Posts Tagged trends

Top 20 Cities For New Ideas

Hub Culture is one of the most interesting under-the-radar communities out there. Established by Stan Stalnaker, it’s part social network, part co-working space, part digital currency eco-system. By researching the opinions of the HubCulture community, Stan has updated his list of the most influential hubs of new ideas and inspiration. Here’s the top 20 list:

1. São Paulo (2011 rank: 1)
Perched at the top of the list for a record third year is São Paulo, where the defining topic of conversation continues to be how hard it is to find good help. You know things are going well when staffing your dinner party adequately is a major topic of concern. It is however a harbinger – inflation and class ambition do not make a tranquil mix forever. The strong currency and commodity growth at large aren’t the only thing fueling Brazil – property and consumer retail are continuing to enjoy enviable growth rates despite a 4Q dip last year. Meanwhile, the city is ever more popular, and ever more desirable for corporate postings, regional businesses, and those looking to experience the Brazilian boom first-hand.
Enjoy it while it lasts, Brazilianos.

2. Hong Kong (2011 rank: 7)
Hong Kong hits a high note this year – a cosmopolitan mix, fantastic shopping and epicenter attitude for business make it the world’s drop-in city. But the downsides – pollution, overcrowding, and little thought for public space – have often held it back.
Despite these issues, lately the world just seems to bend more toward Hong Kong – maybe because there is an ever stronger air of confidence and derring-do in the city? HK simply doesn’t care what everyone else thinks anymore, and that makes us all care even more (especially big brother to the north). As the world navigates the shift of power from west to east, Hong Kong remains perfectly balanced between the two.
Plus, try going out on a weekend – holy schmodel! HK is ground-zero to the world’s young, rich and beautiful, tomorrow’s bright lights rocking today’s late nights.

Zhang Xin’s SOHO is Beijing’s new heart.

3. Beijing (2011 rank: 14)
While its still a bit rough around the edges, one gets the impression that Beijing is the new Manhattan, but on a much larger scale. Yes, its still under construction. Yes, you can still ride a rickety rickshaw from a man with no teeth through teeming traffic, but now he’ll charge you $40 bucks. Yes, its freezing cold half the year and choking with dust the other half. But it will rule, and therefore, people are building and innovating and spending and earning and just plain living. It’s very alive right now, Beijing, in a way other places aren’t.

4. Berlin (2011 rank: 4)
Berlin is like your hipster friend who went into local politics and ended up raising your property taxes. All the cool kids are still there, but the city’s evolution into political power player is complete, and that’s replacing the hip factor with raw power. Berlin is calling the shots across Europe – from the Greek crisis to EU interest rates, and so for every underground dungeon slash disco there are now two lawyers in a coffee shop talking about work. That’s life.

5. London (2011 rank: 9)
It’s official, this is London’s year – from the Queen’s Jubilee to the Olympics, there is no better place in the world to be this summer. Lots of labour is coming to fruition in London – from the epic Shard, Europe’s tallest building, to progress on Crossrail, the city is making sure it will remain the center of European business for a long time to come. As the pound deflated in the crisis, cost of living has become thankfully more reasonable, and there’s still an influx of foreign money propping up property. Trouble is… no one knows what abyss lies after the Olympics, and how Team Britain can compete in a world that offers a lot more for less – and with better weather. Banks are downsizing. Taxes are epic. The streets are filled with unemployed alcoholics. But otherwise it’s great!

6. New York (2011 rank: 6)
As the US economy evens out, New York stands to benefit from all the forces that make urbanization a driving force elsewhere on the planet. America’s most optimistic city offers a comparatively green lifestyle and a steady creative sector, leadership in finance, and a re-emerging ‘scene’. Somehow the city managed to capture and amplify the Occupy movement into something resembling hacktivism, with a simple message: “if we don’t like something, we change it”. Not much has actually changed, but at least post-Occupy, can-do New York refuses to be anyone’s victim.

7. Sydney (2011 rank: 3)
Sydney remains the place everyone would go if it weren’t so far away. Over the last twelve months, the continent has only moved about 6 mm closer to the rest of civilization. Another year of strong commodities and a hot economy mean another year richer. The biggest challenge is that Sydney is pricing itself out of the global market on the back of a strong currency and intense demand in the urban core, but is that so bad if you’re already established there? Nope.

