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The relentless pursuit of self-improvement is giving way to self-transformation, with the pandemic having acted as a catalyst for personal growth. People's definition of wellness is constantly evolving, moving beyond the physical to encompass mental, emotional, spiritual and social health. In fact, 76% of global citizens now say that mental health and physical health are equally important. This reprioritization means that every brand needs to ideate how to integrate wellness into 2023's products, services, experiences, campaigns and more.
In June 2022, Tokyo-based logistics and media company Onken launched employee badges displaying roleplaying game-style hit point gauges. Each employee received three different colored badges to help them express their current condition while indirectly letting their co-workers know how much capacity they have for extra assignments, overtime and work.
When it comes to contributing to the AGE OF HEALING, look inward first. 41% of US employees say that their employer does not offer resources to support them with mental wellbeing. Appoint a CPO, as siggi’s did, or consider providing tools to help your staff monitor their work-life balance.
💡 How will you help your employees and colleagues achieve mental resilience?
Pinterest announced a first-of-its-kind global partnership with Headspace in October 2022, offering tools to manage stress, increase positivity, and improve sleep. The partnership gave hundreds of thousands of eligible creators access to a free six-month subscription to Headspace across 20 countries globally, from Brazil to Japan.
Concerned that your brand doesn't have wellbeing expertise? Collaborating with organizations that do is essential. Check out Headspace's recent efforts — they have partnerships in nearly every industry. The right partnership could help you cater to over 75% of people worldwide who say that mental health and physical health are equally important.
💡 What would a Headspace collaboration with your brand look like?
Early 2022, Dutch chocolate brand Tony's Chocolonely announced it would face its own demon: sugar. The company laid out a series of planned steps to battle overconsumption, which includes running campaigns to help customers make better choices (that is: eat less chocolate!), and pushing for a broad sugar tax in the Netherlands.
Let’s be real: consumers aren’t going to stop eating junk food or endlessly scrolling TikTok. But the brands that provide those products and services will increasingly be expected to counteract the poor habits they generate. This is not a trend to dive into headfirst. Start small by first ensuring you’re connected with your workforce and their habits, allowing wellbeing to flourish from the inside out.
💡 Which detrimental habits will you help consumers counteract?
After decades of progress, artificial intelligence and robotics are moving out of the lab and becoming integrated into consumers' day-to-day lives. Strong consumer uptake, combined with a growing skills shortage and an urgent need for contactless solutions, has set the stage for a new wave of automation that promises to augment the human experience. This is important, as 43% of consumers say technology advancements have complicated their lives just as much as they have simplified things. Think 2023-2030 on this one.
To combat inflation and the rising cost of fuel, Australia's CommBank piloted a new in-app fuel finder feature that helps drivers find the cheapest prices in their local area. The AI-powered tool learns the user’s fuel spending patterns to predict when they may next need to refuel and then reminds them ahead of time about the cheapest option nearby.
81% of UK and US consumers expect more self-service options than they’re currently being offered. Take into account various crises and the subsequent pricing boom, and you’ll discover that automated time-savers that help consumers deal with this financial reality — and mitigate its impact — are considered the GOAT.
💡 How will you leverage AI to help consumers get more bang for their buck?
California-based Fairplay, which describes itself as a 'fairness-as-a-service' provider, uses AI to reduce algorithmic bias in lending. The technology assesses whether applicants declined by the primary algorithm resemble 'good' borrowers in ways that weren't previously considered — meaning more applicants from underserved groups can be approved for loans.
As the use of AI and machine learning has scaled up, so too have concerns that the technology perpetuates historical patterns of discrimination. And while this is particularly true in the financial services sector, it's something any industry — from mobility to recruitment — that's deploying algorithms should be aware of.
💡 How will you ensure your existing AI and algorithms are ethical and unbiased?
Launched in October 2022, InteriorAI is an AI-powered image generator that can show users different ways to redesign a space. Users upload an image of their home, and browse through 17 preselected styles, such as 'tropical', 'maximalist', 'biophilic', or even 'cyberpunk'.
