Only the connected thrive

Need to be socially connected is an age old emotional need.  History of human communication is almost 50,000 year old. It has helped mankind spread from Africa to all over the globe. Possibly the drums were the first machines that humans used for communication. Now from pigeons to horseback carriers to electrically modulated sound waves has transformed into mobile phones.

Today the mobile phone as a category is the fastest growing category in the world. Mobile phones are changing the contours of human communication. Already mobile phones have transcended the barriers of personal space and are creating a new form of global brotherhood. May be it’s the mobile phones that is making the world flat and not the computers.

Clearly the mobile culture is moving from margins to mainstream. The adoption of sms, chats and social networking sites are applications that are finding resonance with consumers. Possibly for the first time in human evolution, adoption of technology is outpacing the evolution of technology

The biggest example of this is the incident where a techie live tweeted the attack on Osama hideout, and then in US the news broke first on Twitter than on either network TV or on news websites. This is giving rise to what can be called as ‘Connection Economy’

The Connection Economy is a powerful new force that will redefine the way brands approach consumers and the way consumers engage with brands. There are two powerful trends that define this new Connection Economy. These are “connected life”, “connected identities” . These two are giving rise to what can only be called as “connected markets”

Connected Life is a function of a unique social space that mobile devices create. The fact is that the old cliché of life in your hands is actually true. Peers, family, friends all live together in a virtual space, where the user defines the rules of engagement. This availability of connections on demand creates a sense of joy and gives a sense of huge excitement. It makes every person in the connected space feel far more potent and powerful.

Connected Identities This trend carries contra behavior trend. It has two opposing patterns that define the connected identities. One is the process of individualizing the connection. This includes what can be called the status messages and even customizing phones. The other pattern is evolving common identities. Through common identity the gangs and groups acquire a powerful meaning. This is where the deepest emotions and drivers come alive

Connected Markets is a powerful new driver of business and brands. The connection impacts how the brands connect with consumers and also how consumers connect with brands. Consider this; the group buying deals that are now popular in the virtual space are connected consumers redefining pricing equations.

Again as it has happened with technology where adoption has beaten technology, the connected economy evolution has outpaced the adoption from brands. Our recent research clearly points the gap that exist between what the connected consumers desires from the disconnected brands.

The funny thing is, by the time the brands learn the tricks, consumers would have moved on to a new space. Today its clear, if the brands have to thrive, they have to connect. That is a true challenge

Published in Pitch Magazine, June 2011

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