Grasping the dynamics of the global market is crucial to any innovation or design initiative. When consumers’ fundamental needs are considered before the creative process begins, the end result offers desire through beauty, function and relevance. Knowing what makes consumers tick, and how the industry is evolving, will help you kick off the creation of your future business in the right direction. Get ready for tactility, smartness that matters, the challenge of interruption and much more.
By Kristina de Verdier, Words
And Cecilia Höglund, Illustrations
#1 TR (TOUCHING REALITIES)
We have five senses for a reason, together they help us understand and fully experience our surroundings. In the last few decades, the visual experiences have been explored in all possible directions (e.g. VR, AR). At the same time, cognitive neuroscience has made big progresses in the study of the human mind and of the principles that concur to determine our behavior. Touch is one of the most important sensory modality in driving consumer behavior. The increasing lack of texture in people’s lives makes experiences become one-dimensional. So, in 2017, smart brands will be focusing more on how their products feel! By elevating the details and integrating elements of tactility, companies will consequently need to have a clear strategy on the tactile components of their brand.
-What are the tactile elements of your product/brand?
-How can you create brand recognition across senses?
-Trust and texture go hand in hand
-How can you further elevate the details?
The spirits industry has many great examples where they utilize all the senses. Temple Distilling recently upgraded one of their brands, where they instead of making big changes to the graphic design, made subtle changes in form of tactile and visual material effects. The result – a package that doesn’t just look great, it feels great as well.
Branding agency Funky Business® created new brand line concept of premium cosmetics. They decided to look deeper and explore the basic ingredients of cosmetics under the microscope because its molecular properties give such effect. On the molecular level each object forms incredible patterns, so these patterns make up basis of packaging ideas. As a result, the decision was to use a tactile pattern formed by main ingredient of the product. High-quality paper and special printing technology made it possible not only to see but also feel the contents of the box
#2 SHARING & CARING
We live in a world full of alarms; conflicts, terror and environmental disasters. It makes consumers increasingly worried and aware. As a reaction to this, consumers begin to see responsible products not only as a good move for the future, but as a paradigm shift that needs to happen now. The circular economy suggests that our products will no longer just support our own needs, they will participate in a much bigger system. In 2017 we will need to continue pushing the boundaries of the circular economy and rethink products in terms of the entire value chain. In this movement, we need to see many more companies and organizations working together, across silos, towards better consumer behavior, encouraging responsible consumption. Consumers realize that their current consumption patterns need to be changed. To make this happen they are turning to the companies who respond and make action of their promises.
-Think circularity, think across value chain, rethink waste
-How can you start with small actions (instead of the big words)?
-How can your products/services be participants in a bigger system?
-How can you work more across silos, companies and organisations?
Ecovative produce packaging products that are fully compostable alternatives to synthetic materials. They are made of mycelium grown in and around agriculture by-products with low economic value, acting thereby as a glue, and can take any shape needed. At the end of use, products can be composted at home. IKEA recently communicated that they are looking into this material to replace polystyrene, which is tricky to recycle.
The Ecover Ocean Bottle was designed to increase the awareness for the danger that plastic debris causes to the oceans: the bottle is made with 10 per cent recycled plastic taken from the ocean, supplemented by recycled plastic from other sources. The design language is inspired by the skeletons of diatoms and radiolarians, two organisms that suffer in particular from the pollution. The organically appealing pattern helps optimise the stability of the bottle and achieves a weight reduction of 20 per cent.
#3 MAKE SMART MATTER
Consumers can shop anytime, anywhere and are becoming increasingly demanding in terms of convenience. New technology integrated in consumers’ product experiences is only going to grow, advances in materials science, components are getting smaller. As this sector is quickly evolving in many areas, one thing is clear though; consumers and brand owners now want usable products, that adds real value to their lives, rather than short-term marketing gimmicks. How can smart components help prevent food waste, ensure product safety, generate and store meaningful data for medical purpose, or make the weekly shopping easier? Consumers are embracing the smartness which is seamlessly integrated in their reality. It is the marriage of technology and simplicity that will help brands connect with consumers in exceptional ways.
