4 Key Drivers Defining Mobility Trends

11 Dec 2012|pompei de warrensc

If like the billions of people who watched the fantastic Olympic Games organized in London this Summer you must have noticed that Oscar Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men’s 400 metres race and was part of South Africa’s 4 × 400 metres relay team. Even though Pistorius, nicknamed “the Blade Runner” due to the prostheses he puts on to run, didn’t make it to the 400 metres final, crowds cheered for him from all around the world, appreciating his effort.

But he is not the only one. We are already heavily augmenting our bodies and we don’t realize quite how reliant we have become. Our phones navigate for us and structure our lives so we don’t have to. We monitor and enhance our bodies too. Soon even cars will be part of our bodies, controlled by our very thoughts.

What are the next steps? Is there any limitation in our endless quest of empowerment?

Beside our incredible desire for multi-dimensional mobility, our fascination for constant change and evolution … human beings are more than ever inclined to truth and authenticity. That’s what we called the tensions of the Meta Mobility era. Consumers are constantly stretched and they constantly switch between hyper mobility (Change, Anywhere, Outer Centricity and Seamlessness) and focus (Stability, Somewhere, inner centricity and Experience).

In this context, it becomes more difficult for brands to catch their attention.

From tensions to opportunities: how to mobilize brands considering consumer’ s ambivalent and somehow paradoxical approach to mobility? Here are some ideas …

1 – Empowerment

Allowing to release and increase the human capacity like Human Cyborgs, Urban Survivors, Mobility Portfolio and Mobile Office

Urban Survivors is a form of empowerment which is a sort of hipster survivalist, fascinating the young and the dissatisfied. Discussions about your essential belongings and the role of outdoor clothing in fashion indicates an emerging identity about being always ready to move and survive in the simplest way. The Burning House and Everyday Carry  are two of a number of blogs in which people submit the belongings they consider to be their most essential.

A second form of empowerment is the Mobility Portfolio. People are moving on from a car-centric transport life and incorporating public transport, bicycles, hire cars, electric cars and so on into their own personal transport portfolios. Flexible car rental like ZipCar and now Autolib in Paris mean that you don’t need to own transport to be mobile. People can juggle different vehicles for different needs seamlessly.

Did you notice that there is no longer any dead space? Almost every moment of our days can be made productive as wi-fi and 4g connectivity move towards ubiquity and mobile devices become ever more functional. This is what we call Mobile office.

2 – Meaning

Giving men a sense of purpose with the Creative Adventurer, seeking Deep Experience, selecting Communities and sometimes becoming Human Battery.

We noticed the return of the Classic Explorer in the modern world, but now he seeks creative inspiration instead of colonial conquest. Aided by a new information age, creative people are embarking on bold new adventures to seek out inspiration around the world but also in the unknown surrounding us. Abandoned Places is an example of a prominent trend to explore the hidden parts of our cities. People are also tired of a Passive Existence. They are seeking deeper and more human experiences in all parts of their lives, particularly when they travel. Why stay in a hotel when you can stay in a beautiful house and meet interesting new people? Hands up Holidays is an award winning new company that specializes in providing holidays that combine sightseeing, relaxation with real philanthropy

Some people want to counter the cold anonymity of online social experiences and find ways to increasing social closeness; they gain more control of social mobility in order to create more meaningful social relationships online. Pinterest is the latest digital sensation – a community people to share images of things they care about and are passionate about.

Have you seen this ad featuring David Guetta, the French DJ for the Renault Twizy car? The energy created and stored in the human body is being seen as a viable source of future power. By harnessing this potential energy, the power needed by each individual can be provided by the individual themselves.

3 – Focus

To know and control where we play.

Whole new worlds are created for people to become fully immersed within. Being a passive audience member is not an option anymore, and viewers are expected to participate in their own entertainment, transforming themselves into key players and experiencing new levels of stimulation. Punchdrunk’s collaboration with Stella Artois- Black Diamond- saw audience members invited to a party in 1960’s Paris and then each swiftly become the protagonist in a terrifying heist story.

Rather than venturing out to spend time in faceless places, people are increasingly opting to use the home as a space for entertaining – be it their own, a friends’, or a stranger’s living room. The comfort, warmth and intimacy of this experience make it an extra special venue. Songs From a Room gives people the opportunity to perform and experience intimate, unusual gigs – often in a secret living room. “During the acts nobody talks, everyone listens – creating the most intimate and spellbinding atmosphere.”

There is a strong connection people are feeling to their local areas – the streets, neighborhoods, and shops around them. They are willing to stand up for them and willing to change their behavior to protect and support them, and to keep them flourishing. I Love Soweto is a creative collaborative project by the youth of Soweto, Johannesburg. It’s all about making the people of Soweto proud of their hood.

4 – Acting out

Involvement, commitment, and true life.

Part of the larger ‘gamification’ trend our journeys are now becoming leisure. Our position and our movement can get us points, prizes and status! Don’t you just want to Play the Journey along and be part of the next street game in your city like 2.8 hours later?

People are seeking ways to maintain local simple experiences in a fast moving modern world. Getting outside and doing ‘real’ things instead of going to the gym, socializing online and so on. E.g. The Green Gym initiative encourages people to get outside and work together: it benefits their local areas as well as their bodies.

Have a look at the presentation on Slideshare.  Or watch Cécile and Yves present the Mobility trends part 1 and part 2.

Methodology: The greatest indicator of change is culture.  To keep an eye on the future, we used tools rooted in ethnography, semiotics, literary studies and trend tracking to look at the world differently and define those mobility trends.  And to pull out the patterns of change that are likely to affect our clients’ brands.

Conclusion : Mobility trends are about how the world has been redefined, ‘Catch me if you can’ could be the name of the story. It goes beyond mobile solutions or physical mobility issues. New drivers and opportunities have emerged for the brands, by having a clear message, a purpose, being anchored in daily life and giving power back to the individual.


If Added Value can help you find key drivers to leverage tensions for your brand, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Written by Cécile Gorgeon, Director and Yves Jaques, Project Director

Image credit: Thinkstock / Item number:178497730 / Photographer: shansekala

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