Ever since the rise of creative AI tools like DALL·E, there’s been an influx of services that help both consumers and businesses achieve next-level creativity. A magazine cover designed by AI? Check. Turning thoughts and memories into vibrant colors? Been there, done that. Even urban planning has received an automated overhaul.
💡 How will you help democratize creativity by utilizing the influx of AI tools?
Using demographic segmentation to predict consumer behavior is a thing of the past. Markers such as age, gender and social status are no longer an indicator of the way consumers behave, and they haven't been for a while. Instead, catering to values, passions, convictions and attitudes is the way to reach consumers' hearts. Targeting demographics just scratches the surface. In 2023, will you dig deep or stay shallow?
For people who suffer from hand tremors, using a smart device can be highly challenging — involuntary shaking makes it tough to read and navigate on touchscreens. Using a tablet's built-in accelerometers, a browser called Staybl can compensate for tremors by creating virtual countermovements.
When thinking of ways to apply BEHAVI:OUR to your business, the first step should be to assess whether or not your offering is accessible to everyone. Can people who are illiterate use it? How about people living with disabilities? Basically, can it be used by everyone? If the answer is no, check how your offering holds up against Universal Design principles.
💡 How will you turn barriers into expectation-setting innovations?
Dating app Bumble allows women to make the first move. In July 2022, the company expanded the options that users have when sharing their gender identity in dating profiles. Nonbinary folks could choose from a list of identities, but after users changed their gender from 'woman' to 'nonbinary,' they were blocked from initiating a conversation.
Bumble responded by updating its app, allowing nonbinary folks to start the conversation with their matches, regardless of gender. In 2022, 42% of brands are still making consumers feel unwelcome because of their gender, race, age, religion, or sexuality.
💡 How can you embed post-demographic thinking into every part of your business operations?
Dove launched a Roblox game, which it claims is the first to specifically help girls combat negative self-esteem. Super U Story is situated at a school. Players dodge and destroy poisonous negativity by finding their unique superpowers of flight, fire, water, or speed. It’s part of a broader set of commitments Dove is making to challenge the representation of girls, women, and beauty in gaming.
Although society is moving towards a post-demographic world, some demographic groups struggle to shake the shackles of the past. Think queer people struggling with internalized homophobia, BIPOC dealing with generational trauma, and children weighed down by gender-related norms.
💡 How can you help consumers transcend their demographic stereotypes?
In today's hyper-competitive, increasingly values-driven consumer arena, authenticity is mandatory — it's not a guaranteed way to stand out. Consumers will appreciate brands that are open and vulnerable, but they'll advocate for, celebrate and show loyalty towards those that make real progress on social and environmental change and empower them to do the same. In 2023 and beyond, brands are expected to be at the forefront of purposed change.
Alibaba launched a carbon ledger program dubbed Carbon88 across its ecosystem in August 2022. Users earn points for uploading proof of their low-carbon choices, such as riding public transport and bringing their cups to coffee shops. The accumulated points unlock digital badges and discounts on the platform.
Brands and institutions are, and will always be, responsible for turning the climate crisis around, but with 1 billion Asian citizens set to join the middle class by the end of this decade — alongside middle-class growth in other regions — it's crucial to nudge people in the right direction. Turn your sustainability road map into a joint (green!) road trip with rewards for tagging along.
💡 How will you incentivize purposed behavior?
In Q1 2022, Utah-based TAB Bank launched TAB Flow, a debit card that rewards customers with fractional shares of stocks every time they make a purchase. The bank calls it spendvesting. A free, basic account earns cardholders 0.5% stock rewards on eligible purchases from brands like Amazon, Disney and Starbucks.
It caters to those who don't have the time or knowledge to start investing on their own and addresses the growing number of consumers who are increasingly uncomfortable about the inequalities generated by global capitalism. Rethinking the stake your staff, customers and the earth (Patagonia!) have in your business is one way to supercharge your value.
💡 How will you redistribute profits in pursuit of a better, more equitable future?