8. Singapore (2011 rank: 11)
Singapore is sizzling. We’ve talked about the city’s green credentials, oasis feeling, sticky-bun mall flavouring, and increasingly beautiful architecture before, but its nice to see the edge here getting sharper and sharper. Where else can you feel like an alien strolling into a roof top bar covered in neon and gold fixtures, as the city glimmers at your feet? One casino here turns over as much cash as Vegas in a year. And you’ll need to gamble just to afford the drinks – life here has gotten pretty expensive lately. Also: bubble tea.

9. Istanbul (2011 rank: 18)
Istanbul is electric. All that youthful energy is just busting with creative endeavours, and its such a cool place to be, especially if you’re in the leisure sector. The sense that Istanbul is building a great future for itself has been pervasive for awhile now – its more of the same, with more results, more people and more attitude featuring that unique stamp of a crossroad. The creative vibe has really taken root here, and its turning a leisure attitude unrivalled anywhere and completely impossible to copy into big business. Its evident in the art galleries popping up all over town, the furniture brands, and the growing list of mobile tech startups squashed into every corner of the city.

10. Rio de Janeiro (2011 rank: 20)
2012 kicks off a 4 year marathon for Rio, beginning with this summer’s Rio +20 Summit on the environment, and running to the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Is Rio ready? Crime is still an issue, 1 in 3 live in a slum, and all the activity has driven real-estate prices sky high. There aren’t enough hotels, or cops, or thong shops.
But relax, this is Rio! Have a frozen acai smoothie, don your Havainas and ride the wave – Rio is in for a fantastic ride. For quality of life alone, it might be number 1 on the planet, provided you don’t have to ruin your beach runs with a day job.

11. Capetown (2011 rank: 17)
If Africa was a car, South Africa would be the engine and Capetown the tantalising hood ornament. From the cheesy panoramas infesting Facebook to the bragging tourists sipping a Stellenbosch wine on Clifton 4 in their status updates, this city is where everyone wants to be. Overlooked is how great the time zone is – right on par with London, one wonders if you couldn’t actually serve the world from an iPad on the beach in a pair of Aca Joes. Crime is down, Africa is booming, and the living is good, why not?

12. Tokyo (2011 rank: 12)
Sometimes it take a disaster to jolt us into new ways of thinking, and its nice to see how Tokyo has changed since this time last year. A stoic response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami lit a fire for something new in Japan – a kind of hacker mentality that was never obvious has been revealed – with a sense that citizens are taking their future into their own hands. In the days after the disaster a flurry of activity unleashed social collective responses, and the results were fascinating.Tokyo was at the center of this shift and is different because of it. Now its less status quo, more DIY.

13. Seattle (new)
Forget the coffee-house cliches – the Nicki Minaj of cities is back in fashion. That’s all there is to it. Signature look neo-grunge and flannels stretch from Doha to Detroit, and Seattle’s neon Twin Peaks quirkiness is visible in so many forms. Pop music has taken the hint, infusing everything from the Foo Fighters to Beats by Dr. Dre with the Seattle Kitsch.
This time Amazon, not Microsoft, is the poster-child – as they move to own the entire book publishing supply chain, take on Apple and the Goog, and deepen their reach into business services all at the same time. Seattle may not be the biggest city on this list, but it is punching well above its weight in this cultural register.

14. Mexico D.F. (2011 rank: 16)
Still the world’s biggest city, Mexico is onto a leisure story much in the way that Istanbul is creating its own reality. Big, brash, noisy, the city’s elders are trying to kickstart a green revolution without much luck. But change is slow, and in the meantime the habit of escaping hell for the weekend, much the way New Yorkers exit for the Hamptons and Miami, has become de rigeur. The city may not offer everything, but the jetset is finding it further afield, and that’s attracting global talent, who increasingly agree Mexico’s capital is a great place to be based – on the weekdays.

15. Shanghai (2011 rank: 8)
Why did Shanghai slip so much this year? Zeitgeist is all about radar, and while we know Shanghai should be on this list, there’s not much new happening this year that explains why. Sure, its a mecca. Sure, there’s new stuff every day. Of course its getting bigger and better and more exciting. But growing rumbles of a property slowdown, bad debt and other go-go problems (that extend across the land) are tempering the mood in Shanghai. Compared to Beijing, Shanghai just feels a bit “meh” at the moment.

