Malcolm Gladwell explains what makes the new generation tick

How are people interacting with the world today?

Renowned Canadian writer and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, as keynote speaker of SM Supermalls’ Tenant-Partners Summit held on Monday, 4 September, posed this question to explain how retailers may reach the younger market.

Malcolm Gladwell (Photo by Dinah S. Ventura)

“People in the past recognized a hierarchy,” he said. When it comes to engaging the youth in the previous generations, there was always a “leader, an ideology and strategy.”

Social movement in the social media age had radically changed things so that mass participation is no longer ruled by the same concept.

Nowadays, it’s about people connecting on social media and showing up for some kind of protest or participation.

“My generation’s default was the hierarchy,” said Gladwell, who just turned another year older the day before the event held at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

“The new generation’s default is the network,” he added. “I don’t think a hierarchy or a network is better or worse. What we need is to understand.”

In celebration of SM’s 65th anniversary, Gladwell visited Manila along with Emma Chiu, global director of Wunderman Thompson, a creative agency.

Gladwell, as information in the SM website states, “is known for his skills in simplifying complex concepts and making them appealing, engaging and accessible.” He is recognized for his New York Times bestsellers: “Outliers,” “The Tipping Point,” “Blink”, and “What the Dog Saw.”

Chiu, meanwhile, “takes charge of producing thought-leadership macro trend reports, including the popular almanac, ‘The Future 100.’”

Currently operating 83 malls in the Philippines and seven malls in China, SM Supermalls aims to have 100 malls by 2026, a feat they see possible with partnerships with “the world’s best retailers,” among other factors including engaging today’s diverse market.