THE JOURNEY YO REMARKABLE RETAIL
Steve helps organizations understand and respond to retail disruption by creating customer-centric, memorable and profitable growth strategies.
Wired For Connection
The following is an excerpt from my new book, which will be released on Tuesday.
Most people strive for connection. From our earliest years we take comfort (if we are fortunate) in our families, seek out friendships, and join classes, teams, and social groups. The urge for companionship is powerful, and at some point, the desire to find a romantic partner becomes strong. Over time, our needs for affiliation, acceptance, and affirmation grow, particularly in this new era of social media and nearly constant digital connection.
We are starting to learn that we are literally biologically wired for connection. While many ancient Eastern spiritual traditions were way ahead of the Western biologists on this, scientists have discovered that our feelings of emotional well-being are strongly influenced by the breadth, depth, type, and nature of our connections. What is often referred to as our “social brain network” has been demonstrated to dictate and regulate how we navigate the various ways we connect. The science is still evolving more specifically on how the great number of connections that can be developed at a physical distance through social media interact with increased solitary behavior and a huge uptick in screen time.
We do know that in-person connection works differently and is important in creating a strong sense of belonging and empathy. “Mirror neurons,” which for some time were mostly seen as giving humans the capacity to learn by imitating what they observe others doing, seem to play a strong role in supporting personal safety and building empathy. We also know that close proximity, as well as physical touch (hugging, holding hands, kissing, massage, etc.), can boost oxytocin and serotonin levels, which are important for reducing depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other mental and physical maladies.
Of course, when I was doing my final writing for Remarkable Retail late last year, I had no idea that the world would soon find itself in the middle of an epic crisis. Instead, what I was trying to point to, was the notion that if we want to execute winning strategies we must accept that, at our core, we are social beings, that empathy matters more than ever and that connection is no longer scarce.The shopping experiences that are unique, intensely customer relevant and that create a strong emotional connection are the brand stories that stick–and the ones we most often feel compelled to share.
If we didn’t realize it before, hopefully we do now. We are all connected. And the boundaries that prevented the spread of things–both remarkably good and bad–are being eroded more and more every day.
The choices we make matter well beyond what we can easily see within our close in web of connection.
As I finished writing the second edition of my new book late last year, the predominant retail narrative was the so-called great acceleration of all things e-commerce. More recently, ebullient stories portend the resurrection of the mall and suggest that department...
As the pace of vaccinations increases, there is a sense that the worst of Covid-19’s impact will soon be behind us. Yet any notion of being in a truly post-pandemic world, even in a best-case virus mitigation and economic recovery scenario, won’t be fully realized for...
With so much uncertainty and volatility in the economy, it may be foolhardy to go out on a limb with any predictions. My crystal ball has certainly been faulty more than a few times. Nevertheless, I throw caution to the wind with my (mostly) educated guesses on what...
"The Store Operations Council enjoyed every minute of Steve Dennis's presentation on retail's future. He always keeps it real and speaks the language of retail experts."
Cathy Hotka & Associates
Cathy Hotka & Associates