Monthly Archives: August 2012

AUGUST 2012 // ISSUE 37

STATE OF AMERICA

No Car, No Home, No Problem – We’ve already noted that Millennials don’t care about owning a car. While some say it’s a temporary side effect of the recession, others point to it as a permanent generational shift in tastes and spending habits. Just as car sales have plummeted among this age cohort, the share of young people getting their first mortgage between 2009 and 2011 is half of what it was just 10 years ago, according to a Federal Reserve study. While 9 out of 10 Millennials say they eventually want a place of their own, according to a recent Fannie Mae survey, this generation’s path to home­ownership is fraught with obstacles: low pay, low savings and tighter lending standards from banks. Still, within the next decade, a group of people the size of California’s population will likely come together to form new households. The question is: where and in what manner? It seems that Millennials’ residential aspirations appear to be changing just as significantly as their driving habits. The old cul-de-sacs of Revolutionary Road and Desperate Housewives have fallen out of favor with Generation Y. Now, there is a rising preference for city centers and what some developers call urban light – denser suburbs with smaller, more affordable houses that revolve around a walkable town center. The largest generation in American history might never spend as lavishly as its parents did nor on the same things.

 

Via The Atlantic

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Game Changers: Women Sports Fans – Millions of die-hard female fans are changing the face of pro sports in this country. Until recently, the best a female fan could hope for was a lone rack of too-tight bubble-gum-hued jerseys sidelined in a corner at concession stands, a strategy baseball marketers dubbed “shrink it and pink it.” Leagues have finally caught on that women have become crucial to the fan base. Some 67 million women count themselves baseball fans – that’s just over half of baseball’s audience. Other major league sports have enjoyed similar gains: 44% of football fans are women and 37% enjoy basketball. An estimated 43 million female viewers tuned in to the Super Bowl earlier this year, making it more popular than the Oscars. In recent years, the leagues have inked deals with the likes of Forever 21 and Victoria’s Secret, who hawk tees, leggings, and even underwear in team colors and emblazoned with team mascots. Among the NFL’s most popular products are nail polishes in team colors (think Raider’s black and silver). Licensed women’s apparel for baseball, basketball and football has become a huge business, generating $330 million last year, according to market research firm SportsOneSource. No longer bored and counting down the minutes till the seventh-inning stretch, women have claimed their own place on the couch, tossing back beer and chicken wings alongside their men, families or even other girlfriends while catching the game.

 

Via Marie Claire

 

SMART BRANDS

Hotels’ New Amenity: Professional Photographers  –

The flight is booked, the hotel is reserved, the bags are packed, and the camera is charged and ready to go. But can you count your photo-taking skills to make you and your vacation breathtakingly gorgeous? If you can’t, there’s no need to worry because a growing number of hotels and resorts are offering sessions with professional photographers to chronicle guests’ vacations. Travelers want to record memorable moments without ruining them or stressing about the focus and flash. They want more sophisticated shots to share on social media as they realize that an iPhone may not catch that perfect surfing or skiing triumph. Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort in the Caribbean, said it came up with the “Together Package” because it’s employees were getting so many requests from guests to take their pictures. A need for professionals has also risen given the surge in multigenerational trips because it is often the only time an extended family is in the same place. A host of independent freelance wedding and adventure photographers are also starting to offer vacation travel shots, seeing them as a lucrative side business. Abercrombie & Kent, a luxury-travel outfitter, occasionally has clients who hire photographers for their entire vacations. Rob Veden, Manager at A&K, explains, “They just want to enjoy the destination without anyone in the family being responsible and having to worry about missing a shot or a memorable experience.

 

Via WSJ

 

BRIGHT  IDEAS

Viral Philanthropy  – Bus monitor Karen Klein didn’t ask the world for sympathy, and she definitely didn’t request money. But once Internet users watched the heartbreaking viral video of young students harassing Klein, they reached for their wallets. This is viral philanthropy where users of online communities, such as Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, spread awareness and raise money for those who need it. “With a connected web, we all have a chance to be Batmen/women of sorts,” said Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit. Slava Rubin, founder and CEO of crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, has learned that videos are number one in driving the tens of thousands of campaigns on the platform toward their targets. Campaigns with videos will raise 114% more money than those without. Additionally, users who update campaign pages every five days or less raise significantly more money than if they update every 20 days or more. It’s clear that online philanthropy is booming for both project leaders and donors. It’s already complementing traditional forms of fundraising and perhaps will soon replace them. Whether it’s raising money on a platform like Indiegogo or even instilling change through petitions on Change.org, philanthropists are using web virality to alert the world to worthy causes.

 

 Via Mashable

 

ON THE RADAR

Watch This: Comedy website College Humor teamed up with over 30 celebrities and got them to participate in funny videos for a good cause. People are encouraged to visit the site’s special Malarious page where a donation of $1 or more towards the fight against Malaria gives viewers access to the videos. View the trailer here.

