–By Brian Elkins, published in Quirk’s Magazine

It seems every category is undergoing some form of transformation. It is difficult to distinguish the signal in the noise and impossible to chase every trend. However, within the range of shifts underway, we believe there are universal forces that have implications for every market researcher and brand strategy practitioner. No such force will be as far reaching nor critical to sustained market success as the paradigm of ‘liquid expectations’.

What do we mean by liquid expectations? Consumer experiences and expectations are no longer rooted to legacy, insular category or brand assumptions. Consumers increasingly expect best practices from one interaction to be swiftly adopted across traditionally different contexts.

Take for examples the impact of frictionless consumption: the seamlessness and ease of the Uber experience creates a desire for similarly frictionless experience within the department store. The tailored “next best action” experience of Amazon changes consumer expectations of their cable TV platform and innovations in hospitality drive expectations for health care delivery.

Why is this so important? People are more interconnected than ever—not only with each other, but with the contexts and systems in which they live. People give, take, exchange, and build connections at a rapid pace. The result is increased expectations about how we connect, why we connect, and ultimately what we choose to connect with. Businesses that factor liquid expectations into their market research and strategy development will win big.

Ultimately, we believe the full spectrum of customer experience and brand resonance is best examined through the prism of human decision making and liquid expectation. Therefore, we cross-pollinate research, strategy and category expertise at every turn to bridge insight to activation.