How Brands Can Reinforce Evolving Pinoy Values

What are some of the values that make us Pinoy by heart? Hiya (propriety), Pakikibaka (activism), Pakikisama (conformity), Utang na Loob (repayment), Lakas ng Loob (gutsiness), and Bahala Na (leaving things to fate) are unique Filipino values passed on from one generation to the next. 


These values may sometimes have undesirable outcomes. Yet, they define Filipino culture and have somehow guided people during this pandemic. Interestingly, the rapid shift to a digital lifestyle and pervasiveness of social media has had a significant impact on these treasured values.


Digital media agency AdSpark, examines the big question: “How is the Filipino value system affected by the digital lifestyle?” in its latest ThoughtSparker report, The Filipino in Flux: How transformations in digital technology and social media transformed Filipino values.

Taking on the landmark study of Virgilio Enriquez, considered the Father of Filipino psychology, the report dives deep into how these values drive digital phenomena and how brands are taking the lead in reinforcing them. 


“Finding out how values have evolved helps uncover impacts of technology on similarly-changing areas of the Filipino’s life. Understanding this helps businesses in different ways: it can help employers train and retain their value-driven workforce, and help brands craft campaigns grounded in the evolving Filipino value system,” said Gretchen Largoza, AdSpark President and CEO. 


Filipino values are changing along with the digital revolution


Hiya - NOT just modesty and avoidance of shame, but a sense of propriety. During the pandemic, Filipinos took to social media to call out government officials and brands for any hint of impropriety. Online communities have gone out of their way to “cancel” a public figure or a business whose actions are objectionable. 


Pakikibaka - NOT just activism but a desire to change the world. In his study, Enriquez found that pakikibaka is not just for activists but for all Filipinos. Consumers of all ages are enjoining brands to join their crusade in changing the world for the better. A study from the Global Web Index says that nearly 60% of consumers agree that brands should have more initiative to help them during this difficult time.


Pakikisama - NOT just conformity but pakikipagkapwa to make a difference. Enriquez explains that Filipinos are quick to help others even if they themselves are in need. We find solace, inspiration, and purpose from our family, friends, and workmates. This value was highlighted during Typhoon Ulysses in 2020 where nearly P21 million was donated through GCash. Brands, therefore, need to see these bonds and be truly part of the conversation.


Net sentiment of “Bayanihan” throughout 2020

Net sentiment of “Bayanihan” throughout 2020

Utang na Loob - NOT a debt-system but a responsibility for the greater good. It may have a negative connotation but during the pandemic, Filipinos gave the phrase a new meaning as they banded together to support frontliners, students, and other sectors. By enabling their customers to fulfill their sense of responsibility to their respective communities, brands can become a platform for change.


Google Search Trends

Google Search Trends for “sustainability” (2020)

Lakas ng Loob - NOT just strength but thriving in adversity. Refusing to stay down, Filipinos turned to online resources not only to survive but to better themselves in the pandemic. Many pursued upskilling through webinars and online tutorials. There were those who braved the challenges of starting a new business to generate more income for their families. More than just self-promotion through communications, brands must provide avenues for consumers to express their inner strength. 


Bahala Na - NOT fatalism but adding courage through faith. The role of the divine is deeply ingrained in Filipino culture. Some argue that Filipinos rely on the intervention of a higher power (“Bahala na si Lord”) to make things right, shunning responsibility. “Bahala na” is not resignation, rather a final summoning of courage before a certain reckoning point, according to the Enriquez study.


“To remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the times, brands must clearly communicate and act in alignment with these core Filipino values. We are now in the world of prediction and personalization. This is key for a brand to be part of their consumers' lives authentically.” Largoza added.


ThoughtSparkers is a series of insightful and data-driven reports generated by AdSpark’s Intelligence platform. AdSpark Intelligence uses social listening that tracks mentions, comments, and sentiments across the internet; and content consumption which measures what Filipinos are reading and viewing online. Through ThoughtSparkers, AdSpark allows brands to keep in touch with their target audiences.

AdSpark is an advertising technology portfolio company of 917Ventures, the country’s largest corporate venture builder owned by Globe. 


To learn more about how digital transformed the values of the Filipinos, download the full report now.


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