Is the marketing industry helping Singapore become a kinder nation?

Singapore Kindness Movement has released a report which says that "The Gracious Index of Singaporeans" is on the rise.

The Graciousness Index is an annual study commissioned by the Singapore Kindness Movement to track experience and perceptions of kindness and graciousness in Singapore. Over a six-week period representative sample of 1,850 respondents was asked to share their experiences and perceptions of graciousness in Singapore.

There was a marked increase in optimism, with 44% of respondents indicating that graciousness in Singapore had improved, compared to just 28% last year.

Meanwhile, the marketing industry in recent times have seen a marked increase in campaigns encouraging social good and neighbourliness. Just last month, Nescafe launched a new campaign to promote "neighbourliness" and bring back the "kampong spirit" which has brought Singaporeans together.

Meanwhile, biscuit brand Julie’s also launched The Best of You movement in June 2014 where the public could submit their personal stories of people, things, or experiences that have brought out the best in them. POSB is also encouraging heartlanders in Singapore to share success stories of their neighbours and celebrate local neighbourhoods.

So, has the marketing community been a factor in the rise of neighbourliness in the community?

William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement said that the organisation is very “encouraged by the initiative and creativity of these campaigns.” Wan added that the positivity and need for interaction displayed in these recent campaigns have shown the public that there are many ways to inspire social good.

He added that while there may be detractors to this line of thought, the marketing industry has the power to bring good causes to higher societal awareness, reducing apathy and hopefully motivating people to take ownership of the issues themselves.

“A keen understanding of marketing insights and what motivates audiences, as we all know, are prerequisites to getting awareness and driving action,” said Wan. Meanwhile the fact that these campaigns were driven by corporate entities was also lauded by Wan and his team. This is because SKM strongly believes that employers and the corporate sector in general have an important role to play in shaping their surroundings.

“These independent campaigns have had an effect on their own audiences, inspiring them to action towards more pro-social attitudes and behaviours […] What is shared on the media does also helps shape our perception of our society. So when we read and hear more about ordinary people doing altruistic and gracious things on a day-to-day basis, as well as of many organisations carrying out pro-social campaigns, we are naturally more encouraged about the extent of graciousness in our society,” said Wan.

Meanwhile, SKM too has relied on its own marketing tactics to help promote gracious behaviour. For the past two years, SKM has relayed the theme "A Nation of Kindness Starts with One" through its various marketing communications and events.

Wan added however this is still a work in progress.

This year on 29 May, SKM will celebrate the third Kindness Day SG. Pushing the idea of owning your own behavior to spread kindness, SKM decided to set up an interactive exhibition themed "Imagi-Nation" at *SCAPE Playspace. Visitors will then be taken through a journey that invites introspection, to reflect on the choices that each of us can make, which adds to the collective determination of the kind of society we have and live in.

Here’s a sneak peak on what the visitors will be treated to:

Wan added that the overall “increase in positive perceptions and overall sense of improvement is encouraging. If we as a nation continue this positive trend, then kindness and graciousness can become part of our norms and national identity.”