From Solo to Squad. Seeking Individuality Via a Crowd

June 28, 2022

Junior planner Molly Taylor-Prevett shares her words on why we all need to understand neo-collectivism. Read on to learn how the Individuality Shift, Sharing Economy, and Herd Mentality all matter in marketing today, and who’s getting it right.

The Individual Shift

What makes you an individual? It can often be hard to describe ourselves and to be sure of who we truly are, our own perspective can be warped or disfigured by the opinions of others. In life we pick up pieces of knowledge here and there from our surroundings that essentially shape us into the ‘final’ version of ourselves. Humans are like clay dolls, we are constantly evolving, growing, and changing day to day and that, to me, is the true beauty of individuality.

Therefore, seeking individuality in 2022 can seemingly be a challenge. With an overload of information being shoved down our throats daily, we are at a level of over stimulation that can essentially lead to us being confused about what it is we believe in. Whilst many define individuality by looks or hobbies or music taste etc. I believe that being an individual lays a lot deeper under the surface. To be an individual you first must appreciate you for you, love who you are, and the rest will come naturally.

So, if individuality is built off our day-to-day interactions it makes sense that we often see similarities in others and in return stick to those who emulate our values and beliefs.

Why is this important? Well, recently people are steering away from individuality as such and finding solace in the power of neo collectivism. Individuality was a huge trend in recent years, according to the Mercer Global Talent Trends Survey 2017 – 5400 respondents wanted to be regarded for their individuality and unique skills displaying how pre pandemic people took glory in being a standout in the crowd.

When we look now at post pandemic the power of collaboration is being seen at a greater value than that of individual success, potentially due to the sheer amount of time spent alone leading people to realise that without others to inspire they feel short of stimulus. This shift from solo to shared is not only in the workplace, but everywhere. A focus on collectivism is being favoured over that of individual preferences as we can see later in examples.

A Sharing Economy

Through turbulent times over the past two and a half years we have seen an uproar of movements that have led to a shift in the way society organise themselves. With a community being shaped by values and empathy, consumers are pushing aside their individualistic traits and leaning towards alliances to push passions and ideas to the masses.  A sharing-based economy is being formed. Why? The reason behind this systematic shift is solely based around the format that you can get more s**t done when you have the helping hands of others. Community is where the heart is.

The pandemic proved this when we saw people coming together to spur on the spirits of the nation by clapping at their doors every week. It was a time for communities to come together, even though everyone was so far apart. We all saw the impact COVID-19 and the BLM movement had on the public, the resolving factors for these monumental times was the power of coming together. Impact networks came in force to show mass displays of solidarity during lockdown, while many businesses fell at the hurdles.

A Herd Mentality

Two-thirds (67%) of young people in Britain would like to live under an explicitly socialist economic system, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs. With the rise of social channels such as TikTok, digital unions are being assembled around common comforts, ranging from fashion to book clubs, these platforms are altering the way consumers communicate. A statistic from Byte-pal suggests that 56% of Gen Z is friends with someone they ONLY know online. The format of communal alliances has been a saviour for potentially outcasted grouped in society such as LGBTQ+. Community is a value that we will be seeing more of in the future of civilisation.


Now it wasn’t only our human-to-human connections that flourished. As citizens during COVID-19 we relied on digital powerhouse networks to keep us connected. Technologies collaboration with us humans paved a new path in our society. When it comes down to a work, education and socialising, we have our newfound friend in digital connection that has been born off the back of a pandemic.  An example of how technology has enhanced our human qualities to collaborate. With the power of online the door is wide open for more unusual and unlikely collaborations between brands, people and things that were seemingly out of hands reach before to happen.

What does this all mean for marketing?

Neo collectivism is breaking through into marketing. Brands must learn this and how to harness their communities. It is no longer about being a seller; the direction is now focused on being a coordinator of people. The future hook for brands is to place collectivism at the heart of products and campaigns. The next big focus should pull on the idea of consumers/shoppers essentially running the place. It will be a difficult challenge to cross company and community and subsequently bringing them together to build a collective.

As the current concept of individualism starts to die out, brands will take down their decorations and larger than life personalities and try to sustain an image of sincerity that mirrors that of the consumer group. Brands and marketers need to tap into the zeitgeist to create authentic integral ideas that ring true to the collective masses. Insincere self-marketing will be very critically received and eventually die out and brands will shape shift into leaders of movements in return.

A Final thought

What we currently think of as individualism that focuses on the solo self will disappear, to be replaced with individualism that sees clusters of people with strong views stand for what they believe in. And this is the new era of “Neo-Collectivism”.

Who to is leading the Neo-Collectivism pack?

Lab – PANGAIA– Pangaia are a brand who encapsulate the term. The brands progressive nature includes features of sustainability, individualism as well as fostering a real societal community ethos with the brands followers.

Telfar- Telfar is a black-owned, non-gendered fashion project. The point of the brand is to be accessible and to foster community.

Further Reading

Neo-Collectivism: Rejecting American Individualism and a Call for Cultural Renewal – Biggs and Bussen

Written by Molly Taylor-Prevett, Junior Planner.