STATE OF AMERICA
Non-Commitment Culture –
In the American mind, renting has long symbolized a person on their way to, but not yet having achieved, the American Dream. Across the board – for goods ranging from cars to books to clothes – Americans are increasingly acclimating to the idea of giving up the stability of being an owner for the flexibility of being a renter. The new realities of our increasingly mobile economy make it more likely that this transition from an Ownership Society to a Rentership Society will unleash a wave of economic efficiency that could fuel the next boom. The recession has resulted in a hesitancy to make long-term financial commitments. As unemployment and underemployment remain realities, people will retain this mind-set into the future. The recession isn’t the only driver of this behavior — owning and using fewer goods as well as sharing those resources with others is viewed as environmentally friendly. There’s also the fact that with goods becoming digitized and living “in the cloud” there’s frequently less satisfaction in owning physical objects.
BRAVE NEW CONSUMER
More (Literally) Mobile Consumers Spur Outdoor Advertising –
The mobile phone has made people, literally, more mobile. As consumers become more connected while on the go, brands are realizing the value of the out of home (OOH) medium. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, OOH advertising has outpaced the overall ad business. OOH advertising is no longer just static billboards and posters, many have incorporated new technologies and specifically mobile phones in hopes of capturing people’s attention. In fact, in many cases, the ads themselves are simply becoming points of entry for mobile and social programs. They’re also becoming much more hyper local and timely thanks to technology that allows campaigns and messaging to be altered based on time of day, weather, demand and a variety of other factors. One such campaign from McDonald’s changes its billboard messages depending on the outside temperature, during cold weather it promotes hot coffee drinks while warm weather causes iced drinks to be shown.
AmEx, A 162 Year Old Financial Institution, Recasts Itself As A Tech (Savvy) Brand – While SXSW is the event that has catapulted such startups as Twitter and Foursquare into popularity, some will say AmEx stole the show this year when it introduced Sync. Sync is a paperless coupon program which automatically loads onto an AmEx credit card when cardholders tweet certain hashtags. Its forward thinking approach has lead to other beloved social programs like their “Link Like Love” feature on Facebook that offers discounts based on what users of the network like. The brand knows that while technology changes the landscape and their business, continuing to provide a deep service-based relationship with their customers will never change.
Want A Team To Be Creative? Make It Diverse – Groupthink brainstorming – a team where everyone in the room is likeminded, possibly works in the same department or industry, has similar perspectives and tends to agree with each other too much – are creativity killers. Too quick consensus and shared conclusions often paralyzes great teams and brainstorming sessions. The crucial element for group creativity is diversity. Innovation teams tasked with creating or iterating existing products need tension to produce breakthroughs, and tension comes from people with diverse point of views. Since problems are often times too complicated for any one approach to work, integrating diverse perspectives assures coming up with a variety of approaches.
ON THE RADAR
Watch This: YouTube Space Lab is the latest YouTube experiment in online global experiences. Launched last year in partnership with Lenovo, students were invited to upload videos explaining an idea for a science experiment that could be conducted in space. Watch the above video to see the finalists and to get to know the two global winners of the competition, who were recognized at a special award ceremony in Washington, DC.
Try This App: UCLA developed a WeTap app which supports the use of re-useable water bottles by highlighting public locations for free, clean water. WeTap relies on the world’s largest database for drinking water sources and also taps into crowdsourcing to collect updated data from its users. The app gives the location of drinking fountains using GPS and Google Maps, rates the quality of the faucets, and shares the news with other users
Or Try This App: Nestle’s Kit Kat released an app designed to help manage the stresses of social media by giving users a much needed break. The Social Break app links with accounts on Twitter and Facebook and will automatically post status updates for users. Additionally, people will no longer have to hit the Like, Re-tweet or Share button every time they are tagged in a post. Social Break provides an easy way for busy bodies to tune out from the stress of social networking.