Apple’s legal team announced that it’s collaborating with policymakers and advocacy groups to develop strategies, file court briefs and recruit allies from other big companies to oppose bills in multiple US states that target gay and transgender people. Apple’s executives have urged other large brands to join the effort.
As right-wing politics continue to gain ground across the globe, so do the number of laws created to restrict bodily autonomy, stigmatize marginalized communities and limit freedom of speech. What legal challenges do your consumers face and how can your brand rally behind their cause?
💡 How can your brand pressure governmental institutions to act in everyone’s best interest?
A desire to combine work and purpose continues to merge with new, even lower-friction creator tools and media platforms - transforming old economic models and standards. Whether it's through creating content, selling goods and services or renting out excess assets, even more consumers in 2023 will become their own businesses. Almost one-third of global citizens say that they have started a business at some point — and they're looking to brands for assistance. How will you co-create and perhaps co-lead with this soon-to-be majority?
Since 1935, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has held a yearly exhibition of staff artwork. While all submissions are accepted, the show itself has always been off-limits to everyone but employees and their guests. But in June 2022, The Met let the public in. Art Work: Artists Working at the Met features pieces by 450 of the museum's workers.
Drawing on your employees and colleagues as a creative force is a secure way to dabble in the Creator Economy. It provides room to experiment and try new things before expanding your co-create efforts outside office walls. Will you feature staff in your next campaign or allow interns to design your next product line?
💡 How will you utilize the creative skills of your workforce, from interns to CEO?
TikTok now provides all users access to a beta platform for creating augmented reality filters, a service that was previously limited to just 450 creators. The platform’s Effect House offers tools and documentation to help people make their own AR filters. TikTok’s initiative demonstrates how brands can lower barriers to entry for the Creator Economy.
This isn’t a niche segment, as 70% of Gen Z and 67% of Millennials globally say they’re considering earning additional income through a side project in the coming year. How to facilitate SIDE-HUSTLE HEROES? Simplify payment processes, provide a platform for selling their services, or simply offer them a place to work.
💡 Identify how your brand can become part of the creator ecosystem.
DeStore is a DAO-operated brick-and-mortar retail store, meaning that (in theory), anyone can become a co-owner of the brand. To get in, partners-to-be buy one of three NFT keys, each unlocking different perks ranging from access to a chat group for owners, to managing profits and voting on product and brand curation.
DAOs and conventional business models can co-exist, similar to how NYX Professional Makeup launched GORJS, a DAO focused on developing 3D artistry and digital make-up. The transferable insight? DAOs supercharge creativity through decentralization and open up new avenues of co-creation that weren’t accessible before.
💡 What's the web3 version of your current product offering? And how can you leverage and incentivize online-first communities to make the next leap?
Inundated with an avalanche of new products, services and information, consumers are seeking out curation. And while the need for curation has been around for decades, new tools and tech offer consumers the chance to explore interests, values and even identities in a way that’s only limited by the boundaries of the user’s imagination. This means that mainstream culture is dead to many, so crafting that personal and seamless formula has become essential. Relevance-as-a-service is the name of the game. The rules? One size fits one.
Spotify Advertising and easyJet teamed up in August 2022 to help those experiencing wanderlust — but feeling a little wander-lost — find their next travel destination. With easyJet’s new Listen & Book tool, listeners can find suggestions for their next European vacation based on the music they listen to. (And yes, this would have been even cooler if initiated by a railway company 😉)
The initiative speaks to those entering the purchasing process unaware of what they want. In fact, 60% of consumers say their priorities keep changing due to everything that’s happening in the world. But they do know they want brands to help them make the right decision.
💡 How can you guide consumers toward customized recommendations? Preferably without a survey in sight!
In June 2022, Sterling Alternative Finance launched Altinvest, Nigeria's first ethical investment platform. Investment options are centered on various sectors such as agriculture and real estate, but all are focused on wealth creation for investors and supporting economic activities directed toward inclusion, growth and development.
