Another article I had clipped and tucked into my file somewhere: A Sneakpeek at Asians Tomorrow – by the DDB Signbank project. It was a "sociological projection of Asia Tomorrow. By focusing on thousands of tiny behavioural signs (what people do instead of what they say they do), a picture begins to form of where Asian society is headed" – what they call, GenerAsian Next (Read more about DDB's Signbank Project as a sociological approach to audience research here).
In this clipping, specifically, they identified 10 emerging trends for Asia Tomorrow that brands need to be mindful of:
- Asia Slowing
Asia's constant need for speed will end. We will soon enter an age of gardening, DIY and even career down-trading. We will revive rituals for slowing down – tea over coffee, manual devices over automatic ones, "slow food" over convenience.
- Asia Simplifying
All over Asia, no-frills services and products that perform one or two functions exceptionally well will overtake heavy-on-features and heavy-on-choice incumbents. It is already happening in handhelds with some brands thinking up ways to add value by what they take away instead of what they put in.
- Asia Unplugging
High tech will become passé (you read it here first. In Asia's most teched-up cities, people will hunger for all taht is raw, natural and unplugged – from office cubicle aquariums to wet markets, to folk music lessons. And yes, lives offline.
- Asia Nesting
More working adults – women in particular – will choose family over career. The trend of marrying later is now starting to reverse, with the new generation looking at those who decided to put off marriage and children with an air of curiosity. This will fuel demand for more home décor, communal-serving food and even family-friendly karaokes like Indonesia's Happy Puppy chain.
- Asia Clanning
While today we pursue Western-style individualism, GenerAsian Next will increasingly yearn for the stability and clarity of belonging to a group. They will find new wasy to "clan" – acquiring self-fashioned families through work, hobbies, sporting affiliations and charities, even preferring the reductionism of adopting "labels" to the ambiguity of perpetual displacement.
Technology has helped Asia communicate instantly but not really connect emotionally. Asians will increasingly seek the earthly warmth of human touch – or failing which, even simulating it (tip: Try googling "lap pillows")!
- Truth and Authenticity
Unlike their predecessors, GenerAsian Next will start to shun modern designer artifice for genuine craftsmanship, realism and truth. They will collect old furniture, computer-free graphic design and lo-fi music – and learn to celebrate wabi-sabi or "beauty in imperfection."
- Opening Up
GenerAsian Next will shed their self-imposed cocoons of privacy by embracing blogging, on-air confessions and new forms of relationships wiht names like "MU" (short for mutual understanding) that favour emotional honesty, even if at the expense of physical fidelity.
- Asia Rising
As globalization imports more violence, killer viruses and petrol-inflation to Asia, we see GenerAsian Next seeking comfort in hyper-localness. They will increasingly be more cynical of the slickness of Western imports and turn increasingly to homespun furnishings, ancient medicines and other havens of tradition like Thailand's patriotic coffee chain Banrie.
- Asia Flattening
Finally, we see the emergence of a freer, fairer and flatter Asia. One where ordinary citizens demand influence over the goods they consume as well as society-at-large – albeit in typically structured Asian fashion. This has implications in how brands develop new products and services, opening up possibilites of more "prototyping" research that involves customers in the building, testing or voting for their desired products and services.
"In short, we see a new kind of Asian Dream. One where Asians no longer aspire to have it all or try it all or seek the world's approval. What truly characterises this new emerging Asia is their (our) quest to establish a personal center of gravity; and most of all, to belong – in someplace, to something, for someone."