Well-Being//

Rediscovering and Reinventing JOMO

Forced into curtailing activity, lockdown life has helped to reframe what is essential.

Photo by Ena Marinkovic/ Pexels
Photo by Ena Marinkovic/ Pexels

Your window is your frame’, was the nudge I received to share this. Despite several questions, challenges and uncertainties that remain, many are striving to view the present time from a different frame.

A frame, that is of a much championed mega trend, JOMO—joy of missing out. There is growing evidence, across reports and frequent anecdotes, that JOMO is being expressed in small but meaningful ways at work (wellness support, live and recorded music, upskilling and training). How is it even possible to embrace JOMO some might frown? Others might ask how is it possible not to, with a shrug? So what is JOMO again, and why does it matter? Here is a refresher.

What is JOMO after all

JOMO is related to an active search for joy in life. It rhymes with the earlier, now fading, trend of FOMO (fear of missing out) but the similarity ends there. FOMO, to a large extent, was born out of not wanting to be left behind in any way. JOMO, on the other hand, is associated with making meaningful choices in life, and letting go of forced, routine or rushed choices.

The right ingredients

Possibly the first question in people’s minds is: how does one actually live a JOMO life, it sounds great, is it practical? How does one make more joyful choices, when in the past, one has made forced or fearful ones? How does one create the boundaries one desires for even one day? How and where does one find role models who are able to get away with ‘missing out’? Providing us a glimpse of rich possibilities, many brands help people ‘disconnect to reconnect’.

So how to embrace JOMO? The Times Top Ten Best Seller titled The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well is based on research from The Happiness Research Institute, an independent think tank exploring causes and effects of human happiness globally. (Incidentally, Denmark ranks among the happiest countries of the world). The Hygge Manifesto, spells out practical steps like Atmosphere (more lamps); Presence (turn off phones); Harmony (we already like you, no need to brag).

Advertising JOMO!

Personal care brands would seem naturally the closest to embrace JOMO. A 2018 Wunderman Thompson Report mentioned ‘sound baths’ which are available in Mumbai! With advertisements like “Restoration Sundays: come chill out this Sunday with a relaxing sound bath meditation. We use Himalayan singing bowls + Solfeggio Tuned Healing Pipes”

Events epitomise FOMO. However, there are innovative events that operate on the opposite principle. At an un-conference, there are no speakers and no agenda, just participants, hosting several discussions in parallel. Every one’s experience is unique and based on what is most meaningful to them.

For employer brands, JOMO expressions help immensely with talent. For instance, #otherme programmes officially encourage employees to pursue what gives them joy and meaning outside their work responsibilities. This includes extra days of leave, public #otherme profiles, passions, hobbies and /or social causes. That this programme, and others like it, helped firms awards for talent, signals JOMO-based employee ideas work.

JOMO is guilt free and full of joy

Several years ago, for an iconic global chocolate advertisement, the team working on the brand, realised something profound. People generally know breaks are good, but often feel guilty about taking them. The creative brief was to champion the benefits of a break. The campaign spoke about the sad salmon. How this fish swims upstream, it never stops, it never rests, it battles its way upstream. It reaches its goal and then… it dies. It emphatically concluded “Remember you are not a salmon. Have a break, have a…”. The response was record breaking sales, with one viewer nominating the chocolate for a Nobel Peace Prize!

What’s your JOMO

Happily, the modern day JOMO consumer mega trend is more about joy and meaning, less about guilt or just intellectually knowing something but not acting on it. Hence, across diverse spaces like thought leadership, personal care and employment, to mention a few, brands are creating unique JOMO concepts for their category. So, have a break from FOMO thinking, and joyfully, in isolation, ponder “What’s my JOMO concept?”


(This is an updated version of the article that appeared in Brand Equity dated 3 April 2019)

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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