When a product is anchored in purpose, it allows for deeper levels of personalization — and therefore brand connection — based on core values and principles. Why does that matter? 79% of people globally said that they make a special effort to buy from brands that are aligned with their personal values.
💡 How will you provide choice curation that moves beyond the superficial?
April 2022 saw adidas Originals collaborate with Ready Player Me on personality-based, AI-generated avatar creation. Users answered questions relating to their style and personality to create a digital self that can be taken to other avatar platforms; Ready Player Me offers interoperability with 1,500+ metaverse apps and games.
The online world has long enabled people to build their own identities, but new tools provide near-limitless opportunities for creation and curation. It’s not surprising that 2 in 5 US members of Gen Z say self-expression in the digital world is more important than expressing themselves in the physical world.
💡 How can your brand help people explore and communicate every aspect of their identity in virtual worlds?
Pre-pandemic, consumers faced daily challenges — climate change, rising income inequality, threats of terrorism and more. But COVID-19 was one threat too many, and a state of global anxiety ensued. One powerful remedy to combat the feeling of languishing? FUN! With 2022 being the year when permacrisis reached popular vernacular, it makes sense that 72% of Gen Z worldwide now name fun as their number one value. How will you help spread this state of (purposed) play across demographics in 2023? Consumers are counting on you.
Recognizing the power of a good song, the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Informatics teamed up with two well-known Indonesian musicians to create 'Berani Bersuara <3<3.' The song encourages speaking up and thinking before acting to counter online hazards like the spread of false information and hoaxes, as well as unethical behaviors such as intimidation, hate speech and fraud.
Those dangers ring true globally, as 70% of people across 19 surveyed countries see the online spread of misinformation as a top threat. And that doesn’t just apply to politics. Think of how you can bust persistent myths within your industry and explore how you can engage consumers while doing so.
💡 How will you provide consumers with some truth serum?
In time for Star Wars Day 2022 (aka May the 4th), the franchise collaborated with Headspace on breathing exercises voiced by Star Wars characters, as well as themed sleepcasts. For time-stretched Jedis, the mindfulness app released 'Breathe with Star Wars' —short, animated exercises featuring Yoda and other well-known characters.
The deeper layer? Ongoing polarization and inequality are prompting many to seek out new forms of escapism. Innovations that infuse mini-mental-mindbreaks with wellbeing benefits – see Age of Healing for more on that – are sure to attract praise, especially at a time when mental health is under immense pressure. From kids to adults, the need for easy and entertaining self-care is one for all.
💡 How will you make practicing self-care fun and effortless?
To encourage women to perform regular self-exams, breast cancer nonprofit Macma hosted an interactive exhibition at a Buenos Aires museum in Q2 2022. Full-scale copies were made of paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Raphael, featuring 3D-molded breasts showing signs of what might have been cancer.
When it comes to complex and potentially unnerving information, showing usually beats telling. Check out vegetable-themed condoms for over-65s and paint made from actual human blood for some risqué inspo. Of global consumers, 75% approve of brands providing light-hearted content. But one consumer’s hilarious is another's deeply offensive, so tread carefully!
💡 How will you translate complex matters into an easy-to-understand message?
Polarn O. Pyret, a Swedish children's apparel company, announced in October 2022 that it was ceasing production of rainwear and rain boots. The move aligns with the brand's goal to only use sustainable materials, a requirement that the brand's waterproof clothing cannot currently meet.
Actions like these are slowly becoming the norm, especially when targeting younger consumers, as Gen Z ranks authenticity as being more important than almost any other product and company attribute. Your response? Being transparent about your impact on both planet and consumer, and admitting when mistakes are made.
💡 What does a completely honest version of your brand look like? Be honest! ;)
Chocolate maker Koa is turning to the blockchain to show consumers exactly how much it’s paying farmers in Ghana. Every time the Swiss brand makes a mobile payment to a farmer, the amount of Ghanaian cedi paid is automatically logged on a blockchain, along with the farmer’s name and the kilograms of cocoa beans or pulp they sold.
