Monthly Archives: December 2012

DECEMBER 2012 // 2013 PREVIEW EDITION // ISSUE 51

STATE OF AMERICA

An Outsourced Life- More stressed and time crunched than ever, people will increasingly become accustomed to outsourcing things they previously did or were responsible for themselves.  People will outsource parts of their life they don’t want in order to maximize parts they do. They are going to embrace “connected” objects and services to help with every day tasks and responsibilities. Current connected objects available that make life a little easier range from a sensor that monitors and transmits updates of the health of your plants via wifi to a milk jug that sends a text when milk supplies are low. This “internet of things” will make life more convenient, save time and ensure people will have a few less things to worry about.

Via Quirky.com

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Real-Time Relevance – Busy consumers crave for personal, timely and useful information that is easy to understand. Expect people to want mobile, real-time information services that pay attention to their needs and respond accordingly.  That means hyper-personal, super-synched, almost eerily accurate lifestyle assistance that arrives just as – or even better, just before – they realize they need it. For example, providing them with general, location-based traffic information?  That’s OK. Information about the traffic jam that’s three minutes ahead of them? That’s Real-Time Relevance.

Via IBM.com

SMART BRANDS

Servile Brands – The top-down days when consumers revered brands are long gone.  Brands that want to regain relevance will have to go far beyond the usual great customer service clichés and turn servile. Brands will convert into lifestyle servants focused on catering to the needs, desires and whims of their customers, whatever, wherever and whenever they are. Brands already becoming servile range from American Airlines that introduced a service delivering passengers’ luggage direct to their home, business or hotel to ticketing etailer AXS Invite that allows customers, who’ve purchased a sporting, cultural or music ticket, to reserve the adjacent seats for 48 hours to allow enough time for the ticket buyer to rally up a few friends to attend with them.

Via Trendwatching.com

BRIGHT IDEAS

Virtual Consumption – Consumption has always been a form of self actualization, driven by the never-ending display of status and style. As absolute abundance clashes with ever-present eco-concerns and limited budgets, consuming virtually is becoming the perfect way for status-hungry consumers to “shop”. Virtual consumers are already busy accruing status via online sharing, reducing the emotional gap between traditional offline ownership and online, virtual “ownership”. Travel site Airbnb introduced its Wish List feature this year enabling users to not just virtually save properties but curate collections of desirable or interesting spaces (they may or may not visit) to share with friends. In the span of five months, two million wish lists were created. In 2013 shopping will be more virtual than ever, as social curation sites such as Pinterest and others continue to blur the boundaries between real and virtual consumption; and more consumers flaunt their good taste without having to physically buy.

Via Airbnb.com

ON THE RADAR

Twitter Year In Review: Twitter has released their annual collection of 2012’s hottest trends, topics and people across five categories. Check it out here and enter your Twitter information to see highlights from your own account’s year on Twitter.

Google Zeitgeist:

Search giant Google has released its top search terms of the year, analyzing over 1.2 trillion queries in over 146 languages to reveal what its users have spent the last 12 months searching for. New additions to this year’s Google Zeitgeist include an interactive map that shows where and when some of the hottest terms spiked around the world as well as a downloadable Zeitgeist Android App. Check out the site or watch the video.

Facebook year In Review: Facebook took the pulse of the its global online community and assembled a series of trend lists chronicling the top events, the most popular public figures, the most listened to songs on Facebook. View the lists or click here to see your own year in review based on your account’s activity.

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DECEMBER 2012 // THE NEW NORMAL EDITION // ISSUE 50

STATE OF AMERICA

Saying No To College – The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Feeling squeezed by a sagging job market and mounting student debt, a groundswell of university-age heretics are pledging allegiance to new groups like UnCollege, dedicated to “hacking” higher education. Inspired by billionaire role models and empowered by online college courses, they consider themselves a D.I.Y. vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick. Risky? Perhaps. But it worked for the founders of Twitter, Tumblr and a little company known as Apple. “Education isn’t a four-year program,” Benjamin Goering, a recent college dropout who now works for a company run by another dropout, said. “It’s a mind-set.”