16. San Francisco (2011 rank: 10)
San Francisco isn’t the first city that comes to mind when you think of corruption, but this is the year where the city gets skewered by the new rich. Facebook’s IPO is creating an army of millionaires who are expected to cash in and change the dynamic of the city in overnight – from luxury real estate to funding the next big thing, the mood is bright, but the envy is deep. It remains to be seen how windfalls will affect the city at large, or if it will just widen the booming class divide.

17. Dubai (Returning, 2009 rank: 15)

Its been hard-time-city in Dubai since the crash – with all those stories of abandoned BMWs at the airports, migrant workers keeling over with kidney failure and the like. But you can’t build a city like Dubai and expect it to not come back fighting. As the economy absorbs its own growth and residents settle into whatever latest and greatest thing was just built, the reality is that brands are still coming, tourists are still coming, families are growing and the miracle of the Gulf is more than a mirage. Dubai is back, chastened, and with a smirk. As one local puts it, “Dubai has withstood the test of time”. In this case, that’s 24 months, but ok! It does sum up the optimism.

18. Los Angeles: (2011 rank: 4)
Its not those homeless tent cities in the park, the endless traffic, the train wreck that is Beverly HIlls reality TV or the yawning Oscars – but something is a bit stale in the city of Angels. The decay hit the nostrils around the whole SOPA brouhaha, which revealed to the entire world how desperately worried Hollywood is about its business model – and the lengths it will go to trying to protect what remains. Somehow this… fear… can pervade everything, despite the relatively small role of entertainment on actual output. So yes MPAA, a dog on the defensive bites, but who likes a biting dog? LA’s overplayed hand against the valley will be costing it dearly for time to come. Bright spot? The Grammys are “in” and flourishing in LA.

19. Moscow (2011 rank: 15)
Speaking of class divides, Moscow gets credit for its own approach to activism. The city’s gritty determination to plunge forward, regardless of sleet, snow, or political baton stick deserves some credit. Russia is never easy to understand, but if the universal language is money, then Moscow remains a growing force. Especially abroad. The Ruskies have invaded Thailand and Sri Lanka, turning their sights from the Mediterranean to new paradises for bi-continental living. Moscovite money is transforming these locations into elite havens, far from the realities of life at home, and that’s shaping futures from tundra to tropics.

20. Abu Dhabi (2011 rank: 19)
Steady as as she goes, Abu Dhabi bumps along the bottom of this year’s list with more money in the bank than ever. It has emerged as the third of a private banking triumvarate (with Zurich and Singapore) and a similar reputation for sensible reliability. Cultural investment dividends like the Guggenheim, art fair, and museums are maturing, and the city is actually pretty fun! Maybe it will move up once it loosens up.

via PSFK, Hub Culture


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How Young Women Are Changing The Way We Speak

As to celebrate International Women’s Day today, I thought it would be great to share an article which proves on how women are actually change agents – even the excessively girly ones :

Spoken language changes fast, but who are the agents driving such rapid change? Recent linguistic research is pointing to young women as being very influential in this process and grapples with the question: how do these vocal trends make their way into the mainstream? How do they cross the gender boundaries to the point where it is now men who are more likely to say the word ‘like’ than women?

Recent projects, spearheaded by Stanford linguistics professor Penny EckertMark Liberman at University of Pennsylvania, Long Island University speech scientist Nassima Abdelli-Beruh, and professor Carmen Fought at Pitzer College, are proving the point that there is something deeper here than the merely surface assumption that young women who use certain vocal trends are ‘immature’ or ‘airheads.’

Carmen Fought told the NY Times that:

If women do something like uptalk or vocal fry, it’s immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional or even stupid. The truth is this: young women take linguistic features and use them as power tools for building relationships.

Research in this area looks at vocal trends driven by young woman like uptalk (where we pronounce statements as if they were questions), new slang, vocal flying (that raspy, croaking intonation that usually comes in at the end of a sentence), and of course, the use of the word ‘like.’ Professor Eckert asserts that:

A lot of these really flamboyant things you hear are cute, and girls are supposed to be cute. But they’re not just using them because they’re girls. They’re using them to achieve some kind of interactional and stylistic end.

