If you are struggling to keep up these days, that’s in part because so many emerging parts of life are too new to be classified. It’s hard to talk about things that you feel when you don’t know where a feeling ends or begins, or where the confines of a concept lie. Life is often an undefined blob floating between other undefined blobs. Our tendency to want to make sense of everything – to classify and understand – is a product of living forever in these blobs. Add in technological change and increase the ways we express ourselves and when we make progress in defining the blobs, more and more blobs appear.
At the core of all of this: technology is changing the very concept of self. The ways in which we identify ourselves are multiplying as we try to stand out as individuals yet fit into groups – at the same time. This contradiction requires constant adaptation. Idle identities are stale. Newness and uniqueness are traits we seek adamantly, to fit in with trendy groups until that group gets to big and we jump to the next thing before we get caught looking or consuming like everyone else.
Fortunately the folks at The Sprout Studio in Paris have sat down to make sense of all of this and they have come up with the concept of Identity Morphing. Identity morphing explains the tension between the need to be unique yet part of something. People need to feel safe to confirm and express their differences in order to be perceived as unique, while still being in a space that is secure enough to do this. They also argue that there is essentially no way to predict what people will do since they will pick and choose aspects of things they like to create entirely new combinations of tastes and flavors. This is creativity unleashed on the self.
And brands can either hop on or surrender. Being in control means missing out on how people will channel your brand through their individuality. Brands instead should offer tools to build custom experiences (and products) that they never could have provided without the explicit effort of their customers.
A fascinating, philosophical read full of new buzzwords that will certainly break onto the scene over the coming years. Read the full report here.
I also highly recommend checking out The Sprout Studio website for more thought-provoking insights.