Rise: New Hedonism

Ignore the rumours: hedonism is alive and well. Join Crowd DNA associate director Berny McManus at our next Rise breakfast session in London, as we explore the changing dynamics of having fun – and why we’re all still party people at heart...

Date: July 11

Time: 8.15-9am

Location: Crowd DNA, 5 Lux Building, 2-4 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU

Hedonistic pursuits – you know, the ones driven by pleasure and indulgence – have traditionally been grouped as facets of ‘letting go’. Drink, drugs, sex and other forms of escapism have always dominated. But what happens when you add wellness, environmental concerns and other topically 2019 themes into the mix? 

According to the ONS, Gen Z in the UK are consuming 20 per cent less alcohol than their millennial counterparts drank at their age. Similarly, the portion of young Americans reporting having had no sex in the past year more than doubled between 2008 and 2018. The rise of Generation Sensible, who are more interested in mindfulness than MDMA, is fuelling a growing consensus that hedonism is dying. 

But can we ever reach a point in culture where pleasure takes a permanent backseat? 

Join us on Thursday July 11, as we redefine hedonism, our host Berny taking us on a journey through scenes of the past (from 90s rave culture up to the yoga enthusiasts of today); before diving into the new hedonistic occasions of 2019. 

Using a unique need states model, we’ll share a revamped definition of hedonism – demonstrating that the fundamental human desire to let off a little steam still prevails. And, naturally, what this means for brands – from shaping comms to products to experiences.

For coffee, croissants and hedonistic insights, please fill out this form or contact rise@crowdDNA.com. And feel free to pass this invite on to any party people who might also be interested. 

Our new thinking around Gen Z has landed. Here's our Hybrid States model, including a chance to download the full Hybrid Generation report...

Download the full Gen Z: Hybrid States report here.

Gen Z are many things. They’re health obsessed, alcohol avoiders with a plan to save the planet; but they’re also everyday teenagers intent on breaking rules. While this duality can be a daunting prospect for brands to engage with, one thing is very easy to grasp – Gen Z are now the biggest generation on earth.

With that pressing fact in mind, our latest Rise breakfast was dedicated to the launch of a new framework for getting to grips with Gen Z – a model that we’re calling: Hybrid States. Presented by Crowd DNA’s London managing director Dr Matilda Andersson and senior consultant Rachel Rapp, today’s young adults were described as a generation defined by their own duality.

Thanks to the unique context that they’ve grown up in (think polarised, yet hyperconnected), Gen Z’s values and motivations are combining in unconventional ways. Combinations that we’re now labelling, and embracing, as Hybrid States. Using Schwartz’s Theory Of Basic Human Values, our presenters showed how their motivations are blending and fusing together. As it turns out, Gen Z’s value states are never binary and don’t plot easily on the map, which, when you think about it, is pretty exciting.

We’ve identified nine of these Hybrid States that we see Gen Z occupying. Providing fertile creative ground for brands of all shapes and sizes, you can read more about opportunities for winning with Gen Z in our full Hybrid States report – available to download here.

And keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks as we bring Gen Z’s Hybrid States to life in nine short films.

The nine hybrid states of Gen Z...
The nine hybrid states of Gen Z...

Download the full Gen Z: Hybrid States report here.

In a new content series, we’re zooming in on the unique character of New York City neighborhoods, as seen through the eyes of those born and raised in them...

Culture is core to our work at Crowd DNA – plotting change (fast and slow) and applying this understanding to problem-solving for our clients. Get beyond the gridlocks and the concrete, and culture is what makes cities work, too. It’s what makes them fascinating, rather than just frustrating. It’s where the energy and the hope comes from.

Crowd DNA New York’s The Neighborhoods Project looks to explore these themes, and to do so from the perspective of natives of some of the city’s finest boroughs. We’re seeking to understand the impact of gentrification (not always what you might expect); the unique qualities that continue to drive local pride and preserve identities in spite of rapid change.

Our first collection dives into Bedford-Stuyvesant, the Lower East Side and Greenpoint. We meet those born and raised in each, those working hard to stay put. There are stories of embracing heritage but equally of the quest for adaption. Ultimately, we’re getting to the bottom of what makes New York, New York.

Stay tuned this summer for more on this exciting project from Crowd DNA New York.

You can check out more city thinking from Crowd DNA in volume four of City Limits, an editorialised report series which, this time, focuses on emergent solutions to urban problems.

 

In our fourth issue of City Limits, we’re getting optimistic about urban problems, exploring the solutions that are changing things for the better...

City Limits Volume Four – download it here.

Our City Limits series – Crowd DNA’s exploration of the ever evolving urban experience – has so far looked at mobility, youth and city living around the globe. Now, we’re tackling the stickier stuff. As cities grow and evolve they inevitably face more complex problems that need fixing, so we’ve taken a worldwide tour of the most innovative ways that individuals, institutions, governments and brands are making a difference.

