The search for sanctuary

In our latest 'Forward 50' entry, Nicola Kemp asks whether brands are overlooking the consumer desire to escape.

The search for sanctuary
The search for sanctuary

It is all too easy for brands to overlook one of the most important consumer trends: the search for sanctuary from the virtual data deluge of modern living.

With consumers juggling not only multiple media platforms, but online, offline, professional and personal identities, carving out space for themselves - whether mentally or physically - has never been more important.

Ironically, it is entrepreneur Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and first president of Facebook, who has clearly articulated this search for respite.

Following a backlash against his lavish wedding (which took place amid redwoods in California's Big Sur) he wrote to tech news site TechCrunch: "One of the most salient themes of our ceremony... was the notion of 'sanctuary'... Such a place is increasingly difficult to find...

Unless you've chosen to lead a monastic life... then you are subjected to socially reinforced notions of who you are and what you represent..."

Brands must recognise the distance that technology has created between us. A shift in technology platforms should not be mistaken for a shift in the fundamental needs of society.