The Globe as you know it is changing.
Coming June 2019

  • More thought-provoking stories that inspire
  • Independent, free and member-supported
  • Vote for, pitch and commission stories
  • Member engagement with our journalists

To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

What makes us buy the things we don’t need?

By: David Hutt - Posted on: March 31, 2016 | Business

From supermarket sound systems to advertising and branding, consumer psychology shapes our shopping habits. Focus Asean explores the history of the science

In 1999, a group of psychologists from the University of Leicester, UK, took over the tannoy system of an unassuming, suburban supermarket for a two-week period. On alternate days they played French and German music, and counted how many bottles of French- and German-branded wine were sold.Screen-Shot-2016-03-31-at-1.59

After crunching the numbers, they discovered that on the days French music was playing, French wine outsold the German bottles by a ratio of five to one. On the days that German music was playing, German wine outsold the French selection. Most shoppers had not even been aware that specific music was playing. It was their subconscious that led to their purchases. It was pure consumer psychology.

The history of consumer psychology is long and complex, but one can trace its early manifestations to an Easter parade held in New York City in 1929. As bands and revellers marched through the Big Apple, a dozen or so women stood on a busy sidewalk, smoking cigarettes. This may seem innocuous today, but at the time it was a taboo act. Women were only supposed to smoke within the confines of their homes.

A number of photographers were on hand to snap the women in this ‘indecent’ act, and the images appeared the next day in newspapers across the US. The women, emboldened, said they were not smoking cigarettes but “torches of freedom” – it was a feminist act. The New York Times went with the headline: “Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of ‘Freedom’”. The impact was startling. In 1923, less than 5% of cigarettes sold in the US were purchased by women. By 1935, this had risen to 18%.

This was, however, no grassroots act but a well-crafted publicity campaign formulated by Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and the so-called ‘father of public relations’. The Austrian-American had been hired by the American Tobacco Company to promote female smoking. The event had been his creation. He paid female models to smoke and the photographers to capture the act on film. He then sent the photographs to the media. He was carefully using the growing consciousness of increasing rights for women and female expression in order to emotionally change public opinion and habits.

In 1928, Bernays published his seminal book, Propaganda.

consumer
Originator: Edward Bernays, the PR guru, in 1981. Photo: AP/Jacksonville Times-Union/Bob Self

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government,” he wrote. “In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons… who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

Bernays’s beliefs in how to manipulate the masses were rooted in the ideas of his uncle, Freud, whose work popularised the idea that people are governed subconscious and irrational thoughts. Bernays pioneered the idea that a few powerful people could psychologically manipulate and tap into the values of the masses – an integral part of modern-day consumer psychology.

It was another Austrian-American and adherent of Freud who turned these ideas to the world of advertising: Ernest Dichter. He understood the irrational and emotional ways people act as consumers.

“What people actually spend their money on in most instances are psychological differences, illusory brand images,” he wrote in his 1960 book, The Strategy of Desire. “You would be amazed to find how often we mislead ourselves, regardless of how smart we think we are, when we attempt to explain why we are behaving the way we do.”

Between the 1930s and 1960s, Dichter was hired by some of the world’s largest corporations to take over the advertising campaigns for failing products. One of his first jobs was with the Compton Advertising Agency, helping it to promote a brand of ivory soap that was not selling well. Instead of using standard questionnaires, which merely asked the public why they bought certain brands of soap, he turned to psychoanalysis as a way of understanding consumer behaviour.

According to a 2011 profile of Dichter’s lifework, published in the Economist, through extended interviews – that verged on therapy – he discovered that “bathing was a ritual that afforded rare moments of personal indulgence, particularly before a romantic date… He discerned an erotic element to bathing, observing that ‘one of the few occasions when the puritanical American [is] allowed to caress himself or herself [is] while applying soap’.”

As to the question of why a consumer purchased one brand of soap instead of another, Dichter reasoned that it was because of the ‘personality’ of the soap. A brand of soap could be old and conservative, or young and sexy. “Dichter understood that every product has an image, even a ‘soul’, and is bought not merely for the purpose it serves but for the values it seems to embody. Our possessions are extensions of our own personalities, which serve as a ‘kind of mirror which reflects our own image’,” the Economist article added.

Time magazine once described Dichter as “the first to apply to advertising the really scientific psychology” that understood peoples’ “hidden desires and urges”.

Today, consumer psychology is so ubiquitous that few shoppers or consumers will ever realise that their desires are carefully being tugged by the emotional strings of academics and theoreticians.

Next time you go to the supermarket, take a moment to think about why certain products are placed on certain shelves (eye-level display for expensive goods, while the cheaper goes lower down) and why you decide to purchase one brand of soap or shampoo over another.

Keep reading:
Bespoke rules as consumers turn away from mass production” – Consumers are moving from identikit items to customised creations in a megatrend that strategists have dubbed the “youniverse”