These extensive measures are necessary in a time where nearly 6 in 10 consumers globally say their default tendency is to distrust something until they see evidence that it’s trustworthy. Time to elevate your ethical stories with irrefutable facts.
💡 How will you put your social and ethical metrics front and center?
On a wall above a bar in Rio de Janeiro, a Heineken billboard proclaims that it's cooling your beer. The billboard is made of solar panels connected to a Brewteco bar below. The out-of-home campaign is part of a comprehensive strategy by the beer brand to help 50% of its points of sale switch to renewable energy by 2030.
When 'what does sustainability mean?' is still the most Googled sustainability-related phrase of the year, educators, governments, climate activists and businesses (!) aren’t getting through. To reach consumers, prioritize green initiatives that are easy to grasp and clearly impactful.
💡 How will you bring your sustainability activations to life and highlight the tangible values they offer?
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Even as endlessly evolving technologies and platforms for digital encounters continue to reshape the way we connect with each other, more and more people around the world feel lonely and isolated. Because even though pandemic lockdowns are (hopefully!) a thing of the past, 33% of people worldwide experience feelings of loneliness. Therefore, in 2023, consumers will value and show support to brands that help foster connections that are genuine, supportive, and meaningful.
Built by a diverse team of engineers from Nigeria, Egypt, India and the US, Agbora caters primarily to African citizens and the African diaspora. The platform was developed as a place for professionals to express themselves, grow their circles of friends and contacts, facilitate meaningful relationships and promote opportunities by helping users share experiences and learn from each other.
Agbora is part of a larger wave of initiatives that help people bond with like-minded folks over common interests. Whether it’s travel, Pokémon Go or digital nomadism, people are looking for meaningful connections and expect brands to help kickstart the conversation.
💡 How will you help consumers connect over the values you represent?
Remento, an LA-based company focused on preserving family stories, recently launched a new app that provides conversation prompts to inspire family members to share stories about their lives. Consumers — whose expectations are primed by the digital services that transformed their connections to strangers — bring a new mindset to bear on close relationships with family members, friends and local communities.
Over the course of the pandemic, those communal bonds grew closer. Now, people are looking for tools that assist them in finding time, dealing with logistics and enhancing experiences when they connect to those that mean the most.
💡 What can you offer to help people strengthen bonds within their inner circles?
Scotch & Soda collaborated with Salesforce and AE Studio to transform the Dutch fashion brand's traditional loyalty program into an NFT-driven web3 community called Club Soda 3.0. The September 2022 launch included minting one of 1,000 Founder’s Pass NFTs, which serve as a key to the web3 community and its exclusive experiences, events and brand offers.
Web3 is ushering in a new era of brand communities, as it allows companies to launch token-gated initiatives and enables consumers to own aspects of the communities they’re part of. With 47% of US Gen Z having joined a digital community, the time to launch one of your own is now.
💡 How will you foster a brand community that’s mutually beneficial?
As physical and digital worlds continue to converge, we're witnessing the next online evolution. While yesterday’s web was dominated by websites and the infinite scroll of social media, the next iteration is defined by virtual worlds, metaverses and augmented realities. And even though the metaverse isn’t quite here yet, web3 and all of its implications are already impacting most frontiers of society, as 64% of consumers globally have already purchased a virtual good or taken part in a virtual experience or service. Crunch time is now.
In June 2022, Brazilian future studies school Aerolito announced a five-day program focusing on innovation. Aerolito’s learning process kicks off with a class hosted in the metaverse, giving participants a first-hand experience of one of the technologies covered in the program.
These types of educational programs are much-needed. Despite the hype and headlines, 13% of workers globally say they don't know what 'metaverse' means. So let’s start with the ABCs of NFTs, web3 and everything in between. Because even though predictions vary, the direction of travel is clear. How will you prepare for a new e-conomy that’s set to grow with a CAGR of 39.4% from 2022 to 2030?
💡 Before entering the metaverse, you need to understand its core principles.
