The Age of You began with an age-old truth: people want to be in control of their lives and, specifically, to personally design the life they want to live. And people are using brands to do it, because brands are the vehicles through which things happen.
It’s why we hold brands to such high expectations—for better choices, richer experiences, meaningful narratives, one-on-one attention, new form factors. As data and technology have helped optimize every experience, as GAFA brands (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) have changed the definition of service and connectivity, as people have gained access to greater and more nuanced choices, our expectations have been fundamentally retrained. Brands are now expected to move at the speed of people’s demands—at the speed of their lives.
Brands in micro moments
But to move at the speed of people’s lives, brands have to understand that they are experienced in micro moments. No matter how unified a brand’s ecosystem, no matter how holistic its experience, people’s connections with brands are fragmented—they move from one to the next, interacting with thousands upon thousands a day. But those micro moments are critical, because in each, people judge a brand as a whole—every micro moment is evaluated against significant macro expectations.
That means the most successful brands—the ones with the most presence in a person’s life—are designed to live in moments, even as they scale, try new things, and push boundaries. They often stand out by blending in, because people measure the entire experience by how much it adds to their lives and how little it disrupts it. They empathize with an individual’s priorities, figuring out how to meet people exactly where they are, and when they want it, and tailor to how people move through their worlds.
And that’s how we define mecosystems: a select set of brands that create customized experiences around a single individual, where every brand in consideration slots in seamlessly, and where the most valuable micro moments are curated, connected, and choreographed. As people shape their mecosystems—as they explore and, just as importantly, edit—they are constantly being redefined, meaning that brands need to earn the right to stay in this set every minute of every day.
So how does a brand earn a lasting role in this all-important mecosystem? By anticipating and evolving along with people’s personal expectations. Droves of digital data, refined analytics, and real-time, multi-platform interactions help brands discover what people want—even before they do—and cater to them quickly, reorganizing around these insights, because, in the Age of You, people are the bottom line.
Business moving at the speed of life
For brands to truly move at the speed of life, it means completely rethinking what speed means within an enterprise. It’s not about forward movement, but holistic evolution. It means understanding that data is not just about insight, but a marketable commodity that will change the definition of trading. It’s running highly focused and integrated businesses that explore and attract unexpected partnerships, seamlessly crossing existing and emerging platforms. It’s elevating design as the most valuable enterprise tool to build truly connected experiences. And it’s engaging with a new breed of customers and consumers that are more than just co-creators, but editors and producers.
As businesses adapt to this new age, as mecosystems give people greater opportunity to design their lives, we start to see an interesting white space emerge. People can use their mecosystem to reimagine their time, how they spend it, and how that makes room for the pursuit of their passions. What brands can help people imagine—and make real—with this time is what will ultimately shape and define this new age. And this is what has the potential to make the Age of You the most creatively satisfying of all our times.