Try This App: A new iOS app called MyPrice aims to help the growing pool of freelancers find the perfect rate for their skill set. The app, which is especially useful for web or graphic designers, helps artists calculate the amount they can reasonably charge for their professional services while factoring in educational background, experience, the nature of the project, client, and location.

Try This Site: The Exquisite Forest is a project conceived by Chris Milk, of Arcade Fire’s Wilderness Downtown fame, and data artist Aaron Koblin. Produced in conjunction with Google and London’s Tate Modern Museum, The Exquisite Forest is a type of crowd-sourced art project that allows any aspiring designer to create short animations that build off one another. The end result is a collection of branching narratives resembling trees. Although emphasis is placed on online collaboration, the Tate Modern will have a physical installation of The Exquisite Forest for six months.

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AUGUST 2012 // ISSUE 36

STATE OF AMERICA

School Cafeterias Enlist Marketing Strategies To Get Students To Eat Healthy – As obesity continues to be a major epidemic in the U.S., the Department of Agriculture has implemented the biggest update to federal school food guidelines in 15 years. Applying the guidelines in an effective manner was the focus of the School Nutrition Association conference this year. Cafeteria managers learned new recipes that followed the new guidelines and were taught marketing strategies used in great success by private-sector restaurants and food producers. These new strategies have already been implemented in many ways by schools. Parent volunteers have been recruited as “food coaches” at elementary school where they will hand out samples of fruit and vegetables and demonstrate how to eat them. Food labels are being enhanced as the managers found when generic “corn” labels were replaced with colorful cards describing the vegetables as “mellow yellow corn” corn consumption went up. A school in California started a recess snack cart bringing foods straight to the playground for kids to munch on and tempted kids to try unusual flavors by giving out “Fear Factor Smoothies” containing unexpected ingredients such as spinach. In building a fun environment that creates excitement around healthy foods, cafeteria managers have suppressed the fear of eating new foods for students.

 

Via Associated Press

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

The Future Of Storytelling – As technology becomes more advanced and more accessible across multiple platforms, it’s only natural for consumers to expect increasingly higher standards of creativity and engagement from content creators. Earlier this year Latitude, a global research consultancy, set out to understand audiences’ evolving expectations around their everyday content experiences. Early adopters from across the world were asked to play the role of producer and decide how they’d like to experience stories in the future. Analysis of the storytelling concepts unveiled four elements 4 I’s: Immersion, Interactivity, Integration and Impact. Using immersion and interactivity elements helped the audience go deeper into a story, while integration and impact brought the story out of the screen and into the real world. These 4 elements revealed the following about people: they view transmedia as more than just media-shifting, crave more control, believe traditional notions of authorship are changing and see the real world just as viable a platform as any other device.

 

Via Latitude

SMART BRANDS

KIND Bar Does The Kind Thing –

The snack bar company KIND has spent years perfecting a system that gives its customers a chance to do good and influence the direction of the company’s corporate philanthropy. KIND has built a social enterprise business model where its for-profit brand gets more buy-in from consumers because it exists for a larger, socially helpful purpose. Each month, fans of the brand, called Kindaholics, can log on and commit to a Kinding Mission. These missions ask for one small but specific act like giving a warm beverage to someone else during the cold winter. If enough users commit to an action, the company will jump in with its own thematically significant Big Kind Act like donating a mass shipment of coats to homeless shelters. Through these missions, KIND’s volunteer corps has committed more than 200,000 deeds, inspired 16 Big Kind Acts, reached an estimated 500,000 people. Kindaholics as brand ambassadors is a triple win for the company because it creates great word of mouth and an emotional payback for both the good deed giver and receiver.  KIND is literally having their consumers live out the company motto: Do the KIND Thing for your body, your taste buds, and the world.

 

Via Kindsnacks.com

BRIGHT IDEAS

Ruckus Sports Builds New Business Model Around Adult Play – Ruckus Sports, a company known for building obstacle courses, unknowingly created a new business model in creating The Walking Dead Escape.  The Escape, built for this year’s Comic-Con,  was an obstacle course filled with zombies chasing after survivors in which people would pay to be chased (survivor) or the chaser (zombie). With this project, Ruckus inadvertently created a new opportunity: mashing up entertainment and play with sports. The inclusion of a loose narrative allows participants to create their own plot points and turns running an obstacle course into more of a play activity than a competitive sport. Ruckus knew that obstacle courses were a growing business as mass participatory sports have grown as much as 30% with the popularity of Cross-Fit and P90X. The instant success of the inclusion of entertainment and game play into the course showed Ruckus there is a growing market for adult play. With this new need, Ruckus foresees an expansion of the brand through the creation of playful events that would create a new platform for anyone (fans, sports enthusiasts or people just wanting to play) to immerse themselves in.

