YANGON: Myanmar has a consumer landscape that is less developed than other markets in Southeast Asia, yet the country's youthful population and growing access to the outside world makes it an exciting opportunity for brands, according to an agency specialist.

Clint Easthorpe, Managing Director of Mango Myanmar, told WARC in an exclusive interview that the lifting of international sanctions last year has given the country a boost, especially among younger consumers.

"The one thing that has happened in the last couple of years is a change in the political system, which has opened up the market and the internet market," he said.

"If you talk to anybody [in Myanmar], you get a real vibe that – like a lot of Asian markets – the younger generation wants to achieve more than their parents did and provide a much higher standard of living. There's a real drive here," he added.

(For more, including the importance of considering local culture and customs when planning marketing strategies in Myanmar, read WARC's report: Building from the ground up – Myanmar comes of age.)

"You've got to understand what it is that people really need. In Myanmar, they've not had much, but what they've got they don't want to lose, so all you've got to do is try and build upon that and ensure that there is a key benefit," Easthorpe explained.

"If you're coming into this market, what's the benefit that you want to give to the local people? Because if you can provide that then you're on a pretty good strategy."

As well as needing to adapt to local habits, brands looking to expand into Myanmar should recognise that more than half (55%) of the country’s 54m population is aged under 30 – and they are becoming increasingly mobile-savvy.

"Myanmar is a mobile-only market. We talk about cutting the cord in other markets, in Myanmar the cord never really existed, so people are accessing the internet by mobile phone," Easthorpe said.

What's more, as with many emerging markets in the region, Facebook is often consumers' entire understanding of the internet, making the social network essential for building brand awareness.

"You've got huge mobile population here. They have access to the internet, they use Facebook mainly," said Easthorpe. "If you believe in the attributes and the power of social media, then that's a huge influencer and a huge engagement area with an ability to amplify a message."

Data sourced from WARC