Via NYTimes

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Under One Roof, Building for Extended Families – The blueprints of American homes are changing in order to accommodate the new shape of the American family: boomer couples with boomerang children and aging parents, an increasingly multiethnic population with a tradition of housing three generations under one roof, and even singles who may need to double up with siblings or friends in this fraught economic climate. These families are demanding new homes within in homes that have shared and private spaces. Scott Thomas, national director of product development for Pulte Group, the largest homebuilder in the United States, said his company now offers layouts with larger “flex rooms” and an over-the-garage apartment it calls the Grand Retreat. Ryland and KB Homes have been offering similar alternatives, and have seen their popularity increase as multigenerational households become more common.

Via CNBC.com

SMART BRANDS

Modamily  – When marriage is no longer an entry point to have a family, what’s a successful, spouse-less person to do who wants a baby, but has a biological clock that’s running out? When assessing the options, most people tend to think of an anonymous sperm donor, or even “settling” and rushing into marriage. But recently, a shift towards co-parenting has become a societal force to be reckoned with – more common among same-sex couples and outside the US, this child-rearing set-up is taking hold with domestic, heterosexual couples. If the old adage goes, “There is a lid to every pot” can one assume there is also a mother figure for every father figure that lack only the means to find one another? With the family structure consistently being redefined, elective co-parenting is on the rise. With Modamily, a New York-based private social network for people looking to co-parent a child within the US, CEO and founder Ivan Fatovic is hoping the US will follow suit: “What Modamily wants to do is start a national conversation and make people aware that co-parenting is a viable option.”

 

Via Modamily.com

BRIGHT IDEAS

Social Media Is The New Recruitment Tool – As people’s personal and professional life starts to blur, candidates look to social media to help them stand out. Research shows that recruiters spend an average of only six seconds looking at each resume they consider, as resumes, even those chock full of accomplishments, look indistinguishable from one to the next. Even interviews only provide a small window of time for a candidate to show who they are. But now with social media, being active on these platforms allows an employer to see who the candidate really is. For this reason, there’s an increasing interest in having students put together social media portfolios. A candidate can easily link their résumé to their Tumblr blog, website or even Flickr account. Whether or not someone works in an industry where building online influence matters (i.e. public relations, marketing or sales), over the next decade people will be hired and promoted based upon their social reputation capital. Danielle Hohmeier utilized Twitter as a way to secure a job. “I wanted employers to know I was comfortable in that space and give them a chance to get to know me beyond my resume and cover letter, ” she said. “Plus, I figured that if I sent in a resume and they had already interacted with me on Twitter, then I would have some advantage over other candidates.”

 Via Forbes

ON THE RADAR

Know This: Stayover Couples – With more people choosing to live alone and not get married, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have noticed an increase in stayover relationships among college-educated adults ages 18-29. Stayover couples maintain separate residences but stay at the partner’s place as often as 3-7 times a week. This arrangement serves as a convenient alternative to more lasting commitments such as full cohabitation or marriage. Read more about the study here.

Watch This: For those who want to say no to college, the Thiel Fellowship serves as a viable alternative. Founded by Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel, the Thiel Fellowship believes young people should be actively chasing breakthrough technologies instead of wasting their time and money passively studying in college. The fellowship brings together some of the world’s most creative young people and helps bring their most ambitious ideas to life. Chosen fellows are given two years and a $100,000 grant to skip college and instead focus on their work, research and self-education.

Market Observation: With defined gender roles fading away, we are noting a rise in gender-neutral toys. Mattel, the world’s largest toy-maker, will soon introduce the Mega Bloks Barbie Build’n Style – the first Barbie construction set in the doll’s 50-year history. Walmart’s VP of Toys Anne Marie Kehoe explained that by the end of this year construction toys for girls will present nearly 20% of the construction toy category. This shift is a response to gender stereotypes as well as the fact that fathers are increasingly buying toys.

