Shanghai – Continuing its exploration of the future of living, car brand Mini has announced its plans to build a co-living development in partnership with Chinese property developer Nova Property Investment Co. The complex, which will include apartments, workspaces and car-sharing services, will be located in a former paint factory in the city’s Jing’an district.
The initiative is the first commercial building project from the brand’s research arm Mini Living, which was launched in 2016. Its accommodation offer is aimed at creatives, young professionals and couples, and will comprise a series of one- and two-bedroom apartments complete with bookable guest rooms. The space will also feature public areas such as playgrounds, shops and restaurants. For more on Mini’s move into the design world, watch our interview with Esther Bahne, head of brand strategy at Mini.
New York – Fast casual restaurant Shake Shack has launched a new eatery concept that uses technology to streamline the ordering process. Rather than ordering at their table, customers request their food through specially equipped kiosks stationed around the space, assisted by staff members known as Hospitality Champs.
The system is completely cashless to speed up the process, and diners receive a text notifying them when their order is ready. CEO Randy Garutti explains that the concept will be a testing ground for the business as a whole to help optimise the dining experience. ‘The Astor Place Shack will be a playground where we can test and learn the ever-shifting needs of our guests,’ says Garutti.
As explored in our Future of Service Report, customers are increasingly searching for brands that use technology to place convenience at the core of their service offer.
The company connects elderly home-owners with younger people in search of affordable housing, offering them a low-cost place to live while allowing older participants the opportunity to stay at-home for longer without the worry of being forced by circumstances into a retirement home.
Having launched its pilot programme earlier this year with a small number of participants, Nesterly has now expanded its partnership with the city of Boston to enable anyone living in the municipal area to participate.
US – The largest tobacco firms in the world have been issued a court order to release anti-smoking newspaper and tv campaigns to educate consumers in the US about the dangers of smoking. The campaign was first ordered by the US Justice Department in 2006, but lobbying efforts by tobacco companies delayed its release for more than 10 years.
The first ad in the forthcoming series, which is paid for by leading tobacco companies Altria, RJ Reynolds, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA, features a statement from these companies about the health risks of smoking and highlights how ‘more people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined’. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, smoking kills more than 1,200 Americans each day. As the definition of health and wellness changes, brands need to move beyond focusing only on profit to take a longer-term view.
In today’s always-on world, people are spending more time at work and looking to work for companies that help them to maintain their health and wellbeing. But despite heavy investment in workplace wellbeing programmes in the West, employee engagement remains low.
As consumers become increasingly anxious about the effects of climate change, strategic researcher Victoria Buchanan asks whether brands offering self-care solutions are helping to alleviate their anxieties or simply exploiting their unhappiness.
The emergence of self-care – a new hybrid of self-help and wellness – seems to directly correlate with today’s distressing political climate. Google has revealed that searches for the term ‘self-care’ spiked immediately after the US election last November, reaching a 10-year high in the US.
De-stressing and disconnecting has become an industry in itself at a time when anxiety levels among young people are increasing, with young women more likely than young men to report symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Brands have seized on this, designing a range of products that claim to support women in their everyday self-care endeavours. From self-care planners to self-care candles and self-care face masks, the term has been applied to just about any moment of indulgence.
This begs the question: if you’re selling self-care, doesn’t it benefit you to have a consumer who is living in a permanent state of anxiety and unwellness? Where do we draw the ethical lines?
Read the full Opinion here.