Cultural Connections: Southeast Asia

Guest post by Maxine Gurevich, senior manager, Global Insights and Consumer Practice Development. 

Intertwined by multiple threads of history and culture, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is comprised of ten countries that are enormously diverse and encompass thousands of ethnicities, dialects, and languages.

Seen by financial experts and economists alike as a rapidly growing economic powerhouse in Asia, ASEAN helps drive global growth. It trends towards globalization, includes a demographic majority of 30 year-olds and under and its increasing mobility is bringing rapid change to the region. Yet, the more globalized nations become, the more concerned they are that aspects of their culture and traditions are getting lost as the world becomes more interconnected. Even for younger people, who constitute the demographic majority, maintaining local heritage and identity has become paramount.

The Edelman Global Consumer group has collaborated on a new series of trend reports called Edelman’s Cultural Connections. In this report we focus on three Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. While there has been a great deal of information across trade publications highlighting the region’s economic prosperity, there has been little reporting of the variety and nuances of these cultures and its people, which is vital to address.

In each country, we brought together local Edelman experts who led us on a trek through their cities so we could be on the ground, witness the local trends and get out from behind our screens. We went to work compiling local market nuances, the tensions arising in each area, what people are buying and why, what’s being remixed, reused and repurposed and most importantly, what marketers need to know before stepping foot into these countries. In the following report, you will see original photography captured by our local teams, you will read insights from Edelman’s next generation of experts and you will hear from locals about the scene on the streets.

We proudly present our inaugural Cultural Connections Report: Southeast Asia.


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