Marketers are missing out on huge brand potential in Thailand by focusing on Bangkok. 80% of the Thai population lives outside of the capital, yet many marketers still base their campaigns around information and research that under-represents the bulk of their consumers.
A new report ‘Don’t call me a consumer. I am Isaan.’ published by marketing consultants, Jamjaras Communications highlights the disparity.
“Imagine that in the UK all marketing communication was focused only on London, or that Australian brands created their communications based only on the culture and demographics of Sydney. That’s what’s happening in Thailand,” says Jamjaras CEO, Somyot Chairat.
The report claims that upcountry markets are often relegated to a secondary market status, resulting in brands missing out on major opportunities to connect with a growing, well- educated and technologically-advanced target market.
The tangible shift, from national media like broadcast television to more localised online platforms has resulted in more fragmentation, which grants consumers greater agency in choosing their content. Brands hoping for success need to re-evaluate their uniform communication strategy if they wish to authentically connect with the majority of Thais.
The Isaan region of Thailand is a good example. With a population of over 20 million people (larger than neighbouring countries Cambodia and Laos), it has a unique culture, beliefs and language that make viewing Isaan as just ‘another part’ of Thailand a major lost opportunity if ignored.
One multinational company that has recognised the opportunity is food and beverage giant, PepsiCo. They have developed and tailored unique campaigns for their Lays Tawan brand, just for the Isaan market. With some success. Sales have doubled in the region since they adopted the approach of using local insight and understanding cultural nuances to create communication around ‘Muan Kuk’, the regional interpretation of ‘fun, laughter and togetherness’.
“Brands that fail to grasp the need for understanding the desires, traditions, and cultural depths of upcountry Thailand are sure to miss out in this rapidly developing market,” said Chairat.