In a time where even our outfits are split for work and comfort, there’s a lot to feel divided over. But people are still finding reason to be united.

Joe Biden’s inauguration speech responded directly to the scenes at Capitol Hill a couple of weeks ago, calling for unity eight times throughout.

And it was unity that won the coveted 2020 Beazley Design of the Year award last week: a pink seesaw installation on a wall at the US-Mexican border brings people together on both sides.

Meanwhile in Italy and Mexico respectively, tens of thousands of restaurant owners united to defiantly open their doors to customers in protest over lockdown restrictions, seemingly under the shared mantra, “Well they can’t arrest us all”.

 

mexico wall seesaw
Not quite the wall former President Trump had imagined…

 

“It’s a poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us.”

– Tim Marlow, CEO, London Design Museum


Some brands are turning their attentions to a growing make-it-yourself trend, mostly around food, booze and wellbeing.

Beer brand BrewDog have extended their brand experience to at-home brewers, releasing their entire 2020 ingredients list for free via their DIY Dog initiative.

Meanwhile Waitrose’s latest report highlights an increasingly experimental amateur chef: sales of mirin are up by 188% YoY, while searches for ‘pickling’ are up 222% as part of a growing home-fermentation trend.

And as part of an ever-increasing focus on at-home wellbeing, LEGO have launched a Botanical Collection, aimed at reducing-stress through build-your-own-bouquets.

 

 

lego bouquet of flowers
LEGO’s new Botanical Collection aims to create Zen-like experiences in the comfort of your own home (until you step on one of their bricks, that is).

 


Brands that can’t get involved in the at-home DIY trend are instead focusing their efforts online, using digital initiatives to engage consumers.

To launch the new Future Z boot concept, we worked with PUMA to develop an interactive iFrame banner, bringing product exploration to life from the comfort of your home. The project features new brand ambassador Neymar in his debut appearance in a Teamsport campaign.

Meanwhile on the gamification-front, fashion brand Balenciaga launched their fall 2021 collection in the form of a video game, while eco-friendly brand Pangaia recently launched a virtual brand experience which takes you to a product exploration zone atop a glacier.

PUMA Neymar iframe
The PUMA interactive iFrame banner brings product exploration to life online.


With tourists divided from their usual shopping hotspots, many brand teams are currently scratching their heads over how to use stores created predominantly to serve tourist traffic.

In an interview with Vogue Business, Adrian Cheng, CEO of New World Development, explains how he and his team transformed their K11 malls to host live-streaming events, online exhibitions and virtual art tours across China.

The move ensured they’ve still served up exciting experiences for their audience, while other malls have simply closed their doors. The result has been an enormous 50% increase in eCommerce sales.

 

“We changed our strategy very quickly by doing live streaming, virtual exhibitions and a lot of community pushing, which worked really well.”

– Adrian Cheng

All-in-all, we may be divided for a while, but brands can go a long way to improving the situation by creating meaningful experiences for consumers away from their physical stores, both at-home and online.

And there are other opportunities for brands to create those connections on the horizon too, based on some of the biggest consumer shifts from last year. We explore in our latest report Five Consumers Shifts That Will Last Beyond 2021.

 

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