 

Via FastCompany

ON THE RADAR

Learn This: Brandalism – (noun) an art movement gaining ground in the U.K. that aims to push back against corporate advertising. The 2012 Olympics in London saw an increase in brandalism as over 25 street artists, including infamous British street artist Banksy, reclaimed more than 30 existing billboards around the U.K. Existing billboards were covered by subversive images that aimed to challenge the authority of the ad industry. Examples of brandalism artwork can be viewed here.

Watch This: IKEA recently released an augmented reality app to complement its 2013 print catalog. The hope is that this layer of interactivity will extend the shelf life of how long a consumer keeps the catalog in their house before tossing it. Users can access different experiences ranging from access to photo galleries, video stories about product designers, or even an x-ray feature that shows what’s behind cabinet doors.  For more information watch this video or download the app.

Try This App: If you’ve ever been to Whole Foods, you probably noticed that eating healthy can get a bit pricey. Zipongo is a new app that’s similar to Groupon but focuses exclusively on healthy food items at local grocery stores. Customers can purchase items at a 50-90% discount through the app, and they can get useful information like nutritional facts and recipe suggestions.

 

AUGUST 2012 // ISSUE 34

STATE OF AMERICA

Adult Playgrounds Coming To A City Near You – The quest to live a healthier, more active lifestyle has come to this: playgrounds for adults.  Such playgrounds not only have the look of traditional children’s play spaces but in some cases are built by the same manufacturers. Though there are no swings or slides, these playgrounds are essentially outdoor gyms for grown-ups. The adult playground concept is borrowed from China and parts of Europe where outdoor fitness areas for adults have become as routine as high-fiber diets or vitamin D supplements in preventive care, particularly for older people. Now a growing number of health experts, community leaders, and city and park officials throughout the U.S. are praising the health and social benefits of adult playgrounds. They say that the playgrounds will succeed where treadmills have failed in combating rising rates of obesity and related illnesses by enticing the grown-ups out for play dates.

Via NYTimes.com

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Why People Don’t Buy Stuff Anymore – People are starting to think differently about what it means to “own” something. As all forms of media make their journey into a digital, de-corporeal space, research shows that people are beginning to actually prefer this disconnected reality to owning a physical product. To “own something” in the traditional sense is becoming less important because what’s scarce has changed. Trying to own a product is no longer seen as a challenge.  People can now find and own practically anything they want thanks to the internet. Because of this, the balance between supply and demand has been altered and the value has moved elsewhere. The value in ownership has shifted from products to connections. Today, a product or service is powerful because of how it connects people to something or someone. Connection is what is now considered scarce and that’s something worth paying for.

Via FastCompany

 

SMART BRANDS

Retailers Fight Showrooming-

As online shopping has surged, traditional retailers have lost millions in sales to so-called showrooming – when shoppers check out products in stores that they then buy from sites like Amazon. Now some big retailers are taking a new approach to the dreaded showrooming by transforming their stores into extensions of their own online operations. Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears, the Container Store and other retailers are stepping up efforts to add Web return centers, pickup locations, free shipping outlets, payment booths and even drive-through customer service centers for online sales to their brick-and-mortar buildings. “We are living in the age of the customer, and you can either fight these trends that are happening – showrooming is one – or you can embrace them,” said Joel Anderson, the chief executive of Walmart.com for the United States. “We have a lot of assets, but they’re only assets if you embrace the trends of the customers.”


Via Mashable.com

 

BRIGHT IDEAS

The Pivot- Before Twitter became a microblogging sensation it was a podcasting business. YouTube’s founders were convinced they’d hit the jackpot with a video-dating site. PayPal’s original mission was to beam IOU’s from Palm Pilot to Palm Pilot. These companies, like many others, are examples of startups that “pivoted” from their original visions. Pivoting has become part of the business and technology lexicon. Only a soothsayer can know what will happen before it happens, and only the savviest (or luckiest) entrepreneur can take an idea from the initial inspiration to market and beyond without a few hiccups along the way. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that pivoting isn’t just common, it’s become the rule more than the exception. History shows that it’s more likely a tech company will undergo a steep course correction at one point or another than stay true to their founders’ original vision. Pivots are rooted in learning what works and what doesn’t, keeping “one foot in in the past” and “one foot in a new possible future.”

 

Via FastCompany

ON THE RADAR

Culture Observation: Worldwide, YouTube is becoming a major platform for viewing news. According to a 15-month study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, news events now account for one-third (39%) of the most-searched terms on YouTube, a site once best known as a place where people posted personal videos.  Journalism.org| July 16, 2012

Watch This: Google’s Project Glass – a wearable pair of augmented reality glasses – will be available to the public in 2014. The specific technology shown in this video may be a few additional years away, but the idea is to use augmented reality to deliver information that’s directly relevant to your surroundings and have it  appear in front of you whenever you need it.

Try This App: The popularity of internet memes reflects consumers’ desires to create their own cultural content. I’d Cap That is an entertaining app that takes your basic iPhone photos and slaps random captions on them. The app follows the set up of some of the most popular memes: a simple, concise text written over a photo that turns the photo on its head or adds a humorous context.