The Atomised World: Where Brand Services Combine

Mark Curtis It’s undeniable that there has been a huge shift in consumers’ environments and their relationships with digital technology. Brands like Spotify, which are best responding to this transition and abandoning silos, are embracing what I like to call “atomisation”.

Atomisation of services has penetrated not just the popular music streaming industry, with the likes of Spotify, SoundCloud and Deezer enabling users to integrate their account with social media platforms, but has also largely disrupted the once-conventional banking and financial sectors. Look at how PayPal has altered the way consumers make financial transactions–and it’s available across a multitude of platforms.

Love, Time And Attention
The important context here is about love, time and attention. Renowned anthropologist Robin Dunbar says there is a consistent global average to the number of people with whom we can maintain meaningful social connections; it’s 150. But, as people’s interactions with the digital space accelerate, could this mean that there is a Dunbar number for the maximum number of brands to which consumers can relate in a meaningful way?

To back up this theory, recent research by Nielsen on app usage by U.S. Android and iPhone users over two years showed that the number of apps they engaged with remained consistently static at an average of 25. Therefore, if the Dunbar number applies to mobile apps, there’s something to be said for brands needing to be more inventive, interesting and to find ways to become almost indispensable to keep consumers’ attention (=love and time). This is what makes atomisation so relevant.

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Mark Curtis

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