In discerning the cultural drivers, general conclusions revolve around the idea that vocal trends double as social cues and help women navigate through social interactions. Other theorists see it as an empowerment tool, while others want to say that young women simply want to get away with speaking flamboyantly because they can. It’s not easy to discern because lowering one’s voice in a ‘vocal fry’, for example, can help the speaker sound more authoritative, but it can also express indifference.

However, the ability of these speech quirks to linger and get picked up by other segments of the population aside from women, demonstrates some type of deep-rooted  linguistic influence by women.

via PSFK

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The KPOP evolution in Singapore

Came across this great video that looks into how KPOP came about in Singapore and how its grown. Some very interesting finds such as seasonal trends in terms of when female and male artists are more dominant and how the group must have diversity in order to capture a larger audience.

Although slightly old it does still give anyone who doesn’t know much about KPOP some good background information.

All credit has to go to the makers of this that obviously spent hours and hours finding out about KPOP.

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iConsumers: Consumer Experience in the World with a Digital Twist

Internet is becoming a more and more popular space for promoting products and building strong ties with target consumer groups. Brands know it, and people know that brands know it and they do not mind to be part of this ‘game.’ On the contrary, users are actively getting engaged into the digital activity of the global companies and easily adopt new ways of communicating with brands and enrich their experience as iConsumers. Why is it so important for brands, how can they benefit from it and what ways do they choose to get people connecting with them online? This is the theme of our today’s review.

According to the new McKinsey & Company research ‘The World Gone Digital’, people are now using digital devices and platforms more often than before—a survey, conducted among US residents aged 13-64, revealed that nearly 50 percent of US online consumers are now advanced users of smartphones, social networks, and other emerging tools—up from 32 percent in 2008.” The consulting company determined seven categories of Internet users according to how deep they are involved in the digital experience—as it turns out, there are 19 percent of ‘digital junkies’ (people, mostly young men, who adopt new technologies fast), 16 percent of ‘digital communicators’ (mostly young women, who spend much time on their favourite social media websites, 3.2 times more relative to survey average) and 14 percent of ‘video digerati’ (those who view 2.6 times more videos across all platforms as compared to the average index). In addition to this, people in the U.S. are now spending less time on games and checking emails than they used to do two years ago. In other countries the attitude to digital life is quite the same—people are spending much time on the Internet, but companies, while being quite open to this change, sometimes do not that easily adopt new approaches. Another research, conducted by KPMG Australia, reveals that businesses in the country do not use social media like companies in Europe or America, and lose quite a lot. “Compared with other countries, Australian businesses are not capitalizing on this on-line ‘buzz’ to listen to what their customers are saying, or to sell their products and services. Given Australians are one of the highest users of social media networks in the world, our businesses have a huge advantage in being able to leverage this channel for a business benefit, but at the moment, they are lagging behind,” commented Malcolm Alder, National Managing Partner for KPMG’s Digital Economy practice. Australian businesses really should change their mind as soon as possible, since social media seem to be the first place to where businesses should go in our days to win consumers’ attention.

Today, the cooler you are, the more fans, subscribers and followers you have and vice versa (thus, you can become quite popular by inviting more people to your social media page, using various methods, and launch next campaigns with support from your fans). The most popular social media channel today is Facebook—the fan pages there serve as both a place to get to know consumers closer and inform them on something important related to brands’ activity (starting from new campaigns to announcing discounts) or even selling merchandise. One of the companies, which turn their fan pages into little online shop, is Procter & Gamble, which is selling a range of its products via this platform and Heineken to name but a few. For the current moment, the most popular retail brand on Facebook is Coca-Cola(with over 33 million fans), but this page is used only for communicating with consumers and sharing news, and there are no remarkable attempts to capitalize on the popularity in a direct way. Even when brands are not offering their products straight from the page, they are generating buzz around it, by encouraging users discuss the products, and so create environment, in which a consumer gets emotionally closer to the product. Facebook also suggested an advertising that is ‘initiated’ by a user—it’s when her or she writes a message, connected with some business in some way, stories about their activity pop-up in their friend’s news feed as ‘sponsored stories’. So, users generate advertising by just mentioning a brand. This comes as addition to traditional discussions and sharing links. While now FB seems to be the major social media destination, the situation may change soon since Google+ is also stepping into this zone—so far, the new platform has 25 million registered users, but Google is asking brands to sit tight and wait—obviously plotting something really huge for fall.