-What real consumer problems needs to be solved?
-How can I create a seamless experience, integrated in consumers’ lifestyle?
-How can the solution be intuitive?
-How can I give the consumer a sense of personalisation?
Amazon Go is a new kind of store with no checkout required. Amazon created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line. Use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! Amazon uses sensors, video-technology and AI-algoritms to enable this convenient shopping experience.
The Smart Wine Bottle, with Thinfilm Open Sense technology, can detect a product’s sealed and open states and wirelessly communicate content to a smartphone or device. The tags contain unique identifiers that make it possible for companies to authenticate and track products, with the tags remaining active even after a product’s factory seal has been broken. Counterfeit wine is a major problem worldwide, but especially in China, with Thinfilm claiming that up to 70% of wine sold in China, particularly among premium brands, could be fake.
#4 NUANCED CONTEXTS
Despite the stressed reality of 2017, all consumers have “I-need-some-ideas moments”. That’s when consumers are looking for novelty and inspiration, in line with who they aspire to be. Most people aren’t brand-committed in these moments, but context-oriented. These moments are intent-rich moments when new preferences are shaped. In 2017 it’s hard to impress the consumers, their expectations are higher than ever. Consumers are looking for new and improved products, which can enhance their lifestyle. They are open-minded to new twists and creations. Consumers will notice brands that challenge them, invites them outside their comfort zone, or simply give an extended reason to buy the product. Brands who talk consumers’ language and dare to wow them, will be the brands shaping the future, nuancing the contexts as we know them today.
-Think contexts rather than categories
-How can you create new unexpected combinations?
-How can you be the one redefining existing category codes?
-How can you extend the purpose of your products/services?
‘Noam Beer’, designed by ‘Acne’, grew from an ambition to fuse the heritage of Bavarian brewing with the sophistication of today’s most refined aesthetic experience. Thereby defining a new benchmark for the art of contemporary beers, positioning the beer next to champagne bottles.
London entrepreneur Joe Revell of startup Garçon Wines has designed the world’s first flat wine bottle. A plastic Bordeaux-style bottle that’s flattened like a flask so it can fit through an English letterbox for easy delivery to consumers. Garçon Wine club is a subscription service, offering people who want to try different types of wine, convenient home-delivery. Using a heavy duty, glass-like plastic, Garçon Wine club bottles are thinner and longer than a typically-shaped bottle yet contain the same amount of wine.
#5 THE INTERRUPTION ECONOMY
We live in an age of interruption. People keep their phone near them almost all the time during day and night. Even though the connected world is offering both convenience and social interactions, consumers increasingly seek meaningful and simpler experiences offline. People are looking for personal enrichment beyond the worlds of work, social media, and city life – some are escaping to the nature, some are going to yoga, others leave their phone at home when going to the restaurant with their friends. So now not only do companies need to address the physical needs of the consumer, they also need to address the consumers’ spiritual and emotional well-being. This slow living approach – the desire to live a more mindful lifestyle – is putting a big demand on companies; at the same time as consumers are looking for meaningful offline experiences, they have already been accustomed to the convenience of the connected world.
-How can you create mindful products/services in a connected world?
-How can you consider consumers’ spiritual and emotional well-being
-How can you simplify your products/services?
-How can your products/services allow a re-connection to nature?
The flower store Bunches has created a simplified flower shopping experience. First, they have selected a smaller amount of flower types (fewer choices), the most fashionable flowers right now. The flowers are pre-packaged in a simple and natural paper board from BillerudKorsnäs. The brown backside is used as an attractive exterior, and the printable coated white surface proved to be perfect to use for maintenance instructions and other advices for the plants.
The 2016 edition of Blossa was a tribute to the Swedish forest. They traveled to northern Sweden to find inspiration for the popular annual mulled wine. An often forgotten berry was rediscovered and got the lead role, crowberry.