Are you raising a genie?

In our Education in Japan forum, we often find that “going to school to socialise” is a central issue for those of us who choose to put our kids in local Japanese schools. Many parents (particularly bicultural parents) are worried about their kids maintaining their individualism and sense of identity while they at school unconsciously imbibe Japanese cultural values, ways and methods of doing things, and particularly, Japanese ways of thinking and dealing with Japanese people.

For parents who are foreign expatriates or parents whose roots are elsewhere but are married to a Japanese spouse, we might well want to know that we might be raising kids who belong to a category of Asians called “genies”. What are genies? Genies are a term coined by the Ogilvy and Mather firm. They stand for the “Generation who independently engage in society” meaning they are a generation that has learnt to balance two opposing forces in their lives — their search for individual expression and the willing acceptance of social norms.

Read the Reuter’s article posted to understand more about Genies…


Genies hold Asia’s future

by Sanjit Singh

It has not been tried with success before: pinning a name on today’s generation of young Asians has eluded many a demographer and trend guru.

Every once in a while when science fails, advertising steps in to fill the breach. After conducting interviews with 7,000 “twentysomethings” across nine Asian countires, British advertisng agency Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) has founded the label—“Genie”.

“Genie stands for ‘Generation who independently engage in society,” said O&M’s Mark Blair. “The Genie’s lives are a delicate balancing act between two opposing forces—a search for individual expression balanced by a willing acceptance of social norms,” he said.

He said Genies desired controlled freedom and, consistent with Asia’s heritage, respected their elders and authority.

“The Genies are poles apart from their Western counterparts, Generation X, who show little respect for social structures and create their own tribal cultures,” said Mr Blair. T

The survey’s findings will allow O&M to target this group. “We know their psyche now and can tailor advertising aimed at them.

There is no doubt that Genies are the leaders of tomorrow and will have a great influence over purchasing patterns.”

Mr Blair said few Western commercials carried the same appeal in Asia. “Advertising in Asia has to deal with both the rational as well as emotional side of the Genie, which might be totally different to each other, without swaying heavily to either side.”

Asian societies were highly structured, more conciliatory and less rebellious than in the West.Challenging the establishment is not a big concept,” he said.

The O&M survey concludes that the single biggest factor driving the Genie is opportunity. Mr Blair said opportunities for the Genie were unparalleled, and many feared they would miss out.

The survey debunks some myths about young Asian adults in Asia and concludes that there is homogeneity across the continent.

It denies Asians are consumed by materialism, and says Asian values are more durable than previously thought.

The Genie’s outlook is very positive and there is no feeling of disenfranchisement from society, the survey concludes.

Despite one or two marked differences in each individual country, there is a large degree of homogeneity across Asia with regard to the Genie’s deeper values.

The Indian model of the Genie was a more exaggerated version of Asia’s, Mr Blair said. “There is strong individualism and a desire to maximize opportunity in the Indian Genie,” he said.

These traits may have emerged because strong economic growth was a more recent phenomenon in India than in many other Asian countries, he said. “The emotional side as well as the rational side are more deeply rooted in the Indian Genie.”


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