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The Best Brands Are The Ones That Build "Belonging"

Connected But Alone

Social isolation may be the leading problem of our era.

  • 89% of people used a cell phone during their last social interaction. 82% felt it degraded the conversation.
  • 40% of Americans identify as lonely; up from 1 in 10 in the 1970s.
  • One in four Americans have no trusted confidante; up from 1 in 10 in 1985.
  • Less than half of American kids live in a traditional family home.
  • There’s been a 40% decline in standard measures of empathy since the 1990s.
  • There’s been a 24% rise in suicides between 1999 and 2014.
  • Only about half of Americans trust their neighbors.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Best Brands Are The Ones That Build "Belonging"

The Best Brands Are The Ones That Build "Belonging"

https://www.fastcompany.com/40530846/the-best-brands-are-the-ones-that-build-belonging

fastcompany.com

6

Key Ideas

A Crisis of "Belonging"

In previous eras, people used to gather around a faith group, neighborhood association, or trade union.

However, the crisis of social isolation has created a vacuum that commercial, for-profit brands are stepping in to fill.

Tribal Connections

Technology is part of the problem of disconnection, as we're replacing deep, emotion-driving in-person relationships with superficial online relationships.

Another cause is the decline of participation in organized religions that were traditionally responsible for weaving social fabric. Reweaving the social fabric is vital to the individual as well as collectively.

How We Gather

Some for-profit brands are identifying the opportunity for stepping into the cultural need and market opportunity for more in-depth, real-world person-to-person connections.

Those companies that help us forge meaningful connections will win deep loyalty. If belonging can be built around apparel and technology companies, surely it can be built around learning, parenthood, food, and health.

How Brands Can Build Belonging

Most brand-led community building focuses on people loosely aggregated around a brand, where the brand is the hero, and the people mostly interact with the brand.

What is needed are initiatives that enhance belonging with real connection. Brands should create spaces, experiences, products, and services that deliberately foster the conditions for diverse people coming together in respectful environments for shared experiences.

Principles of building belonging

  • Make contact with people you disagree with.
  • Share collective joy and pain.
  • Speak up politely when you disagree.
  • Embrace the paradox. Those with a strong sense of belonging often demonstrate a mix of traits, such as the courage to stand alone, while also being engaged in a group.

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