March 28, 2016

mainEvery year, agency J. Walter Thompson releases its Top Ten Trends gathered from all over the world.  Trends culled from over 100 insights help build strategies and push ideas.  From these 100, JWT Manila’s Pam Garcia, Executive Strategic Planning Director, sized up the 10 that push the envelope: Culture, Tech Innovation, Travel and Hospitality, Brands and Marketing, Food and Drink, Beauty, Retail, Health, Lifestyle and Luxury.

As focus points they will rule 2016, and the sum of it is: Technology, Humanity, and Good.  Given that these are the drivers, the question is, ‘How do we promote and develop, or escape from, technology?’

“HumaniTech: Humanity at the heart of technological change,” Garcia begins.    A buzzword of recent years, Garcia presents Empathy as a brand maker.  “As technology, in particular, becomes more embedded in our lives, brand creators, innovators and consumers are starting to question their relationship with new apps and devices. The successful ones, in the current flooded landscape, will be those who understand human behavior and emotion,” she reported.

If empathy is the buzzword, then so is millennial.   Majority of JWT’s Trends are anchored on the current media and marketing darlings.  ‘Love ‘em, hate ‘em, but above all, understand ‘em… Millennials have pockets that are the current pot of gold. Millennials consider tech as personal, and as such, express themselves through technology.

According to ABS-CBN Chief Digital Officer Donald Lim, whose digital acumen JWT employs in this report, “People now know if brands are selling, marketing to them.  Now, they have to make themselves relevant.  If brands in 2012 hired community managers; in 2016, they will need editors, content storytellers and publishers.”  For brands to fuse energies of technology with the expression of empathy, Garcia advises brands to rebuild themselves around this word.

Garcia advises, “Instead of fan bases, why not create go-to communities that could engage with your brand in a number of interest points that tap into their emotions? Maybe we can move past acquiring ‘fans’ and start building communities that people want to be part of?”

Masstige Lifestyle is on the JWT list.  What it is is a smart play on words that create an oxymoron.  Mass prestige lifestyles are those that are offered by Uber or Grab, for example.  Where middle-class consumers have access to, and have become attached to lifestyle apps that afford a degree of high-end comfort, otherwise unaffordable.   Adds Garcia, “Enhancements from lifestyle apps are becoming the norm—instead of just backup.”

The JWT Top Ten Trends includes Food Temples, Startup Stores, Millennial Cruises, and Professional FOMO enhancers—that’s Fear Of Missing Out.  And, together these can be further lumped as millennial.

Food Temples are sprouting in key areas of the Metro.  Gastro Park Kapitolyo, is one such area.  It’s just one of many hubs that attract young people, modern families, and young professionals that personify the Filipino’s love of food and drink.  As they say, Filipinos say hello by asking ‘have you eaten?’.  Food is cultural, and that’s one aspect that defines us as a people.  But these are more than just a haven for foodies.  Food Temples are the perfect places to source new food from young talented chefs.  Resto-bars and cafes are key to Start-up businesses, and that’s on the JWT list, too.

Further from the food trips, the trend exacts a look at Start up from the level of loving local.  More than just setting up shop, the focus is producing local brands, local products with a distinct local stamp of pride.  “Self-employment is on the rise.  And, millennials are dubbed the start-up generation,” shared Garcia.

“Filipino is no longer inferior.  Filipino is now premium,” stressed Garcia.

This takes us to the next trend that is Millennial Cruises.  Call it volun-tourism, if you want.  This is a new lifestyle model that goes beyond a mere vacay.

Explained Garcia, “It’s the endless search for something new.  It’s getting to travel, and getting to help out, or the other way where you want to help out, and get to travel.  These are image-defining experiences, or social-image defining.  This is challenging the millennial stereotype and having meaningful fun.  The travel part is the bonus.  It’s the helping that puts the meaning.”

The rest of the trends veer towards Generation Z.  Not even having milked the millennial cow fully, JWT’s GenZ is where the focus is next.   The current teenagers are growing up fast, and have a certain maturity that needs to be addressed.  For example, where they still have celebrity-envy, “GenZ seek a social political message in the influencer where making music, acting, and modeling is with a social political or professional message.  On their celebrity ‘relatability’ meter, Gen Z looks for responsible Icons.”

“The next generation appears even more precocious. Say goodbye to the rustic cabins of yesteryear, as the summer camps of the future feature more career- oriented experiences at earlier and earlier ages,” she added.

Perhaps emphasis should be on their ‘early age’.   Where speed is the key, so is growing up.  GenZ get opportunities to simulate adult life early.

Enter the next trend: Simulated Adulthood. Caught in the balancing act is childhood.  “For GenZ, play is getting the recognition of its importance.  Play is what gets the kids open to possibilities,” said Garcia.  She cited Kidzania as the local example where children can experience being adults firsthand.

Trend Fans-pitality is an approach of getting together like-minded people, and creating opportunities with this meeting of minds.   It is not unlike a theme park that attracts a specific audience.  For example, why does a Nook Café that creates a Harry Potter experience hit the spot?  “It’s buying the experience, collaborating and transferring the energy behind fandoms.  How can brands channel subcultures,” said Garcia.


Take a closer look, and most of the agency’s trends are joined at the hip.  These tips on trends are always handy considering how important insights are in the world of marketing communications identifying closely what hits at the heart of the Filipino is not too difficult.

Not even this trend that makes the list that is 3D Landscape scanning.  And, it is not that far-fetched.  This technology has been lurking, it is no longer alien as access and affordability is no longer restrictive.  “People always look for experiences that are more immersive and as realistic as possible.  Filipinos are looking for a deeper sense of national identity and millennials are showing higher appreciation for local culture and heritage,” Garcia explained.  For this trend, the local driver is that young Filipinos today, having become well-travelled, are getting interested in preserving local culture.

by: Aye Ubaldo

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