Social networking in brands’ reality is nothing new, but there’s still a plenty of opportunities for businesses in this area. Just like it is with smartphones, which are also not an original, but quite an effective way of keeping in touch with a consumer. Smartphones are quietly taking the lead, becoming the device of choice for web browsing, checking emails and even shopping. “More than 60 percent of smartphone users would consider buying goods with it or have already done so. Over the past two years, iPhone users have spent 45 percent more time e-mailing on their smartphones and 15 percent less time e-mailing on their PCs,” says the research. To reach more people, brands release smart and fun apps, which both entertain and invite a consumer to take a look at the product range. One of the recent apps, which captured our attention, is adidas Originals application, which uses 3D-recogniztion, to help people choose the best change for their old shoes. Starbucks, which has recently revamped its online store, is also one of the brands, which offer its consumers new and convenient ways to shop at the retailer’s venues: recently it has launched an updated version of its iPhone apps, adding the eGift feature, and introduced mobile payment last year. Some companies use smartphone apps for educating their consumers: for example,Nestlé has created an application, which helps consumers sort used packaging in the most sustainable way.

Along with reading news and articles, people also watch a lot of videos on the Internet, and considering the fact that online versions of newspapers are getting more popular than the book format, and e-books are replacing the traditional publications, very soon web-based video will substitute TV as well. According to the survey, TVs are becoming more and more of yesterday with 69 percent of respondents preferring to watch videos on their PCs and 33 percent do view them on smartphones. With this, 24 percent of people use their TVs for watching web-content, and this is three times more than two years ago, and moreover, only a quarter of people who still watch TV say they are satisfied with pay-TV services, meaning that the companies which offer this kind of experience should start providing their product across mobile devices. In fact, Google is actively taking the lead and has a bunch of its own offerings, which work just like TV, or use TV as platform for broadcasting its content. The Internet giant provides its users with an opportunity to watch events live or broadcast popular films and movies—in May, the company announced it added 3,000 movie titles for rental in the USA. But it doesn’t mean that Google wants to destroy television, on the contrary, it wants to collaborate with the industry—on August 26, Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt will give a lecture to an audience of television executives in Edinburgh, in which he will emphasize that the company really needs television. In early summer, it was announced that Google is allegedly planning to buy video service Hulu, and in January, is another company, which is expanding in online video direction: recently, it acquired European online rental service Lovefilm, which proves that the big Internet companies are plotting a revolution in the way people consume traditional video content.

With the visible swift towards online platforms in marketing, companies should quickly adapt to the new format and update advertising strategies and invest into the new approaches immediately, unless they want to disappear in the world, ‘inhabited’ by social media-savvy consumers. Brands revamp their websites to provide more user-friendly solutions and release numerous apps to engage consumers in a more gimmicky way. How far can this movement reach? What else can be digitalized and tailored to the e-era? Considering the fact that technology is moving forth at a great speed, in 10-15 years the whole real world may  go digital.

Source: PopSop

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The Indian Consumer

A nice piece done by Landor in India. Lulu Raghvan takes us through how the Indian consumer has evolved and where they are now by talking to Senior Executives in various agencies and organisations that studied the indian consumer.

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10 Trends Shaping the World Today

Keeping up to current trends is essential for companies, which strive to be relevant to the fast-pace world and meet ever-changing consumer demands. In this piece, which is an abridged version of ANTHEM SIGHTINGS, Vol. 2, 2011,  the most notable trends of today are covered—some of them root in old approaches, and some seem to be completely new, but all of them are shaping modern marketing efforts and influencing our perception of brands. The author of the paper, Kathy Oneto, Vice President, Brand Strategy in the San Francisco office of Anthem Worldwide, made a list of ten current trends and their examples from all around the globe, demonstrating the processes redefining the marketing industry right at the moment.