HSBC's annual Red Hot Festival is one of Hong Kong's most notable brand activations. In August 2022, HSBC took it into the metaverse, creating a SUMMERverse experience within Minecraft. Any player could collect treasures to enter a draw for a cash reward, showcasing how virtual spaces can be leveraged to democratize access to otherwise exclusive events.
Similarly, Rock in Rio and Coca-Cola hosted Rock in Verse, a digital twin of the IRL event that allowed new audiences to experience one of the world’s largest festivals without paying for tickets – priced at nearly half the country's monthly minimum wage – or travel and accommodation.
💡 How will you develop virtual experiences that provide real-world value while also democratizing access?
A blockchain-based, direct-to-community video platform, Shibuya offers creators a way to crowdfund videos and web series while giving their backers a say in creative direction. One of the first shows on the platform, an anime series called White Rabbit, allows users to decide between two options on what happens after the pilot. Viewers need to purchase and mint a Producer Pass NFT and stake it to cast a vote for either path.
Shibuya shows how leveraging web3 tech can completely revolutionize the consumer-brand binary, offering deeper levels of engagement than were ever possible with web2. See our NICHE NETS trend briefing for more.
💡 How can you utilize web3 tech to claim your spot in the community economy?
Roe v. Wade, the war in Ukraine, COP27, protests in Iran… Unprecedented social and environmental challenges have gone hand-in-hand with a loss of trust in central authorities, mainstream ideologies, institutions, and 'the elites'. Around the world, people are taking their frustrations to the streets, to chat rooms and their employers, exposing social and ecological injustices while building a new system. A large majority of youth worldwide is now involved in a social or political cause, fighting for a system without gatekeepers that's powered by — and crucially for — the people.
Munroe Bergdorf — a model and ambassador for French cosmetics brand L’Oréal — has talked openly about how the brand used its past errors to build a more inclusive company culture. In 2017, Bergdorf was fired as an ambassador for comments made on social media about systemic racism but was swiftly rehired in 2020 after calling L’Oréal out on its hypocrisy for publicly supporting Black Lives Matter.
In a time when brands are already working with collectives for greater accountability, how can you take it one step further? Now’s the time to conduct a – preferably external – JEDI audit. If you don’t, somebody else will!
💡 How will you objectively measure where you stand on the gatekeeping spectrum, both within and outside your office walls?
Motorola unveiled its Cherokee interface as part of an effort to safeguard the endangered Indigenous language through younger generations, building on the brand’s earlier addition of support of South America’s endangered Kaingang and Nheengatu languages. Cherokee speakers can now entirely navigate their smartphones in Cherokee.
The initiative is one of many that indicate a shift from an era where brands existed to sell products, to one where brands are designed to create culture – the culture is now the product. As groups around the world are put under pressure, whether as a result of globalization or geopolitical tension, the role of culture guardian will only become more important.
💡 Which local voices can you boost and spotlight?
Stackwell is an investment platform aimed at encouraging Black families in the US to invest. It offers robo-investing, so users don't need extensive investment knowledge. More than just an easy-to-use product, Stackwell was designed to reduce social and cultural barriers to investment.
As stock ownership is split dramatically along racial lines – white Americans own nearly 90% of all stocks in the US – efforts need to be made to redistribute wealth and create a more equitable and honest economic system. Helping marginalized communities acquire assets is one way; involving them in every step of your business operations is another.
💡 How will you adapt your offering to be FOR & BUY the groups you’re trying to serve?
Safety is the most basic of human needs. But in today's world, it's increasingly fragile. Nearly one in eight people globally are on the move, 92% of world citizens are concerned about the risk of a recession, while 70% of consumers across 19 surveyed countries see the spread of misinformation online as a top threat… Facing a future that's more uncertain than ever before, consumers are looking for brands to help them build resilience. In 2023, how will you equip them with the tools needed to survive and thrive?
Hard seltzer brand White Claw unveiled a temporary mural designed during a heatwave in London that saw temperatures hit record highs. The brand installed a six-meter cooling wall, covered in heat-proof paint and cooling mats. Overheated passersby could stand by the wall to lower their body temperature.
Increasingly, consumers care little about what brands say; it’s all about what they do to make the world better. Agility isn’t limited to startups, so leverage your resources to respond near-instantly in a crisis. For more opportunities, see how the White House and the Heritage Foundation help people manage the effects of climate change.
💡 In a crisis, ask what existing infrastructure or services you can immediately employ.
In September 2022, Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court and WhatsApp released digital stickers to combat misinformation during general elections. The release included 12 stickers plus an animated one, all aimed at engaging young voters and offering additional information to prevent the spread of false news through WhatsApp.
Disinformation campaigns on social media continue to influence elections around the world. In 2020, the Oxford Internet Institute found evidence of organized social media manipulation campaigns in 81 countries, up from 70 in 2019. Real-time sharing can help citizens police, educate and protect each other. Can you help the crowds spot misinformation?
💡 Use your internal expertise and reputation to let the truth shine through.
The COVID-19 and Climate Resilience Program from NGO Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE) provides leadership, strategy and technical training for 60 women to scale their climate initiatives. Offering a global alliance of peers, mentors and funders, September 2022 saw WISE host an event in Kaduna State, Nigeria to reach local women.
Most consumers believe that governments alone can’t tackle challenges posed by the climate crisis, job automation and rising inequality. They're looking to businesses (see Natwest and Accor) to gain the knowledge, skills, connections and platforms they need to thrive in a disrupted future.
💡 Facilitate new habits and lifestyle changes that help consumers future-proof themselves.
The impending purpose economy is on a collision course with demands for universal convenience, as instant anything often comes at an environmental and social cost. For many conflicted consumers, there's a growing tension between purchase and purpose. But as inflation bumps into the shift towards more conscious consumerism, more consumers will assess the value an item or service delivers both now and in the long term. Your call to action? Soothe their struggle and offer convenience without the culpability.
In September 2022, Canadian debit network Interac released a music track to promote mindful spending. According to the interbank network, two-thirds of Canadians are practicing ‘intentional spending’ — making purposeful purchasing decisions that live up to their financial goals and personal values.
Spending ‘better’ doesn’t just mean being mindful. JD.com’s green-labeled products delve into eco-credentials within the supply chain; chocolate maker KOA uses blockchain tech to promote transparency around paying cocoa farmers. The best MINDFUL POSSESSIONS are smartly-designed products that offer benefits without consumers even noticing.
💡 Could your forward-thinking solutions help consumers spend better before they even spot a problem?
LG Electronics presented its table-top air purifier, the PuriCare Objet Collection, in August 2022. Available in three colors and two shapes, the furniture combines aesthetic design and air purification while integrating wireless charging and mood lighting. LG also announced collaborations with artists such as Kim Sun-woo.
When it comes to their health, many have good intentions: 60% of people from 31 markets say they want to be healthier, but just 28% have made major changes. This gap between aspirations and action opens an opportunity for accessible monitoring tools and products that make mental and physical health changes easier than ever before.
💡 How can you tackle wellness taboos and ensure healthcare access is available to all?
Sweden-based Electrolux introduced GRO, an AI-powered kitchen concept that explores how kitchen products can contribute to eating more sustainably. The modular system nudges people to eat less but better meat by discovering local sources of protein and harnessing techniques previously used to prepare meat, such as smoking.
Electrolux is questioning whether home design can encourage people to adopt more sustainable and healthier habits. With the scale of global problems sometimes leading to inaction, brands can inspire consumers to adopt a more purposed lifestyle through small, incremental steps.
💡As habits change, how might you nudge people towards better behavior? Bonus points for integrating into a consumer's immediate environment.
The now near-universal celebration of place tends to focus on authenticity, relevance, local pride and storytelling. And while consumers appreciate brands that help them embrace place, moving forward they will have particular affection for the brands that also actively work to make those spaces better in 2023 (read: more sustainable and equitable).
