Each week we’re sharing one of the 16 fundamental drivers of opportunity in our Accelerate model.

This week… Stronger RELATIONSHIPS

We all know there is a fundamental human need to connect with other people and create rich and emotional bonds. Life is richer when we spend time together, but trends in society and technology can often weaken rather than encourage these bonds, leaving us feeling separated us from family, friends community. We appear closer than ever before, yet we grow apart, with political polarity, alienation and depression on the rise. There is an opportunity for brands to help people create stronger bonds with each other across communities, families and generations.


This could be simply about encouraging care, empathy and respect when interacting with others. Perhaps it’s about creating a shared community of social belonging – or building bridges between the old and the young. Creating stronger bonds can take many shapes and forms.


From a cultural perspective the RELATIONSHIPS driver has seen radical changes in recent years. There is a growing fascination with heritage and the desire to belong. The boundaries between friends/employers/landlords have also blurred with the emergence of peer-to-peer sharing economy platforms. While also on the rise are nationalism and populist politics, rooted in a shared sense of community and connection.


Brands that exploit the relationships driver include 23&Me (along with other ‘ancestry’ companies), Uber (and any other platform that relies on ‘feedback’), Nintendo’s recent collaborative gaming platforms, dating apps and – at least with their commercials – Facebook (attempting to stymie the growing acceptance that social media paradoxically drives us apart).


We’ve also explored the human psychology of the RELATIONSHIPS driver. This suggests there is an opportunity for brands to tap into the powerful forces that drive us to engage and empathise with other people; The primal instinct that drives us to connect and draws us together to simply survive and thrive. The sense of comfort we get from being with others and sharing experiences. The need to belong and feel part of something and have shared experiences. The way that connecting with others enriches our emotional lives. And the ability to feel empathy and see the world from another’s point of view.  


Most brands engage with families, groups, tribes or communities in one way or another. But we consistently see a significant gap between the power of relationships that people experience and aspire to in their day to day lives and the role products, services and brands currently play in creating meaningful bonds in their lives. This means RELATIONSHIPS continues to be a big driver of opportunity going forward.


Follow this link to read more about our Accelerate model and the 16 human drivers of opportunity


Next week: Responsibility

Marc Cohen

Written by Marc Cohen

Successful entrepreneur and executive within market research, data and subscription/SaaS businesses, including venture-capital backed companies. I have built and led a number of market-leading products and consultative research companies, and led several successful exits. I have worked and lived in UK, US, continental Europe and Asia.