1. Branded Cities: Cities branding for economic development

This issue of ANTHEM SIGHTINGS starts with the trend, which is not new, but extremely powerful and never-dying. We brand everything, from clothing and cars to people and events, so creating a unique image for the city is quite a natural thing. Branding cities, giving them a recognizable logo and motto is just like adding new features and tones to promotion of a trustworthy product, it’s challenging but rewarding—one of the recent projects of this kind is development of new vibrant, positive and catchy identity for London (ahead of Olympics 2012) and Moscow. What about creating a city (or city district) and its image from square one? One of the examples of these ambitious projects is Lavasa, an urban-planning project, which was designed to create a new city from scratch, using the most cutting-edge technologies and approaches, making it a business project. “Built on the principles of New Urbanism, Lavasa is a place where people can live, work, learn and play in harmony with nature… fulfilling their dreams of a better life and lifestyle,” says the “Lavasa will eventually house more than 300,000 people in five distinct ‘towns.’ It will also have a world-class medical campus, luxury hotels, boarding schools, sports academies, a Nick Faldo–designed golf course, a space camp, and, its developers hope, animation and film studios, software-development companies, biotech labs, and law and architectural firms—in short, all of the knowledge industries at the heart of the ‘new India’.” The city, which still raised some controversy during the process of the construction, is one of the most ambitious projects of this kind so far, with its ‘Life in Full’ core concept, the brand idea developed in cooperation with the U.S. office of Landor, which is to attract both new citizens, firms and investors. The other examples of improved models designed to update cites and turn them into a product were spotted in China (Shanghai areas rebuilt under the ‘Better City, Better Life’ tagline for the 2010 World Exhibition in the city), South Korea (Songdo International Business District), and Russia (the Skolkovo Innovation Center, a science and technology area outside Moscow).

2. Back to the past: Old is made new again

Нistory moves in cycles, this rule perfectly applies to marketing, as well. In fact, things that used to be popular come up to the surface again, causing huge buzz, and brands never miss an opportunity to capitalize on this trend. Hollywood spends a lot of time producing spin-offs and remakes, and consumer brands are treating shoppers with goods that rose from the ashes to revoke nostalgic feelings and just show how the life was twenty or thirty years ago. Some of the manufacturers use retro elements in their packaging and advertising (like Tidedid recently) or launch products with old and much-loved formulas (like PepsiCo did with itsMountain Dew and Pepsi ‘throwbacks’, which will become part of the company’s list of permanent offerings) and models (Nike launched an Air Jordan 13 Retro Playoff sneaker, its original version was introduced in 1998). Kathy Oneto figured out two major reasons why brands just love to reverse time: “First, the past speaks directly to a product’s or brand’s heritage, and heritage is one way for a brand to demonstrate authenticity or ‘realness.’ Second, for Generation X and Boomers, nostalgia brings up potent memories and emotions…that evoke strong emotions of comfort.”

3. Make it matter: Connecting with Millennials

Reaching young adults, building strong and intimate ties with people aged 17-34 now (born between 1977 and 1993) means paving the road to future success. But what does it takes to convince younger consumers that the brand is really worth their attention? Old approaches don’t usually work here. As the author of the piece states, “they [Millennials] seek in their brands what they see in themselves: real, transparent and genuine voices”, thus “to appeal to this mass, you need to be sure that there is meaning behind what you do,” “there must be a real emotional element for Millennials to embrace, as well.” Is it easy to say, but a hard thing to do? Not really, if you understand the core principles. Younger consumers can easily become a brand’s ambassadors in social networks, since sharing online feedbacks (both positive and negative) on everything they see is just part of their life. The generation of Millennials can easily create a new brand if they see a gap, and do this just with a snap of a finger (or a mouse click)—that’s how the group-buying website Groupon or AirBnB, which revolutionized the way people rent places while travelling, were created. Another way to reach the hearts and minds of the Gen Y representatives is to offer them an opportunity to shop and contribute to a good cause at the same time, which is just what Toms did with its One for One program (the brand gives one new pair of shoes for kids in need for every pair of shoes purchased)—there’re numerous examples of such beneficial programmes, revolving around charity, ecology and animal protection, and most of them are targeted at younger consumers.

4. The zeal for real: In authenticity we trust

People want to buy sustainable goods, they tend to purchase ‘real’ products made with love towards the product and the person who will use it. There’re two ways to be original and authentic: to have a rich heritage (like Ben&Jerry ice cream) and be made of natural ingredients or use craftsmanship and outstanding technique. Consumers like it when brands have strong beliefs or missions—this adds the realness to their image as well, and can help the brand look authentic even if it’s quite young. People appreciate being told truth, which can be even not that sweet as might be expected—Burt’s Bees used this and now indicates how natural its products are right on the label (the company is striving to make 100% organic personal care products, but so far only 50% of its line is fully natural, and the brand openly says it). Another way to get people trust a brand is empower them to introduce some changes in its life or influence the brand to update old approaches—like Domino Pizza did, which completely revamped the 50-year old pizza recipe based on its consumers’ comments.

