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THe Dynamic Nature of Identity

If you ask someone the right questions, you very quickly learn that personal identity can shift dynamically. In one moment, someone might think of herself as an atomized individual (an "I") and in the next, she might think of herself as part of her family or favorite sports team (a "we"). Shifts between "I" and "we" are ordinary micro-occurrences that fundamentally influence how one looks at the world.  

The "I" mode includes self-conscious experiences. These experiences can be positive (e.g. pride and confidence) or negative (e.g. fear, anxiety, embarrassment, and shame).

The "we" mode includes ego-expansion experiences. These experiences can be ordinary (e.g. the feeling of "us" when connecting with a loved one) or transformative (e.g. the feeling of being one with a large and passionate crowd). (Sociologist Emile Durkheim described the latter as "collective effervescence.") 

To create an elevated experience strategy, we recommend exploring the "I" and "we" modes and understanding how they work in a particular product or service space. The key, we believe, is to support in your customers the right feelings at the right time.