When it comes to global gatherings, the location can often provide the context for additional learning, and this was no exception. As Koh Juat Muay, President of The Institute of Public Relations, Singapore, tells us, Singapore as a unique island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia embraces EESG – economics is informed by how they protect their environment and take care of the planet. Long-term planning is central to how the city-state has operated since its origins in 1965. In public housing, the mix of residents reflects the country’s multiracial population ensuring societal integration (e.g. 60% Chinese, 10% Malay, 9% Indian etc.). The state also actively disincentives car ownership – to even be in with a chance of owning your own car citizens must bid to be on a car register (current minimum bidding is around $100,000 for a 10-year license and that’s before car purchasing), and then pay each time they drive on city roads. Conversely, the city has invested heavily in its public transport infrastructure that powers the journey of 3 million users every day.

Buildings across the city aren’t just green in terms of energy and water conservation - they are literally green. The cityscape is full of buildings with live tropical gardens – from the ground floor to the top floor, [note: planning a trip to Singapore, stay in the Park Royal Pickering as we did to experience ‘green urban living’ in a whole new dynamic. The hotel features 15,000m2 of lush greenery which constitutes more than twice the total land area that hotel sits on]. The city’s ‘garden city’ ambition to be the Greenest City in the world is very near to realising its 2030 ambition of every household living within a 10-minute walk of a park, in addition to the state recently setting aside 50% more land – around 200 hectares – for nature parks. Brands and businesses take some Eastern inspiration and embrace a longer-term approach to planning.


1. AI as a tool to be embraced not feared – No surprise, AI is big on the conversation agenda, (which we have been following closely). Ted Lim, from Diff Creative Consultants, Singapore, echoed the general consensus that we can either fear it, fight it, and eventually let it win. Or we can embrace it, use it, tune it, train it, co-create with it….and win together. And while many in the marketing and advertising sector experiment with AI to do specific tasks and speed up areas of the production process, the big watchouts are both from a copyright, (AI under current law cannot own any copyright) and ethics perspective. Net-net: AI is here to stay but proceed with caution. We’ll be soon sharing the work we’ve done in the AI space over the last year, so watch this space...

2. Search is going social – in terms of how young people are using the internet they are increasingly using it for inspiration. Global Web Index from the UK highlights how ‘Social the new Google’, reporting that ‘finding new ideas or inspiration’ in terms of how people are using the internet has shifted the most in terms of internet usage – from 9th place in 2018 to 6th place in 2022. Kurio from Sweden similarly reports that nearly half of young people are turning to social platforms like TikTok or Instagram instead of searching. Net-net: the younger audience’s purchase journey starts from curiosity and it’s down to brands and marketers to guide them along a path of inspiration and ideas rather than brands and products.

3. Inspiration trumps Instagram - Impactful events today really consider the specific feeling they want people to feel, not simply create an Instagrammable moment. According to NYC’s Early Spring, “If you aren’t doing something other than creating a space where people can take a picture, then we aren’t providing value that reflects the time people have come and “sat in your ad” for 15 mins”. Net-net: If you’re in the business of events, don’t fall into the trap of ‘Instagram only’. Think beyond the obvious to drive a transformational brand experience.

4. The hype of the metaverse may be over but web3 is here to stayNusa Meta from Indonesia reminds us that while the 2022 hype period might be over for the metaverse, brands and businesses intent on connecting with Gen Z and Gen Alpha continue to invest in web3, recognising the metaverse’s power to deliver entertainment, experience, earning and engagement. Looking to Indonesia as the 4th biggest Internet audience, we can take inspiration from the many government bodies and banks who recognise that the metaverse is the way to reach large audiences and connect with the new generation of students and consumers who Most interestingly, Indonesia’s Central Bank is planning on issuing a digital rupiah, meaning metaverse users won’t need a cryptocurrency, a sign of what we are likely to see emerge in an international context. Net-net: Experimenting in the metaverse is key in terms of engaging the next generation of Alphas who place high value on their digital identity.

5. Immersive reality is the future of storytelling – the best storytellers use the most exciting technology available to capture people’s imagination, says San Francisco based-agency Rock Paper Reality. And unlike any other storytelling medium to date, AR fuses digital and physical storytelling in ways that let you: watch the story, hear the story, tell your story, and BE the story. Net-net: An immersive digital experience is the direction we’re all headed in, how we approach our storytelling needs to reflect this.


Don’t forget the power of Interdependence – While an independent spirit is key to brands and businesses telling stories that are distinct and unique to the brand’s proposition, often the best experiences come through the partnership of many. A big shout out to Julian and Stephanie for all their work in organising the summit, and to all the network partners who THINKHOUSE continues to collaborate with to solve marketing and business challenges. Here’s to embracing our interdependence.

  • In a modern world, how does business tap into what's important to under 35 year-olds? Listen to Claire Hyland, Head of The Youth Lab, insightful conversation answering this question Dave Winterlich on the Dentsu x Irish Times Media Solutions Inside Marketing podcast. Read the shorthand download here on The Irish Times.
  • Laura Costello, our Strategy Director Purpose & Planet, will be sharing the stage next week at Purpose Disrupters first-ever Earth Day Advertising Summit, at the Tate Modern in London next week. She will be sharing insight on transformational leadership from our growing crew of Irish-based industry disruptors, representing the work of all those involved in Purpose Disrupters Ireland and THINKHOUSE Planet at the afternoon Changemakers Masterclass.
  • In case you missed it - read our recent piece on AI, sharing our view on the evolving space and what it means for brands and businesses.