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Word on the Future

January 2020 | ~ 3 min read

Welcome to the 16th edition of Word on the Future. Thank you for being here with us.
Keywords: organic marketing; customer trust; personalization; WordCamp Asia
Five years back, when I co-organized WordCamp Switzerland and it was time to design the Swiss edition of the WordPress ‘Wapuu’, we were excited to honor its Japanese origin. As a result, the design of ‘Swiss Army Knife Wapuu’ would draw heavy inspiration from ‘Mecha Wapuu’, mascot of WordCamp Tokyo the year before, which itself was inspired by the Mecha character from the Gundam series. I still meet people all over Europe wearing their Swiss Wapuu t-shirt, telling me it’s one of their favorites to this day.

Wapuus are quite a special breed of mascots. Hailing from Asia and open-sourced since day one, they’ve conquered the hearts and swag tables of local WordPress communities around the world within just a few years. People from all walks of life, cultures, languages, ages, genders, and beliefs that otherwise couldn’t be more diverse are obsessed about its countless and varied appearances.

I couldn’t help but think of Wapuu as a powerful example of authentic, organic, community-driven marketing when I read Samuel Scott earlier this month, arguing that ‘personalisation will be 2020’s most overhyped marketing practice’ and that ‘people want personalised products but not personalised and targeted marcom’. I tend to agree with Scott in so far that tracking user data to provide personalized digital experiences obviously requires user consent, otherwise people will rightfully take offense, and your preciously carved-out, personalized customer journey will look like a deserted swag table: tons of product and no one there to grab it.

Thinking of personalization as a means to an end, actually feels sort of backwards to me; it almost seems an end in itself, and the means to getting there is measurable customer trust in the form of zero-party data.
If people don’t trust you enough to ‘let you in’ (i.e. enable zero-party tracking on their device), what’s the point trying to slip personalization under their door? On the other hand, there is a myriad of ways to grow an authentic brand, earn trust, and iterate on personalization once your customers are ready for it.

In a few weeks from today, Wapuu will make its entrance to yet another big stage within the WordPress ecosystem, at the first WordCamp Asia. Representing communities from all over the Asia region, ‘Tuk-tuk Wapuu’, created by Japanese designer Chiaki Kouno, pictures no less than three Wapuus (‘to create a sense of chaos’) ‘representing knowledge sharing, social activities, [and] liveliness’ – the WordCamp spirit in a nutshell.

P.S.: Are you attending WordCamp Asia yourself? The team and I would love to meet you, just hit reply and let me know!
Until next time!
Noel Tock
Partner and CGO at Human Made

Meet us: We’ll be at WordCamp Asia from February 21 to 23, presenting about the WordPress REST API, WordPress beyond borders, growing enterprise-ready engineers, and selling WordPress to enterprise in Asia. Get to know the co-organisers and speakers on our team!

Read: We released Altis 3 a few weeks ago, bringing greater extensibility, hardened security, and enhanced developer experience to our modular WordPress DXP. Find out about all the new features in the release notes!

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January 2020 contributions from: Ana Silva, Camila Villegas, Caspar Hübinger

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