The Big Idea

Customer inspired futures.

A co-created approach to foresight 

We believe that customers are the most inspiring force in business.
Co-creating with customers helps companies uncover latent growth opportunities (and existential threats). As Emily Weiss, founder of $1.8 bn Beauty Industry disruptor, Glossier, said: “our community brings us new ideas we could never have imagined ourselves.” As competition intensifies, it is a strategic imperative to get ahead of customers’ emerging needs and desires. 

C Space’s Arenas Programme is just one of the customer-inspired ways we help our clients explore their competitive landscape and understand what’s next for their brand. Arena Thinking grounds perspectives on the future in durable human truths, allowing us to credibly model the future by focusing on what deeply motivates people and what those motivations can unlock.

Our multi-disciplinary Program includes the very best customer, brand and industry experts, offering a unique view on emerging opportunities and pointing to differentiated strategic advantage. A co-created lens on emerging competition, viewed through the eyes of customers and experts, our Arena Approach puts human motivation at the heart of the competitive landscape. 

Our customer inspired futures highlight opportunities for customer inspired growth. 

 

Conditions for Change

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

Competitive Arenas are defined by the consumer motivation that’s common to them, rather than by category or industry construct. By viewing opportunity and competition through the lens of Arenas, brands can create permission to enter new categories, or get ahead of disruption.

In our Arena Program, we explore evolving customer expectation with consumers and new technology and market trends with experts. We combine these viewpoints to inspire credible market opportunities emerging from these fluid competitive Arenas.

 

Looking for Possibility: Arena Collectives 

Our Arena Collectives are a multi-disciplinary network of 150 customer, brand and storytelling experts from C Space and our sister agency Interbrand. Each Collective is focused on exploring different human motivations, tracking their evolving relationship to culture and technology, and co-creating the commercial opportunities they can inspire.

At the heart of each Collective is a vibrant and thriving online insight community of 504 (extra)ordinary people in China, Germany, India, Japan, UK and the US, with whom we explore these human motivations, desires and needs. Launched in 2020, we’ re on first-name-terms with many of these folk, which means we get deep, we get creative, we share secrets… and sometimes we just talk celebrity crushes. All with the aim of building the kinds of strong relationships that make for richer insight.

Each Collective also works with a group of opinion formers, industry experts, sociologists, psychologists or anthropologists, who help us open the aperture of our thinking and point us to the most relevant technological and cultural trends.

We triangulate these findings to ensure scalability and overlay our brand benchmark data, which we’ve gathered by surveying over 100,000 consumers over 6 years, and which proves that what’s good for customers is good for business.

With these inputs, we co-create credible, differentiated customer-inspired futures that lead to customer inspired growth. To find out more about our approach, get in touch.

Move

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

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”.

Welcome to:
The Move
Arena

Why it matters:

More than just mobility.

The pandemic changed our interaction with the world around us and, in the Move Arena, decisions have become less about “how I get to people, goods, services, and experiences”, and more about “how people, goods, services and experiences get to me” with profound implications for brands in this space. From declining High Streets to remote working, the shifts we observe are registered as much in culture, way of life and livelihood, as they are on the NASDAQ.

Tomorrow, as consumers move less, proximity will matter more (and this is perhaps most true if you’re not a mobility brand). How you move is a chance to be a part of the zeitgeist and a chance to shape relationships with the segments that matter most.

Why? Because how we move is increasingly how we live.

 

Conditions for Change

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

These competitive Arenas are defined by the consumer motivation that’s common to them, than by category or industry construct.  In these landscapes, brands can create permission to enter new categories, or may experience significant disruption.

The Move Arena is usually where new technologies are first applied at scale. Think of driverless EVs, battery tech, AI, robotics, new materials, 5G. Changing customer expectations – sparked and accelerated by the pandemic, social justice and climate crises – mean that every brand must consider proximity to succeed. This means this arena is relevant to a swathe of different kinds of brands – from FMCG to the arts, from fashion to government, and much more.

These dimensions are explored in more detail below.

The Five Consumer Signals Shaping the Move Arena

We before
me

An important functional shift to “self-reliant interdependency”. Individual actions create a greater collective outcome AND a better individual result.

Survival of the simplest

A fight for, and a flight to, simplicity. Toward a more mindful approach to meeting people’s functional and emotional needs. Small wins over big ones.

Humanity in the balance

A new “all in” mindset has risen, where every action, every move, and every moment is lived with conscience and purpose.

Heightened expectation

Moving from consumption to creation, what’s important isn’t “what do I get?” but “what do I create?” by choosing a certain brand.

A radically “new me”

A radical evaluation of how we choose to live combined with radically different ways to move about our daily lives.

A radically ‘new me’

Tesla, AirBnB, Zoom, Blue Origin, Ford F-150 Lightning, same-day shipping, curbside pick, Uber Eats, driving a Ferrara 296 GTB in Fortnite. All of these choices are now radically different than what we had to choose from.

However, the same motivations, the same re-evaluations that drive demand by the affluent are happening at all points along the spectrum of income, for the majority of consumers…it’s just that most brands haven’t caught up to offer radically new experiences to all the people who really want them.

