That was the word that stood out as WorldCity’s 2017 Global Economic Outlook wrapped up Jan. 27, 2017, with a discussion headlined by John Price, managing director of Americas Market Intelligence.
"It's authenticity that millennials are looking for. It’s that authenticity that marketers are trying to struggle with to gravitate and move from traditional media to digital media,” said Price, also using the word to help explain the popularity of non-traditional political candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
Even the rich now seek authenticity in their relations with brands, Price's research has found.
“We studied luxury brands," said Price. "What people in luxury will tell you is the wealthy of this world, who have access to anything they want, what they’re looking for is authenticity.They’ve gone and done the bucket list of the prestigious places to visit around the world, whether it’s Paris or climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan."
"Now," said Price, "they want something authentic. They want to join a trip to Colombia and build a house for the poor. They want to get their hands dirty. Friends of mine, they’re taking their kids and travelling around Asia for the next eight months with a group that basically places them in homes, and they teach English and also do other things. They pay a fee, but instead of staying in nice hotels, they’re staying in people’s homes in Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, and China.”
Economic outlook for Latin America: Brazil growing, Mexico uncertain
Within Latin America this year, Price said he sees promise for economic growth in Brazil, even as Brazil’s judiciary continues to put
the country's political and corporate elite on the stand (with more than 200 jailed to date). Brazil’s government has the strength to create reform, and international capital continues to invest in the nation of 200 million people. Brazil's growth rate likely will beat expectations for the next two years, he said.
In Argentina, Price sees a level of professionalism in the government that he called "astounding." The challenge for 2017 remains whether Argentines will have patience for reforms to take shape, he said.
In Mexico, investments now are on hold because of concern that the new Trump administration may slap import taxes on Mexican goods, renegotiate the NAFTA trade accord and build a wall aimed to keep out Mexican immigrants from the United Sates. Mexico's economic strategy is built on manufacturing, and Price worries that Mexican industry could shrink up to 30 percent.
Elsewhere in the Americas, Price sees energy exporters to the United States suffering in 2017. That's because the United States is moving closer to exporting natural gas reserves that it built up under the Obama administration, he said.
Globalization: Good for most worldwide?
Of course, any discussion of the Global Economic Outlook inevitably touches on the issue of globalization itself.
“The reality is globalization has been good for the world. What’s missing are the humanizing stories,” said Price. He cited a survey that found 85 percent of respondents worldwide said globalization had improved their lives. The 15 percent who said globalization hadn't helped them were the working and middle classes of wealthy countries, who now face greater competition in trade, jobs and more.
Telling those humanizing stories links back to the growing desire for authenticity in 2017 and beyond.