The growth of the heavily edited "networked self", where consumers invest a substantial amount of time and money in building their online and social-media profiles, has taken narcissism to new levels. The cult of the individual, where consumers establish themselves as a brand in their own right, is in full swing.
Parimal Makwana, senior analyst at global trends agency Future Foundation, explains: "People have their own personal brand now and, increasingly, class themselves as a celebrity in their own networks." In line with this shift, these consumers expect brands to treat them not only as an individual, but a VIP. As the success of the recent "My Coke" named-bottle campaign shows, brands need to talk to consumers as individuals.