Brands aren’t offering enough radically new experiences to meet the expectations and demands of the radically “new me” emerging.

Commercial Context:
Expert Commentary

Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, United Nations Development Programme

“With 3.6 billion people still unconnected, the majority in developing countries, more investment in the technology sector is required to bridge the digital divide.”

[coming soon]

Toyota is Protoyping a City of the Future

Akio Toyoda, President, Toyota Motor Corporation

“A swarm of different technologies are beginning to radically change how we inhabit and navigate our cities. Connected, autonomous, emission-free and shared mobility solutions are bound to unleash a world of opportunities for new forms of urban life.”

Read more

The Go Anywhere,
Get Anything Brand

Renaldo Chapman, Global Head of Mobility Brand + Masterbrand, Uber

“We offer the ability to go anywhere and get anything. It opens up the category—or at least the competitive set—about how people actually move every day.”

Read more

Driving Innovation

Rita Felder, Director, Mercedes-Benz Brand and Marketing Strategy

“We think and act like a luxury brand. Our goal is to strengthen the long-term emotional connection to our brands by creating a holistic luxury experience across all touch-points of the customer journey.”

Read more

Empathy and Agility in a Changing Landscape

Michael Müller, Director Global Brand Strategy, Customer Insights, Audi

“We are engaged in constant dialogue with our stakeholders, anticipating their needs and responding accordingly. Together with leading brands from a range of industries, Audi initiated the Foresight Academy, a research platform to derive reliable insights into what the consumers of tomorrow desire.”

Read more

On The Road to an All-Electric Future

Mary Barra, Chair and CEO, General Motors

Barra joins the Outside In podcast to talk about GM’s goal to lead the industry into an all-electric future. She also discusses the changes happening within the company, including the technology inside its vehicles, the GM brand, the company’s “work appropriately” culture, and the evolution of its identity from a 20th-century car company to a 21st-century tech company.

Read more

Commercial Context:
Implications

As consumers move less, proximity matters more.

The Move Arena uniquely spans and connects individual choices to collective impact – from declining High Streets, to remote working, all the way a capital city’s reclaimed pedestrian zone.

At a time when individual consumers and businesses strive to make an impact, decisions about movement will make your brand part of wider conversations.

For instance, your local store isn’t just convenience or experience but, perhaps, belonging – the chance to be part of an investment in a community. Customers consistently rate H-E-B, a Texas grocer with little brand recognition outside its footprint, as a top US company*. Why? It considers itself a people business that happens to sell groceries. 

How can your brand replicate that experience?

Especially if you’re not a mobility brand.

Proximity and presence are integral parts of any business model. In the Decade of Possibility, new technology combined with evolving customer expectations (accelerated by the pandemic) presents opportunities for meaningful innovation.

‘Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass’ – the Louvre’s first virtual reality project – uses the latest scientific research on Leonardo da Vinci, his creative processes and his painting techniques. The experience gives you the chance to meet the woman in the painting face-to-face, and is billed as giving audiences a new way to engage with the world’s most famous painting on a more personal level.

Where does what you do meet your customers? How might that change next?

How you move is
an act of
brand leadership.

The way brands move people, goods and services offers a crucial opportunity to change and grow their relationship with customers – from the presence they have in customers’ lives, to the choices they represent.

Your delivery fleet says more about you than your sustainability report. In 2021, Amazon announced an order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian.

And a chance to shape relationships with the constituents that matter.

If moving goods and services is not at the heart of what you do, but is part of your service, look through the Move lens to inspire novel ways of segmenting your customer and employee base.

Provide each segment with an appropriate value exchange and combination of efficiency and closeness.

As an employer, the extent to which your employees move or don’t – through remote, in-person, and hybrid working arrangements – means that your brand’s employee experience will need to be engineered in different ways for different cohorts.

Because how we move is how we live.

Companies competing in the Move Arena are not only helping us move from point A to point B, but they are helping us live.

They are helping us to create new experiences. And providing us new choices. To change the environments in which we live.

And in those changes, they create new ways for consumers to imagine their lives and themselves. Where their new life is a product of how they choose new ways to move through it.

Auto

The opportunity for automotive brands to be more responsible and better integrated into our daily life; to reimagine product as part of a seamless and ecosystemic experience.

Max Raison, Strategy Director, Interbrand

Airline

Reimagining business class travel. The desire for experiential, with robust planning for immersive experiences, should feel exciting for the airline industry – it should create a real platform to differentiate what have become ‘sky coaches’ with passengers crammed into aircraft, to something much more fulfilling, immersive, and better yet, sustainable.

Ben Moncreiffe, Business Director, C Space

Logistics

How hyper-efficiency, convenience and innovative technology will shape the future of logistics.

More than an Invisible Force Shaping the World Around Us? 

Joe Stubbs, VP, Brand and Marketing, Interbrand

What Arena are you really in?

Find out more with a complimentary Arena workshop: a burst of customer inspired futures for your insight, foresight or CX team.

C Space Arenas

Customer Inspired Futures.

In partnership with
Interbrand logo

Play

More than just a battle for attention, Play is the beating heart of a cultural 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 Move is How We Live.