At this point, having gone through a nail-biting presidential election in The States and with second lockdowns sweeping the world, to say that this year has been “a lot” would be the understatement of the century.

The mental health crisis emerging from 2020 is being dubbed by many as ‘the pandemic within the pandemic‘ – and with cold days and dark nights looming, looking after our mental wellbeing right now is more important than ever before.

One interesting trend in human behaviour recently has been the rise of the fake commute, with many going for a drive, stroll or cycle before and after work to separate the increasingly blurred lines between our working and personal lives.

Who’d have thought the thing many hated so much would become so missed?

Brands are now feeling the increased need to play their part in improving the wellbeing of their communities too – especially those in the tech space.

It should be alarming enough to us all mental health-wise that many of Silicon Valley’s tech execs have been raising their kids tech-free.

It’s got the same, sad irony as the old joke about the cigarette brand owner who tells their kids not to smoke.

But last month, mental health enemy no.1 Facebook announced a new emotional health portal to help users of Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and Messenger to better manage their wellbeing online.

And in response to a reported 73% of Snapchatters feeling more stressed than last year, the platform has joined forces with Headspace to offer in-app meditations.

facebook emotional health portal
Facebook have launched their Emotional Health Portal, but some of their senior staff still don’t let their own kids use their platforms. Bit fishy…

In the offline world, brands are also adapting their product offering to the end of a more zen-like user state.

Amazon Halo and Fitbit Sense are the latest tech products to track wearers’ mental health by monitoring mood and analysing emotional states.

Mercedes-Benz have also launched their Energizing Coach package, allowing drivers to select from various wellness set-ups, which adjust in-car music, lighting, fragrance, heat and – of course – offer in-seat massages.

Meanwhile Asics have put humans at the centre of a recent campaign, with the ‘In My Shoes’ audio series, sharing inspirational stories from those who have discovered the benefits of exercise on their mental wellbeing.

Amazon's new Halo wristband
Amazon’s new Halo wristband offers to keep a check on your emotional wellbeing (probably just to sell you ice cream when you’re sad, though).

When it comes to lifting spirits, Christmas is without a doubt one of the best times of year – not just for receiving gifts, but for giving them too.

In fact, a 2008 Harvard study proved that giving someone else a gift is better for lifting our own mood than buying something for ourselves is.

On that note, it’s unlikely that shopping restrictions will stop consumers gifting as per usual this year, and we’re likely therefore to see an increase in two things: brand activity online and agile retail formats.

In our report – The Pop Up Opportunity – we explore some of the relevant ways you can create impactful temporary stores in the next few months, helping consumers to access your brand, products and services locally.


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