By

Kelly Mooney, Chief Experience Officer, IBM iX North America. Published on February 12, 2018.

When IBM iX embarked on a global study of belonging and brands last year, we were spurred on by a chorus of commentators alarmed at our growing isolation and social anxiety. Authors as diverse as Yuval Levin and Sebastian Junger are writing about the national consequences of our disunity and its causes, from nostalgia to an incomplete understanding of modernity.

At least one government is addressing loneliness as a public health crisis: U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed a Minister of Loneliness.

CEOs are writing social cohesion into their companies’ purpose: Airbnb and Starbucks have explicitly made “belonging” central to their brand purpose. Tech giants are grappling with “the cultural issue of the next half century”—how we live with technology without eroding our humanity.

Facebook replaced their former, outcome-neutral mission, “to make the world more connected and open,” with the more civic-minded “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” As marketing moves ever closer to markets of one, we discovered something rather counter intuitive: that 39% of the brand behavioral imperatives that matter to consumers and improve business performance are collective in nature. Read more from adage.com…

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