Welcome to the Philippines, the home of whale sharks, staircased mountain terraces, and the most number of selfies taken per 100,000 people globally. Specifically – Makati, Philippines – also known as Manila’s financial business district. The correlation between bankers and vanity deserves further examination, perhaps another time.
Image credit: ‘The Philippines’ Facebook Page
Today, 98% of the country’s internet population is on Facebook, with 87% on Twitter, fully expecting brands to be present and active, in the 4.5 hours the average Filipino spends on social media sites every day. It’s no wonder we’ve found ourselves managing over 60 communities across beauty, health, food, technology, and lifestyle categories. Chaotic as it may get, on-the-hour response management is a rich source of customer insight. Among our communities, we’ve identified 2 emerging segments to whom over 70% of our brands target: our Moms (later known as the Mommy Mundo), and the Urban Yuppies (later known as the Selfie Planet).
In the course of managing these communities, here are some trends we’ve observed, based on why we think they do certain things:
Trend 1: Parental Wisdom vs. Social Media
Credit: Mommy CT
Brands assume that information on parenting is wholly attained via social media. However, Filipino moms, regardless of how progressive they are, seem to put much weight on parental wisdom over recommendations from fellow moms online. This is especially for food brands.
Young moms like to share homegrown recipes and techniques learned from her first cooking teacher – her mother. One can see the tension between the old and the new, as young moms share their experiments applying traditional methods to modern recipes, reasoning that it’s the best way she knows how to do it.
Trend 2: Selective sharing
Image credit: Council on Foreign Relations
Filipino moms are unlikely to post photos of a new bag / car, or anything that conveys wealth. Posting anything that shows new acquisition of wealth is perceived negatively and leaves her vulnerable to requests for financial help among her network.
While boundless generosity is a celebrated virtue, it becomes a cycle of dependency, wherein the Filipino mom struggles in her role as the household budget officer.
Trend 3: Social Escape
The common perception is that moms look to brands in social platforms to offer information on how best to raise their family via the products/services (i.e. laundry detergent – laundry tips; Nido- playing activities). However, it seems that moms look to social as a reminder of who they used to be before becoming a mom. The content that gets the most engagement are entertainment and beauty.
The role for brands is to give moms avenues to celebrate other aspects of herself. Even though moms say that their main concern is their family, she has other needs too.
Trend 1: Half-baked Humble Brag
While selfies abound, many are self-deprecating and actually poke fun at the selfie notion as photos feature (deprecating) duck faces, ‘gpoy’ – gratuitous picture of yourself, #sorrynotsorry.
Despite the seemingly overwhelming sense of confidence this group has, there is still that insecurity of not quite appreciating their full beauty. For so long, beauty brands have urged us to celebrate our individual beauty. “Be yourself”, they said. But how are you supposed to be yourself when you don’t know who that is, to begin with?
Trend 2: Sharing of Radial Success
Image credit: Facebook
We learn a lot from what is shared. The Selfie Nation differs from the previous generation in the way they define success. Success used to be linear, defined by a career progression as one makes it from the ranks all the way to being a CEO.
What they choose to share reflect their own definitions of success, which may not necessarily be career-related anymore, but overcoming personal goals.
Image credit: Facebook
Thus, the Selfie Nation’s definition of success is about winning in different aspects of his/her life – not in promotions or salary increases but the quality and uniqueness of his/her experiences.
Much can be learned in further studying these dominant groups. It would be interesting to see how they evolve as they move into different lifestages. While these trends are prevalent in the Philippines, I am sure these are reflected in various ways in other parts of the world.
Do these trends apply in America, Europe and elsewhere in Asia? What’s your experience?
 Yahoo! Nielsen Index 2013