August 2022 saw Instituto Socioambiental open Floresta no Centro, a store in downtown São Paulo selling decorative and edible goods. Meaning 'forest in the center', products are made by indigenous, quilombola or riverine communities who defend Brazil’s wilderness. The store hosts regular events to share their stories.
From tech-fueled lifestyles to aging populations, consumers are battling a rising sense of social isolation. Physical retail spaces can tap into peoples’ pride of place, narrow the gap between urban and rural populations, and support nature’s guardians.
💡 How can you strengthen local ties through activations that also allow consumers to (re)connect with each other?
As part of the Bosk project (hosted during Arcadia art festival), volunteers walked 1,000 native trees through the city center of Leeuwarden, Netherlands, calling on inhabitants to reconsider the link between humanity and nature. At the end of the 100-day project, the trees were given a permanent home in the local area.
As work continues to become untethered from offices, brands, governments, and local authorities will need to do more to incentivize urban living. Brands can create spaces that enhance wellbeing and focus on urban healing, using green spaces to promote more equitable and sustainable societies — even avoiding premature deaths.
💡 How can your brand nurture cities that prioritize wellbeing and create urban healing?
The Coast Mountain College opened a building on the ancestral lands of the Tsimshian Kitsumkalum First Nation in Terrace, British Columbia, to provide culturally supportive housing for indigenous students. HCMA collaborated with local First Nations representatives on the design and materials.
Pop-ups are fun, but consumers expect brands to make lasting commitments to their local area, becoming effective agents of local civic transformation and, in some cases, even replacing public services. To safeguard heritage and the future, co-creation is a viable option — just ensure you’re demonstrating values shared by the community and your brand.
💡 How can you embed human connection and cultural expression into the (lasting) spaces you occupy?
The consequences of unbridled consumption weigh heavily on the conscience of a growing number of people. This group will embrace more mindful modes of consumption (think: refrain, reduce, regenerate) that don’t just tackle the adverse effects of consumption and indulgence, but actually cut out entire parts of their usual buying habits. 87% of business leaders expect to increase their sustainability investments in 2023/24. Are you ready to take it to the next level and become UNCONSUMED?
Nigeria-based Quadloop turns electronic waste into products such as solar lanterns and aims to source 70% of its materials from e-waste, including recycling lithium batteries from old laptops. Quadloop's lamps help small businesses stay productive during power outages. The startup came third in the 2022 Gulf Information Technology Exhibition.
In 2021, globally discarded e-waste weighed more than the Great Wall of China and just 17.4% was properly recycled. If you can’t reduce social and environmental impacts of extraction and manufacturing, then reduce the amount of e-waste entering landfills (see Elkjøp), or keep devices in use longer with repair and resale systems instead.
💡 What incentives can you offer to consumers to recycle their e-waste?
KFC Singapore is trialing food packaging that can be converted into commercial-grade fertilizer. The packaging is made from a mixture of paper and plant-based plastics; further collaborations to make the system scalable will follow.
'Grab-go-throw' is dead! Consumers believe it’s up to brands and governments to change: 85% of Britons are concerned about plastic packaging, but just 3% believe the responsibility lies with them. Beyond reducing your product’s impact, limit the amount of waste produced in the first place — see CoffeeB and Woolybubs. Do the work for your consumers and create alternatives that are more compelling and more convenient.
💡 How will you help consumers give a second life to the waste your products leave behind?
US-based Aether makes lab-grown diamonds from carbon that’s been removed from the atmosphere, using carbon collected by Climeworks in Switzerland. Aether announced B Corp status in February 2022, which it says makes it the only diamond company with the certification.
It's harder than ever to distinguish real from fake. From fake news to deep fakes, we're well-versed in the damaging impact of hoaxes. But when compared to their conventional counterparts, many lab-grown, synthetic, cell-cultured alternatives have improved sustainability benefits and ethical credentials. Turn 'fake' into a more desirable option, if not a better one!
💡 Satisfy a new kind of status amongst consumers where guilt-free trumps exclusive.
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Camilla van Grembergen
Design & Production
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