From changing the conversation around homelessness and getting to grips with a new wave of millennial volunteers; to shedding the doom and gloom associated with megacities and spotlighting new safety measures for women, this issue is looking forward to a positive urban future. 

City Limits Volume Four is available to download here.

Check out the trailer below:

A rare and fascinating opportunity to blend trends, insight, content and strategy skills...

With KIN, our global network of creators and influencers, now live and in action as an exciting addition to the Crowd DNA offer, we’re looking for someone to take over the running of this initiative – meaning we’ve a rare career opportunity at the intersection of trends, insight, content and strategy.

What the role will entail:

– Building out the network, locating interesting new contributors

– Managing ongoing relations with our wonderful KIN members

– Curation and creation of KIN content in partnership with network members and our own Socialise team

– Working with the wider Crowd DNA business to design and develop commercially relevant use cases for KIN

– Setting up live KIN projects

– Working with the wider team to manage KIN projects and to get to meaningful results that will empower our clients in areas such as brand, comms, product and experience

– Though based in London, collaborating across the Crowd DNA offices to ensure strong global representation in the KIN network

And you?

Given the nature of the role, we think you could have a background in trends, insight, content or strategy (there’s some flexibility over the level of experience we’re seeking and can shape the role accordingly).

Whichever, we want someone who’s equally astute culturally and commercially; who has an aptitude for content creation; a curiosity that will compel them to find great contributors and uses for KIN; the organisational skills to keep it all motoring along; and the strategic mindset to ensure KIN provides genuine advantage to the amazing brands we work with.

The role comes with a competitive salary, great benefits (betterment scheme, training, sabbatical, company lunches and days out, flexi hours etc); the chance to work on some of the most stimulating and culturally-driven projects out there; and the opportunity to progress in an exciting and progressive business. To apply (attaching a CV and covering letter), please get in touch with Dr Matilda Andersson.

Benji Long from Crowd DNA’s Futures, Semiotics & Listening team kicks off the first post of our Listening In series - demonstrating how we get to cultural meaning through social data. First up, a look inside the fandom of K-pop superstars BTS...

K-pop (that’s Korean pop music) is taking the West by storm. With precision-perfect choreography, EDM riffs and bubblegum melodies overlaid on Korean rap lyrics about mental health, there’s something distinctly novel about this phenomenon. K-pop support is also huge on social media: in the last year there were 541m tweets relating to the genre in the US, and 11m in the UK. Disconcertingly, it’s a hotter topic online than climate change…

In the UK and US, K-pop is provoking more conversation than global warming - and the volume keeps growing
In the UK and US, K-pop is provoking more conversation than global warming - and the volume keeps growing

Amid the wider conversation, one band totally dominates. BTS, aka Beyond The Scene, are a seven-piece boy band that have been drumming up wild support, including seeing their supporters win Best Fan Army at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards. But what is it, exactly, that has built up this fan-force, and why should we be paying attention? Faced with this extraordinary phenomenon, we decided to use social listening to dig a little deeper and understand more about what BTS represent.

First, The BTS hype

Fan love for BTS
Fan love for BTS

BTS have an intensely intimate relationship with their fans. While fan devotion of this kind is nothing new, their constant online conversation with the ‘army’ is staggering. There’s a real sense of religious fervour towards them. too: in the last six months, there have been 350,000 posts online containing BTS and ‘angel’.

Individual group members regularly come out with personal stories, connecting with their fans at every opportunity. From their rags to riches narrative – one that sets them apart from other groups in the K-pop industry – to their willingness to open up to their fans, BTS play strongly to themes of authenticity (whether engineered or not!). But it’s not just about keeping it real: they’re also provoking conversation and challenging norms in two areas:

1. Identity Fluidity

RM inspires young people to be themselves
RM inspires young people to be themselves

The band actively confront gender stereotypes by dressing in ‘feminine’ clothes and wearing make-up. They speak up for the need to be true to yourself. By normalising this, they are reaching out to a mainstream audience with a powerful message about being who you want to be; particularly resonant for those in their formative teen years or those feeling marginalised.

Their latest album, ‘Map Of The Soul: Persona’, is titled after a famous book about Jungian theories on identity by Dr Murray Stein. In the first song, member Kim Nam-joon (aka RM or Rap Monster) wonders: “‘Who am I?’ is the question I’ve had all my life / And I’ll probably never find the answer.” Joining BTS on this journey of self-discovery ranks highly in their appeal to fans.

Make way for feminist kings BTS who took lessons from Korean professors of feminism to write their lyrics and treat everyone equally regardless of their gender!” – Twitter user

2. Talking About Mental Health

The important stuff
The important stuff

Either through their music or sharing views in very public forums, BTS strongly encourage their fans to acknowledge mental health issues and to be more understanding of the emotional struggles we all face.  RM (that’s right – Rap Monster) spoke about mental health at the Unicef Love Myself fundraiser, encouraging young America to follow their dreams, and to ignore social and cultural obstacles.

