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SEA Insights

10 ways to win in Indonesia

Richard McLeod

Group Account Director

Brands 23.03.2017 / 00:00

Indonesia girl selfie 2 col

Brands will need one or more of the following to gain traction in one of SEA’s biggest growth markets

With Indonesia as one of the key growth markets in Southeast Asia, brands are eager to appeal and attract consumers in the young, vibrant country. Kantar Millward Brown’s BrandZ study of Top 50 Indonesian Brands 2016 reveals some takeaways for brands to thrive:

1. Be within reach

Consumers across all income levels have strong aspirations and may have similar desires, but need different ways of realising them. Consider how different levels of wealth determine consumer preferences, particularly in popular categories such as personal care, technology and food. Craft a range, communicate product benefits and set prices that allow consumers to link their dreams with reality.

2. Get the price right

Despite excitement over discounts and seasonal sales, many consumers in Indonesia still value the ability to get the products they love at a consistently fair price all year round over the thrill of stocking up in a sale. Brands need to understand what consumers regard as “good deals” in their category, and position themselves in a way that aligns with that definition.

3. Nurture trust, play the long game

Both local and international brands favoured by Indonesian consumers have earned their place because they have consistently provided a positive experience. This type of bond cannot be hurried, but brands can start to build reliability now. With 10% of the population living in poverty and millions just above the poverty line, brands have not reached a large number of Indonesians. As their wealth grows, these consumers will seek out the brands they learnt to trust long before their products became affordable.

4. Think young, but don’t forget the old

With a median age of 29.6 in Indonesia, many brands have focused their efforts on the country’s young consumers. But don’t overlook older consumers – they are consuming and also moving with the times. About 8 million of consumers over 45 are online and these middle-aged Indonesians are among the most active on social media compared to consumers in their age group worldwide.

5. Share consumers’ diverse tastes

Consumers are seeking information and entertainment that reflect a broad spectrum of interests. Brands should consider the whole person and not just the individual roles they assume. While Indonesia is home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, brands should be mindful of it but not make it the heart of communications. Consumers like brands to acknowledge their beliefs, but not to preach to them or use overtly religious messaging to sell to them. 

6. Look beyond a single target

Brands don’t have to define themselves as either an entry-level name or a luxury marque. Agile brands that can flex their offer can resonate with different groups of consumers at different points along the income scale. Messages and pricing that complement one another can broaden a brand’s target audience and also set out clearly how consumers can upgrade to a more upmarket offering.

7. Different places mean varied values

There are about 6,000 inhabited islands across Indonesia, and brands need to think not only of the differences between urban and rural consumers, but also the differences between cities and regions, which can affect everything from taste in tea to receptivity to advertising.

8. Adjust to the new normal

Think about how the current economic conditions are affecting your category and your consumers. Are people buying less frequently, looking for different bundles of services or perhaps smaller pack sizes? Is your category a shopping-list essential, or is it something that might be seen as an indulgence?

9. Don’t abandon physical retail

Despite the rise in e-commerce in Indonesia, most people still spend the bulk of their money at independently-owned general stores, cafes, restaurants and clothing outlets. The modern trade gives marketers the ability to scale fast and in an efficient way, but more traditional traders often have the ear of their customers and remain important for both promotion and distribution.

10. Provide practical help

Consumers in Indonesia are highly pragmatic, and brands that provide useful information in their communications and packaging can help people make informed decisions about the products that are right for them. Marketers must provide consumers information they are seeking not just to ensure they are buying the product that’s just right for their needs, but also to provide them with a clear rationale for purchase, a justification for their spending, whether that is based on quality, a premium ingredient or a more emotional reason.

Source : Kantar Millward Brown

Editor's Notes

For more takeaways for brands to win in Indonesia or to speak to Richard, please contact us here.

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