5. How far can a brand stretch?: Start with credibility and permission

Are there any limits of a brand’s portfolio? To which extend can a brand add new lines? Naturally, nobody expects to see clothing collections within a nutrition or domestic appliances brand. The question is how far the brand can go here. Usually, brands enter quite predictable markets, using the logic—if you sell notebooks, your consumers might want to purchase items related to this products, like reading glasses, portable and rechargeable booklight, readers and bookstands (just like Moleskine recently did). In general, just every brand, which has been present on the market for quite a long time, has extended well beyond its initial niche with related lines—for instance, Toms has added eyewear collections,Skinny Cow is now offering candies in addition to sweet frozen indulgencies,, which started as an online book shop, is now offering all kinds of products and even developed its own e-reader the Kindle, to name but a few. “But before considering which anchor to use to stretch your brand, always begin the discussion with credibility and permission—what are the limits of your brand’s relationship with its target consumer, and what will your consumer allow you to do?” asks Kathy Oneto.

6. Rethink reinvention

The term ‘reinvention’ might be quite confusing. When does a brand need reinvention, should it be done constantly or just under critical circumstances and—most important element here—how to reinvent. The most unconventional things happen when you take two (or more) totally different things together for a bigger impact. “This reinvention of business models and this behavior of association is taking place with the marrying of ‘the power of crowds’ and the old axiom ‘take small steps,” says the review. Non-profits can be a great source of inspiration for brands when it comes to reinvention. There’s a range of new programs and companies which connect people, who want to make their small investments to support other’s private businesses or creative projects or even education— is offering people to find investors for their businesses (each of them can give $25), My Major Company and for creative talent who are seeking funding to promote their talent forth and ScholarMatch for students, who need money for education. You take somebody who can contribute and those, who need contribution and create a mutually beneficial project. As simple as that. Brands should take this into consideration.

7. Contained quarters: For dine, play or stay

Now, you can sell a product even without putting it on shelf—a lot of goods are sold and purchased via online stores and this seems to be the future of marketing world. But those, who want to keep to traditional method of displaying their merchandize but want to do it with minimal expenses and maximum of creativity and innovation, are switching to pop-up stores. Using of huge containers comes to be the new turn of this trend. Now, to open a store, you don’t need to rent a shop or build it of mortar, spending much time and money—just take a container, and you will have what you want: a cheap and stunning vending space. Here are some examples, demonstrating that this trend is live and blooming: Smitten, an ice cream shop constructed using steel instead of bricks with iPads used as cash registers, Cinco Camp, “a boutique hotel constructed out of five 8’x10’ shipping containers and designed to blend into the environment to have the least impact on the land,” and an absolutely stunning container concept, a city rolling on wheels, created by Swedish architecture firm Jagnefalt Milton. The pop-up container trend fits the modern reality perfectly—when everything is changing in a blink of an eye, these temporarily venues are a true symbol of our busy times, as long as they can be moved and removed in a matter of hours (or even minutes).

8. Beautiful & purposeful: Bringing numbers to life

Infographics are nothing new—all kinds of charts and tables, which help absorb information easily, have been in use for years, but today primarily thanks to Internet the amount of information is overwhelming and we need it to be delivered in a more structured and clear way. Simple text doesn’t work here, audience needs data visualization, and web can offer great solutions to complete this task. For instance, can generate fabulous world clouds and via Google Public Data Explorer one can find lots of datasets relating economical and demographical issues.

9. Liquid precision: When forms defy function

We have always associated liquid with instability and something that can’t be worn or used just like as solid pieces. But the world changes. “Liquid tables for contemporary environments, retail display fixtures for LVMH and even sunglasses that visually defy logic but perform just the same as geometric counterparts,” says the piece.

10. See and be seen

Today, visual component is one of the most important ones in marketing. QR codes, which have entered our life quietly and gained real power over the previous months, can be spotted just everywhere—for instance, John Fluevog featured QR codes on the shoes of his recent collection (by scanning the codes, buyers could watch videos of how the collection was made), and Diesel integrated the QR elements into shopping experience—using the codes, shoppers could like the items and this information was posted on Facebook right away. QR codes lead us into a new dimension, much needed in our tightly packed world.