More recently, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, BTS member Suga discussed how important it was for those who have a platform to use it to talk about mental health: “If they talk about it openly – if they talk about depression, for example, like it’s the common cold, then it becomes more and more accepted.” Their fanbase are responding. In the last six months, there have been 3.2 million social posts containing BTS and ‘thank you’ – and with 85% positive sentiment.

BTS are Asian men that are open about talking about mental health and stressing the importance of emotional intelligence. Let that sink in.” – Twitter user

The K-Wave Keeps Rolling

Thanks to their cultural impact, the BTS septet are credited with fuelling the number of Hallyu (or Korean Wave) advocates across the globe to almost 90 million – playing a lead role in the increase in popularity of South Korean culture since the 1990s. You might also have been enjoying more Korean cuisine of late (kimchi), drama (Netflix’s Okja) and even footballers (Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min).

Hallyu is a deliberate initiative started by former Korea president Kim Dae-jung, mobilising cultural resources to build up positive associations with the country. But beyond this official promotion, BTS has shown how powerful people-to-people diplomacy can be. The band has over 18 million followers on Twitter, and in 2017 had the most liked tweet worldwide.

It’s estimated that around 7% of all tourists visiting South Korea were motivated to do so by their love of BTS.

Fan Purpose For Brands

BTS x Converse collab - as seen in 'Fake Love' video
BTS x Converse collab - as seen in 'Fake Love' video

Fan purpose is a powerful form of currency for young people, especially when they can connect through shared experiences across cultural divides to promote positive values and ideas. BTS make a case for not being afraid to stand up for what you believe in – and fans can join the cause by showing their allegiance. While brands might not have the dance routines or rap rhymes, BTS show the value in representing issues and themes that maintain relevance across borders.

Measuring and analysing social trends is part of how Crowd DNA provides culturally charged commercial advantage to brands all around the world. If you need to understand more about a category, theme or topic, and want to find out if social listening can get you to answers, contact us at hello@crowdDNA.com.

Welcoming Yuka & Dunstan

Introducing two exciting new senior hires to our team...

We’re delighted to confirm two new appointments to our London team, both pointing to our focus on adding to the senior level expertise we can offer our clients.

Yuka Uchijima joins as a strategic insights director. Previously, Yuka spent five years as a cultural and brand strategist in Flamingo’s Tokyo office, before moving to London, first leading the Flamingo Group’s media collective team, before joining innovation start-up Kitchen8.

“Crowd DNA has always been at the forefront of offering innovative and unique ways of engaging in and understanding culture – and this reflects in the diverse makeup and hugely talented team here,” says Yuka. “It’s such an exciting time for the business and I’m thrilled to be a part of it and to get stuck in.”

Dunstan Kornicki also joins as a strategic insights director. Dunstan was formerly client director at Flamingo London, and, prior to that, managing director at Flamingo Mumbai.

“It’s great to be joining Crowd DNA at such an exciting time, as the company expands globally,” says Dunstan. “It is more important than ever for brands to root their strategies and growth in a comprehensive understanding of, and immersion in, culture and people’s lives. I’m really looking forward to getting started with our clients.”

We're seeking a finance manager to join our friendly team in Hoxton Square, London...

Working in a fast moving and stimulating environment, reporting in to our senior directors, the role will involve:

– Overseeing the day to day accounting function

– Managing sales and supplier invoicing/payments

– VAT accounting and returns

– Payroll and pensions

– Monitoring, improving and managing general financial processes (expenses, fixed costs, travel, sign-off of invoices etc)

– Supporting the management team to achieve agreed financial targets through effective and timely financial reporting and analysis of project by project performance

– Preparation of year end accounts

– Overseeing the finance responsibilities of our office and operations manager

– Working on our London business will constitute the majority of the role to start with. However, we’re building teams in New York, Singapore and Sydney; experience of accounting in different markets therefore an advantage

Benefits

Competitive salary and annual leave allowance / Betterment scheme / 2 x company days out / Christmas close / Early summer finishing / Quarterly awards / Free lunches per month / Massages, fruit, drinks, other treats! / Scope for working from home / Paid sabbatical after five years

About You

We want someone who can point to solid accounting and finance experience, ideally in a small business environment and, better still, with experience in a company that offers ad hoc services on a project-by-project basis (therefore dealing with a range of clients and with bespoke costs per project).

If you can point to experience in a business with overseas clients and/or offices, that’s an advantage; as is experience using Quickbooks.

We are open to candidates looking to work in the role full time, but also those looking for a three or day role.

To apply for this role, please get in touch with Andy Crysell, including a CV.