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McCann Research Reveals Global Brands More Powerful Than Politicians and Public Institutions

Advertising Agency
Singapore, Singapore
People around the world report an increasing preference for local culture and perspectives along with a rising distrust of global institutions and information sources, including social media, according to “The Truth About Global Brands 2: Powered by the Streets,” a study conducted in 29 countries. The research, by McCann Worldgroup’s Truth Central global intelligence unit, reveals surprisingly that positive attitudes towards global brands have remained high, with consumers believing that global brands can play a valuable role in contributing to local cultures.

McCann Worldgroup Truth Central launched its initial study, “The Truth About Global Brands,” in 2015. The new Global Brands follow-up study, which also incorporates findings from McCann’s Truth About Street initiative that sent all 20,000 of the agency network’s employees out to interview consumers, shows a rising cynicism and pessimism on both and institutional and individual basis. Consumers around the world report sharply rising distrust in institutions — 72% of people believe that global institutions like the World Bank and the UN don’t understand the needs of their country — and are generally more pessimistic and more distrustful of their own fellow citizens.

In an event held yesterday by McCann Worldgroup Singapore, the APAC and Singapore findings were revealed. The event was attended by senior marketers from brands and organisations including: Mastercard, Subway, NCSS, Microsoft, Unilever, GSK and General Motors. 

The data shows that, in contrast to global trends, Asia is defined by openness, progress and a full embracing of a modern, globally connected world, whether through entertainment, news, technology and brands. For example: 

85% of people in APAC think that the blending of cultures leads to a better world (vs. global 82%)
90% of people in APAC think that globalisation is a key way to increase innovation and creativity (vs. global 85%)
85% of people in APAC say that globalisation has expanded their opportunities (vs. global 79%) 

Key themes for Asia Pacific that emerged include:

1. People in the nine APAC markets surveyed (AU, CN, HK, ID, IN, JP, PH, SG, KR) feel less connected to any particular culture than their peers in the rest of the world – more “citizens of the world”
2. Asians are far more trusting than people elsewhere, yet also much more insistent on the importance of truth, requiring twice as many sources as Americans or Europeans before they’re convinced
3. Their fears and worries are global, but their hopes and aspirations are local – and they’re significantly more likely than consumers in other parts of the world to believe brands should play a broader role in addressing both ends of this spectrum 

In Singapore:

68% of Singaporeans say “it’s important to put the truth before other factors in all situations” – a 23-point jump since 2015
75% say “it’s more important to be prepared for the worst in every person and situation” than to expect the best – the highest of all APAC markets 
67% say brands that want to “make the world a better place” can do so by ”spreading optimism and positivity in the world”

According to regional planning director, Judd Labarthe, who presented the research, “At a time when the world is becoming angrier, scarier and more intolerant, people across Asia-Pacific are handing global brands a serious mandate: they want brands to help stitch up some of the tears in the social fabric, to appeal to our more communitarian nature. And frankly also to lighten up – less challenge, more laughter. Local brands are definitely on the rise, but global brands enjoy much greater influence, so long as they wield it sensitively.”
Work from McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific