This article was originally published in Marketing News.
Written by J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman, Kantar Futures

Sept. 1, 2017

Forward-looking brands can get ahead by transacting in the economy of the future: social connections
There is a consensus among pundits of all stripes that the U.S. is falling apart at the seams. It is said that the country is more divided, more polarized, more fragmented, more disconnected than ever.

This is wrong.

In fact, America has never been more connected than it is today. People are more networked, more engaged, more joined up. The trend is more, not less, connection; more, not less, unification; more, not fewer, social ties.

This trend is easy to miss, though. It is assumed that social connection looks something like the days of Norman Rockwell or the halcyon decade of Congressional bipartisanship in the 1950s. With nothing like this in sight, the reflexive conclusion is that social connection is ebbing. However, the kind of connection on the rise today is different and thus hiding in plain sight.

The social connection that characterizes the U.S. today is not community in the conventional sense. Instead, it is better thought of as kinship. It is many smaller worlds. Though it is not community of a traditional sort, it is connection nonetheless.

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