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① Cultural social media insights in Singapore [ Research ]

02.July.2020

Welcome to article 1/3 focused on cultural social media insights in Singapore. We will cover here key cultural facts and how they might impact your social media strategy! In the social media rush towards new platforms and new features, it’s easy to forget about some fundamentals: culture & people. Anyone can tell you that since TikTok is available in Indonesia, they can help you break through this market. But a brand will only succeed with a strong understanding of the market & its audiences.

To elevate our knowledge and conduct better campaigns for our clients, Digital Business Lab decided to partner with Dr. Crystal Abidin and conduct deep research in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Dr. Abidin, Ph.D. in Anthropology/Sociology/Media studies, is a researcher and educator who focuses on Asia Pacific Internet cultures. Specializing in influencer cultures, online visibility, and social media pop culture, her academic research can be found at https://wishcrys.com/academic-publications/.

For this series about Singapore, we will dig deeper into a country that has been praised for its melting pot society as well as for its quality of life & dynamic business environment. From a marketing perspective, it is a country with a long-established influencer landscape, rooted in the old 2000-s blogs, and with a strong e-commerce culture also originated from the blogs. Nowadays, it is a small but mature and wealthy market, as well as a gateway to Malaysia & Indonesia.

Cultural social media insights in Singapore: Key facts

  • English is regarded as the main language in Singapore, officially used as medium of instruction for all school subjects. Meanwhile, the “mother tongue” varies: Mandarin for Chinese Singaporeans, Malay for Malay Singaporeans, Tamil for Indian Singaporeans. Most Singaporeans also generally speak a colloquial form of English known as Singlish comprised of an organic multicultural amalgamation of several languages and dialects.

💡  Takeaway: In Singapore, the official brand communication language should by default be English. If the brand has flexibility for an “approachable” tone of voice, it is recommended to create some cultural connections using well-known expressions of the other languages. See the below example by Apple, source asiaone.com.

  • As reflected by population numbers, 74% of Chinese ethnic, Singaporean Chinese cultures influence a large segment of the society and dominate the business sectors (Cultural Atlas 2020).

💡  Takeaway: One impact of this would be the choice of models in brand assets showing people, however in Singapore (see below) diversity is encouraged. Beyond this cultural social media insight in Singapore, and for B2B businesses, be mindful of the business customs.

  • Harmony is perhaps the most crucial of all customary notions, given Singapore’s diversity of races and cultures. Harmony is espoused from the level of state governance for social stability to workplaces for work productivity, to everyday interactions for courtesy (Cultural Atlas 2020)

💡  Takeaway: Overall, brands should have a strong “inclusive” approach in Singapore in all aspects of their internal & external communications.

  • Most Singaporeans are generally disciplined and follow the norm. It is a collectivistic society, and group identity and membership is critical for self-perception (Cultural Atlas 2020)

💡  Takeaway: Don’t forget that “when the world zigs, zag” is not necessarily a relevant approach for your branding in Singapore.

Key dates & celebrations in Singapore

  • National
    • 1 January: New Year’s Day
    • 1/2 May: Labour Day
    • 9 August: National Day
  • Cultural (exact date and month vary by the year)
    • Between 21 January to 20 February: Chinese New Year
    • 21 July: Racial Harmony Day
  • Religious (exact date and month vary by the year)
    • End March to Mid-April: Good Friday (Christian)
    • April: Easter (Christian)
    • Mid to End May: Vesak Day (Buddhist)
    • Varies greatly: Hari Raya Puasa (Muslim)
    • Varies greatly: Hari Raya Haji (Muslim)
    • October-November: Deepavali (Hindu)
    • 25 December: Christmas (Christian)

Explore article 2 & 3 of this series:

Interested to learn more about Singapore?
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