The latest from Cabaret’s cultural commentators (this edition: UK, Germany, Italy, China, Korea)


Trend 1. UNTACT is replacing CONTACT


We’re spending more time with technology and less time interacting with one another

Consumers have increasingly less practical need for face-to-face interaction – instead of CONTACT they’re opting for UNTACT.

UNTACT opportunities are embraced as technology replaces humans. We’re seeing ever more QR codes, phone payments, and even unmanned stores and coffee shops.  Young consumers in particular are avoiding human interactions, preferring to communicate via text and image.  The nature of our transactions have also changed, for example, we have a different (arguably less ‘human’) relationship with an Uber driver booked online vs a London cab driver

SO WHAT? Brands need to think in terms of UNTACT rather than CONTACT.  How can brands win? What might they lose? And how can they strike the right tone to build positive relationships


Trend 2. Consumers are finding their tribes


You are special and you are not alone!!

Whilst on one hand technology is reducing face-to-face interaction and opportunities for relationship fulfilment . . .

. . . At the same time, technology is enabling people to link up with others with similar and very specific special interests – often technology driven interests, but also more idiosyncratic past-times such as photography at night, remodelling bicycles, lego play etc

SO WHAT? Brands can facilitate connections and micro communities and encourage development of content and innovation


Trend 3. An explosion in self-monitoring


We are more enabled to monitor ourselves than ever before

Devices and apps are becoming more holistic and lifestyle oriented

They’ve evolved from general activity tracking to health (sleep, weight, breathing, screen time & mindfulness), to wider lifestyle and values based tracking (kilometres driven, miles flown, number of songs listened to etc)

And now monitoring is extending into the realms of Bio-hacking with new health innovations e.g. swallowable devices monitoring gut bacteria

SO WHAT? Frequent brand touchpoints & a sense of empowerment makes self-monitoring an exciting way for brands to develop a strong consumer connection


Trend 4. Consumers are increasingly motivated by purpose, autonomy & mastery


Consumers don’t want to ‘work for the man’

They want more meaning from life than just profit.  Personal wealth doesn’t lead to happiness.

It’s simple Motivation Theory (ref Daniel Pink) –  satisfaction comes from purpose, autonomy and mastery.

We see this played out in consumers increasingly getting on board with ethical brands – this is just one way in which they can bring more meaning and purpose to their lives.

SO WHAT?  Successful brands are developing richly empathetic relationships by facilitating purpose, autonomy & mastery


Trend 5. Personalisation is ever more key


Personalisation for individualism and self expression

Personalisation is a long running trend, but is now even more enabled & increasingly important.  Consumers want to be a part of the creation process and have something that expresses their uniqueness.  It’s especially relevant as China becomes ever more individualistic – as evidenced as WeChat users create their own “selfie stickers”  and Wei Quan allows personalised labels for its juice bottles.

Personalisation for enhancing benefits

Brands are enhancing their relevance with consumers by empowering them to tailor to their exact requirements.  For example, Schwarzkopf Professional’s SalonLabsystem, enables customised salon products based on an individual hair analysis.

Personalisation to redress the consumer / brand power balance

Faced with enormously powerful brands, personalisation gives consumers more control in the consumer / brand relationship.  And it’s a way to maintain more of a sense of individuation in a globalised world.

SO WHAT?  Personalisation brings powerful, deep, functional and emotional benefits – keep exploring the opportunities for strong brand empathy