 

DECEMBER 2012 // ISSUE 49

STATE OF AMERICA

The Falling U.S. Birthrate- The number of U.S. births has been dropping since 2007, when they peaked at 4.3 million, just before the worst economic downturn since the Depression. But now, substantial declines in just one year among certain segments of women suggest a deeper and potentially longer-lasting change in childbearing. The 2011 birthrate fell 8% between 2007 and 2010 with a much bigger drop of 14% among foreign-born women. Many point to the economic downturn as the cause of the decline. States with the sharpest economic declines from 2007 to 2008 were the most likely to have bigger fertility declines from 2008 to 2009. “Most demographers were expecting a mini-baby boom,” says President of Demographic Intelligence Sam Sturgeon. “We anticipated that because the number of women of prime childbearing age has gone up. We were looking at what would have been the grandchildren of the baby boomers.” The boom never materialized,

Via Business Week

 

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

OMG! The Decline Of Texting –  There will be fewer LOLs and TTYLs flying between phones via text as text messaging has posted its first-ever decline in the U.S. The decline is due in part to the rise of a variety of messaging services like Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook which have provided users with free alternatives. Though the decline was small (avg. of 678 texts a month, down from 696) the change is noteworthy because for several years texting has been steadily growing.  The decline is predicted to become more pronounced as more people buy smartphones.

Via U.S. News

SMART BRANDS

Tumblr : A Microblogging Success  – Tumblr’s unique blend of memes pushed it to become one of the top 10 most-trafficked websites in the U.S. Tumblr is a blogging platform that allows users to post mixed media on a tumblelog – a short form blog. With its emphasis on short, pithy posts and habitual use of it as a photo-publishing and social-sharing site, Tumblr posts are more closely related to Twitter feeds than professional, hefty WordPress sites. Founded in February 2007, with the tagline “Blogging made easy”, it collects more than 77 million posts a day across 79 million blogs today. If Facebook is the social network for online identification and authentication, and Twitter is for communication, Tumblr fulfills a different role: self-expression.

Tumblr’s meteoric rise proves there’s a desire for simple, elegant, short-form-content blogs that are heavy on imagery–a model that is being echoed elsewhere in the rise in photo sharing through iPhone apps like Instagram or Color.

 

Via Tumblr

BRIGHT IDEAS

Twine: A Chunk Of The Future  – In the future, your house will send you a text message to warn you that your basement is flooding. It’ll e-mail you if your kids break into the closet where the Christmas presents are hidden. It’ll tweet you when to water your plant. Sounds like the kind of stuff you hear in those fantastical “future of…” videos. Not anymore. Two MIT Media Lab graduates have created a 2.5 inch “chunk of the future” called Twine that does exactly that and more. Twine is a puck filled with internal and external sensors and a Wi-Fi hub which detects anything from moisture to magnetism. Stick it anywhere and it’ll tweet status updates at your command. No coding skills required. To create the aforementioned “house that alerts you when the basement floods,” just plunk your Twine in the basement where its built-in moisture sensor will get wet if there’s a flood. Then head to Twine’s companion webapp, Spool, and create a simple rule-based program: “If Twine gets wet, send me a text message.” And blammo, that’s it. You now have a “smart” house.

Via Fast Co Design

ON THE RADAR

Follow Me: @pontifex –  In a sign of the times, Pope Benedict XVI officially joined Twitter this week and already has half a million followers. His Holiness currently doesn’t have any tweets and only follows 7 other accounts – all of which are versions of his official handle translated in different languages such as German, Spanish, Italian, and Arabic.

Watch This: McDonald’s Canada launched a frank question-and-answer-driven social media campaign that has gone on to earn huge publicity and positive reviews. The “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign created a direct dialogue with consumers by inviting people to ask questions on McDonald’s website, Twitter and Facebook. Answers appeared online and some have been turned into in-depth video explanations. Watch an example here which explains why McDonald’s food advertisements look different from the food available in stores.

Watch This: The world’s first 3D photo booth has arrived in Japan. Using the power of 3D-printing technology, the Omote 3D Shashin Kan will turn you and your loved ones into miniature 3D figurines. It’s a photo booth-style experience that captures your 3D likeness using a special handheld scanner. The process takes approximately 15 minutes and your Mini Me is sent to a 3D printer. The service is only available until mid-January 2013. See examples of the finished products  here.