, study finds

A crowd lined up in advance just to get first dibs on the Balmain x H&M collection in Singapore in 2015.
The Straits Times

Singaporeans may seem hard to please, but winning our hearts, while difficult, is not entirely impossible.

A new study has found that the key to Singapore consumers’ hearts lies in the ability to exceed their needs by giving them what they want even before they can ask for it.

According to the joint research conducted by Kantar Consulting and digital media company Oath, a subsidiary of Verizon, the top three factors which contributed to brand love in Singapore were the ability to exceed needs, set trends and build trust with consumers.

The Brand Love Index, which collected data from more than 150,000 consumers across 13 countries, including 2,400 from Singapore, found that there were a total of six factors that drove brand love across the industries, geographies and generations studied.

The other three factors are the ability to share and be driven by values, elevate consumer experiences, as well as make consumers feel respected.

When compared to other markets, Singaporeans’ expectations to have their needs exceedingly met was not unique, and was found to be key driver around the world.

With the exception of Australia, consumers in other APAC countries ranked a brand’s ability to build trust as the second most important factor in driving brand love.

Instead, Singaporeans and Australians were both found to favour a brand’s ability to set trends over its ability to build trust.

Singaporeans also prioritised experiences more than other markets, with the ability to elevate consumer experiences given over 40 per cent more weight than the global average.

“Love is key to building and establishing a relationship between companies and their customers and ultimately, help sales and ensure longevity,” said Rico Chan, managing director of Oath in Hong Kong, Japan, India and Southeast Asia.

“From camping overnight for a new fashion collection, to wearing prominent logos on their clothes and sometimes even skin, love is what takes a brand from good to great,” Mr Chan said.

And while it is not easy, Oath says that to meet these six consumer expectations, brands must be able to do the following five things.

Outperform and overdeliver

According to the study, how a product works and what it does is more important than consumer feelings across all industries.

“A brand’s ability to exceed needs by doing something no other brand does, or doing it better, is the strongest driver of brand love globally,” the report said.

Take a stand

Singapore, along with Taiwan, the US, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and the UK, are markets where this matters most.

According to the findings, consumers in these economies want to be seen using brands that share their values.

According to the research, 67 per cent of consumers all over the world expect brands they love to publicly support equality and diversity.

Many, including Singaporeans, also wanted to see the brands they support back their words with actions.

However, only 32 per cent of consumers globally preferred a brand that would publicly support a political party.

Rethink, reinvent, repeat

Brands don’t have to be in an innovation-obsessed industry for consumers to expect them to set trends.

Consumers were also found to be willing to go out of their way for – and even forgive – brands that innovate in order to elevate experiences.

Make it personal

By keeping it personal, brands are able to build trust with individual consumers.

This is important because trust is the highest indicator of brand loyalty and admiration, Oath said in its report.

Act their age

While millennials worship innovation and trend-setting, older consumers place a higher value on brands they can trust.

In Singapore, older consumers prioritised trust over the ability to set trends.