In the piece, the author also adds a few other trends, which are gaining popularity today: going local (supporting local businesses and initiatives), turning small (“Staples and Kohl’swill be rolling out smaller stores as they expand”), promoting happiness (Old Navy is calling people to ‘Put on your happy life’ in its recent promotion), renting movies and celebrating ordinary people. In fact, all these trends are an example of reorganization and getting to clear and basic things, which is all about core values and making things matter (the ‘liquid’ trend seems to be the one that stands out here). Today, when we have more products than we can consume and the amount of information is overwhelming, we need everything to be put and delivered in the clearest way possible, we want to have an opportunity to get heard (that’s why all these project revolving around micro-funding and campaigns centered on ordinary people like in Levi’s ‘Ready to Work’ campaign and their positive emotions likeCoca-Cola and the ‘Happiness truck’ initiative appear). Now, if you want to appeal to people’s minds, get rid of extra details and deliver products ‘without husk’, make ideas simplified but not diluted.

Author: Anna Rudenko, editor at Popsop, marketing communications expert at BQB


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Engaging The Consumer in 2020

200,000 years ago, we began with the development of speech.
30,000 years ago, we developed symbols for communication.
7,000 years ago, we started writing.

Fast forward to 2020
Desktop computers are obsolete.
IPads are ancient technology. Can you believe we carried those big things around?
3D televisions are so 2011. It’s all about 4D interactive media.

Brands can no longer just advertise, have a Facebook page, run a contest and hope it goes viral. Brands will have to look for new ways to engage the consumer.  Here are a few of our predictions of what we will see is 2020:


Visual impact will be more important than ever. Color, shape, texture, and movement will be key to capturing the attention of the consumer. The package will be more than a 2D/3D medium to convey information; it will be a moving, living tool that interacts with each consumer.  Package design will incorporate electronic-paper that bends and shapes to your needs.  Packages will show high-resolution images, videos, moving graphics, interactive instructions, and more.  It will show you how to cook your packaged food, remind you when to take your medicine, show you how to build that new dollhouse, how to apply your mascara, it will connect you directly to customer service.

Source: Fujitsu employee Sachiko Iino displays the prototype of the electronic paper display. Photo; AFP

THE SMARTER QR CODE (enhanced QR + smarter SKU)

Social media will live on and be stronger, faster and easier than ever. Reaching people on a global scale will take a nanosecond compared to twitter. For example, you go to the store and see the amazing new Coca-Cola No.5 (This hypothetical new Coke is good for and will be recommended by physicians all over the world. Coke No.5 will give you 100% of all the vitamins and nutrients you need for the day plus an anti-ageing supplement.)  You are so excited and want to share it with all your friends. Instead of snapping a shot with your camera phone, then loading it to a twitter picture service or Facebook, you simply place your finger on the can where it says “share” and instantly it’s uploaded to your networks. Sound too scary? Well, we already have retina scans, fingerprint and hand-scan locks, and if you think about it, touch screens like your Nintendo DS, iPad and iPhone all use touch sensitive navigation. This is the future, smarter QR code.


Unlike Fresh Direct, Peapod, Netgrocer, or the gazillion other online grocery services, the future of shopping is automated, integrated and fully engaged in virtual reality. With the new, improved, and smarter QR codes, an enhanced SKU code will be integrated to every package. And in every home, from the pantry to the refrigerator, laundry room to shower, discreet product scanners will be built into the home. As you stock and use products, your smart house will keep track of what you have used and what you need.  If it’s something like detergent or shampoo, you can set up automatic re-order and delivery, as your smart house needs the products. With real time 4-D media and holographic technology, for fresh produce, you can enter the market literally from your house and pick directly from either your local green market/farmer or grocery store.  You will be able to choose the exact tomato or head of lettuce you want and have it delivered the same day.

Watch this incredible video by Corning to see the Future of Smart Houses at work.

Watch here:

Brands will have to work harder to build relationships with the consumer. As technology gets smarter, consumers will start to expect a more streamlined approach to everything, especially buying. Brands will have to utilize the new technologies to their benefit. Companies might have to spend more to have digital paper packaging, but the payoff will be enormous as consumers feel more connected to the brand. There greatest opportunity in utilizing these new and future technologies is to build brand relationships that lead to brand loyalty.


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