Can the world’s biggest brands survive
the web’s next big evolution?

Everything Connect

Why it matters:

Humans will experience 20,000 years’ of technological advancement in the next 100 years. Changes that once took decades could now take months, driving a revolution in the ways people Connect to the world around them. What does this mean for brands?
Everything.

The brands that compete to connect consumers do so in a context of near-constant and accelerating technological transformation, and a shifting cultural landscape. The proliferation of ways to Connect – whether 5G, IoT, Mixed Reality, Metaverse <insert your own buzzword here> – combined with ongoing debates about the opportunity for, and impact of, technology on society, on work, on the home, and on the self, are driving rapid evolutions in customer expectation. And all of this makes relevance a rapidly moving target for brands.

As new technologies proliferate, Connect brands tend to focus innovation, communication, or product design around the function of connectivity, rather than the intellectual, emotional or spiritual reward that human connection can unlock. Yet C Space data shows that in the Connect Arena it’s the human connection, rather than functional connectivity, that holds the key to enduring relevance. Our analysis also shows that consumers are least likely to find deeper human connection from brands in the business of Connect, creating a risk to their relevance.

So what makes one connection better than another?
And what does this say about how to stay ahead?

Connect Arena, Full Report:

Everything Connect

Competition comes from unexpected players

The intersection of emerging technologies and evolving customer expectation creates a fluid competitive landscape, which world-leading academic Rita McGrath has called an Arena.

These competitive Arenas are defined by the consumer motivation that’s common to them, rather than by category or industry construct. In these landscapes, brands can increase relevance to enter new categories or may experience a risk to relevance as new brands enter their space.

In the Connect Arena, the mightiest of brands compete – in a state of near-permanent transformation – to be the primary point of connection between people, between things, and between people and things.

Conditions for Change

Rapidly
Emerging
Technologies

Connect
Arena

Evolving
Customer
Expectation

Next-Gen automation & virtualization
Next-Gen Connectivity
Next-Gen Programming
Applied AI
Distributed infrastructure
Trust Architecture

A fluid, emerging competitive landscape of brands that compete to Connect people to each other, and to the world around them.

Searching for a Mother
Connectivity as a Human Right
Seeking Pro-Social Connections
Warmth in Connection
Positive Human Energy

McKinsey Top Tech Trends

Q, AI-powered cultural intelligence platform that collects signals from over 6,000 global data sources across 140+ countries in 16 languages. 

C Space Primary Research with 504 consumers from 5 global markets in an online community and through co-creation.

Interviews with technology, consumer
and branding experts.

COMMERCIAL ANALYSIS

Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon dominate in Connect: these five companies have a combined brand value of $1.16bn – just over 40% of the total value of the top 100 Best Global Brands.1 The cumulative brand value of just these five businesses today is five times greater than the whole technology and connection sector 20 years ago.2

Extraordinary Value

$56,858M

vs

$15,512M

Connect brand are on average 72% more valuable than others

Fastest Risers

14%

vs

9%

Average brand value growth of Connect brands compared to all other brands, YOY

Biggest Players

$1,535,162M

vs

$1,132,362M

Total brand value of the 27 Connect brands vs all other Top 100 brands in total

Outsized Growth

20%

vs

8%

Total brand value change for Connect brands vs any other brand

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world in which Connect brands don’t dominate. And yet… closer inspection of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands data tells a different story. The Connect Arena is also the most volatile, with every new wave of technological transformation, winners and losers are created.

Once upon a time life without your Blackberry or Nokia was unimaginable. Now? Not so much.

Winners and losers are created as technology evolves. An analysis of Best Global Brands data demonstrates the risk to brand in a transition of digital infrastructure. As Web 1.0 evolved to Web 2.0 – these behemoth brands exited Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 100 Ranking. What will happen as the world transitions to Web 3?

$6067m
Highest Brand Value

#55
Highest BGB Ranking

Dropped from Top 100 brands list:
2012

$4495m
Highest Brand Value

#58
Highest BGB Ranking

Dropped from Top 100 brands list:
2004

$35942m
Highest Brand Value

#5
Highest BGB Ranking

Dropped from Top 100 brands list:
2015

$13231m
Highest Brand Value

#21
Highest BGB Ranking

Dropped from Top 100 brands list:
2013

$6779m
Highest Brand Value

#62
Highest BGB Ranking

Dropped from Top 100 brands list:
2017

Now, as new technologies, new capabilities, new experiences create an evolution in customer expectation, and the conditions for change are set once again, the question becomes, ‘how can a brand create enduring relevance in a context of transformation?’

1 Interbrand’s Best Global Brands
2 Interbrand’s Best Global Brands

Customer Analysis

From Captive to Captivated: Why the brands in the business of connection are getting it wrong

When we tick off the business categories whose primary purpose is to Connect people and things, we tend to think about digital communications – telecommunications, technology, and social media firms. But the companies that customers feel are most effective at fostering interaction do not deliver connection as a part of their core offer. Starbucks, pioneers of the “third place” in which people connect, is considered a restaurant. Air BnB, with its unique offering of peer-to-peer accommodations and interactions, is generally thought of as a hospitality company. We consider Peloton a manufacturer of fitness equipment, but it’s the interaction among cyclists and coaches that give the product its stickiness and appeal.

Which companies in the business of connection are doing well, and why? And what can these firms learn from businesses for whom interaction is a means to a different end?

To answer these questions, we have mapped the underlying codes that drive relevance. These codes contain traditional measures of product/service quality and customer experience measures that analyse the emotional rewards people gain from their relationship with a given company. Validated by six years of research with over 100,000 customers, companies that deliver against these relevance criteria achieve improved loyalty and growth.

Expert Perspectives

Lucia Komljen, Former Insight and Innovation Strategy Director, Telefonica

Sylvie Verbruggen, Managing Director, Consumer Strategy, Liberty Global

Tobin Richardson, CEO, Connectivity Standards Alliance

Michelle Crossan-Matos SVP, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Samsung Electronics America

Chris Nurko, Chief Innovation Officer, Interbrand Group

Opportunity

Positive Human Energy: A New Model for Human Connection

At the heart of our Arenas programme, is a vibrant online community of 504 (extra) ordinary people from China, Germany, India, Japan, UK and the US.
Having worked with this community since 2020, we’re on first-name terms with many of these folks, which means we get deep, we get creative, we share secrets… and sometimes we just talk celebrity crushes. But it’s all in service of building the kinds of strong relationships that make for more generative insight and more relevant brands.
To develop this new model, we brought together our community #IRL and experts in a series of Sprints where we journeyed through the past, present and future of our technology-backed connections. From when we were first “WOW’d” by a piece of tech to imaging an “ideal connected world of the future,” we generated a slew of new insights and ideas.

Other
C Space Arenas

Customer Inspired Futures.

In partnership with

Play

More than just a battle for attention, Play is the beating heart of acultural revolution. 

Express

More than how we make ourselves look good, Express is a renaissance of “me”.

Move

More than simply how we get from ‘A’ to ‘B’, how we live is how we move.

Connect

More than just connectivity, Connect is about the human truths driving our desire to connect.