GREY [matter] March 2017 GREY [matter] March 2017
The latest in digital shifts, consumer trends and creative ideas.
March 6, 2017
Why do we want our brands made from rubbish?
It’s one of society’s great ironies. We’re consuming more than ever - food, gadgets, clothes, holidays, and experiences; but we’re conscious of its environmental and societal effect. It means we’re drawn to products with positive impact. It satisfies our conflicting urges: a need for the new and a desire to do good. Purpose-led brands like Patagonia are coming to the fore, while others are adapting to consumer sentiment. Adidas just launched swimwear up-cycled from fishing nets and will make a million shoes from harvested ocean plastic. H&M, synonymous with profligate fast fashion, launched a collection made from recycled plastics. People expect more of brands beyond taking a stance and raising awareness, they demand action. [More: Adidas Parley, Huffington Post]
VR: a deeper level of humanity or addictive distraction?
Virtual Reality [VR] will make digital truly interactive and immersive. But does it risk further breaking connection or will it create a deeper experience? Facebook found VR helps people connect more quickly and authentically. And the creators of ‘Clouds Over Sidra’, a VR film about a Syrian child refugee, argues it stimulates empathy far beyond other mediums. It's early in VR’s development, which has so far focused on gaming and film. But as it gets better, it gets more realistic; as it gets cheaper, it gets more accessible. It means more creation of VR apps, services, and experiences. It means more of our activity like connection, education, work, and entertainment will happen in the virtual world. Optimists believe VR will be the most human way to connect. Most agree that, like the internet democratized information, VR has the potential to democratize everything about human experience. [More: Facebook Insights, Within]
How Ikea is evolving our lives to micro-living
Life is increasingly urban. The majority of us live in high-density areas; there are now 28 megacities which have 10 million plus inhabitants [UN]. Reasons for this are complex: the youth delaying traditional steps into adulthood such as marriage and children, economies titling from manufacturing to the service industries which are focused in cities, and the unreachable expense of buying a home. Urbanisation means space is at a premium and homes are shrinking. Ikea saw this and has been designing multi-functional furniture for small spaces, such as its phone-charging lamp. Now with its ‘square meter challenge’, Ikea is seeking to inspire how to live smartly in tiny spaces. [More: AdWeek]
Your voice: the next operating system
Pushing buttons and clicking, swiping screens and tapping. This is how we today interact with our increasingly digitised world. But the next wave of control will be through our voice. Use of digital assistants will jump 390 million to 1.8 billion in five years [Tractica]. Voice’s rise is personified by Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant. Alexa is however much more than an assistant, it’s in the running to be the next computing platform. It's a critical issue, as whoever develops the platform controls the rules for devices and apps as well as our interaction with it. The now 10,000 Alexa apps [known as ‘Skills’] use AI to listen for and execute commands; it means people can play music, plan a holiday or order a pizza by simply speaking. Voice-first platforms will be even more pervasive than PCs or phones as they can be baked into any device; Alexa is already in speakers, TVs, fridges, and cars. Voice not only alters how brands design products and services, but changes our interaction with the digital world as it makes it more intuitive, more human, and it removes friction from the experience. [More: Vox, Tom’s Guide]
Health is now a lifestyle brand
Healthy lifestyles are on-trend; fitness wear is now fashion. Projecting an image of health is now a key part of the identity of many, it’s why people wear the likes of Lululemon during the non-exercising part of their daily lives. Tapping into this trend, ideas man and serial-entrepreneur, Richard Branson launched Virgin Sports and events dubbed Festivals of Sport. It's exercise with an entertainment skew; activities such as bootcamps, yoga, and road races are mingled with music, food, and entertainment. Fitness is becoming even more ubiquitous in our lifestyles as healthy has transformed from something we are, to who we are. [More: Virgin Sport, Fast Company]
Meet the dress made from data
Google and fashion label Ivyrevel want to make clothes personalised, based on your activity and lifestyle. They’ll do it via an app which tracks what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, and the environment where it’s happening. Within a week the data is used to create a dress that’s tailored for your life. Products and services are becoming personalised due to the trail of data we’re leaving. It’s Big Brother-like, but we’re generally happy to hand over this detailed data picture of our lives as long as we opt-in, the purpose of collection is transparent, and it provides us value. [More: Ivyrevel]
The professionalisation of the hustler
Why are growing numbers turning to informal and intermittent work? Is economic stagnation holding back an ambitious generation who are forced into these jobs? Or is it merely the emergence of platforms giving people flexibility to make money from their imagination, skills, and time? It’s a bit of both. More than 40% of Europe’s youth are trapped in low-paid, temporary work; while half of Uber’s 160,000 US drivers are under 39, and half of them are highly educated [Uber]. On the flip side, nearly three-quarters are desperate to shun traditional work and make it independently [Canvas8]. Whether it’s developing an entertainment business via social, hawking craft on Etsy, or selling skills on Upwork; digital platforms offer an avenue to earn on the side or full-time. [More: NYT]
Mar 6, 2017