Germany – Dutch firm MVRDV has designed a mirrored facade, laden with QR codes, for the Milestone office block in Esslingen, southern Germany. Manufactured from fritted glass – a finely porous material – and embedded with solar cells, the building has been designed to reflect the surrounding cityscape.
The surface of the building will be printed with QR codes, allowing pedestrians to interact with the facade and access information about the city. ‘Each pixel carries different information, featuring the
stories of the city and its inhabitants, accompanied by a smartphone app one can discover
its richness, creating the public library of the town,’ the company says in a press release.
While QR codes have not as a rule lived up to the hype they were afforded when first introduced, forward-thinking brands such as Amazon and MVRDV are demonstrating how they can be used creatively to enrich the consumer experience.
2. Atolla MIT offering intelligent skin analysis
Atolla Skin Lab, US
Atolla Skin Lab, US
US – Atolla Skin Lab is an MIT-based
start-up that uses machine learning to create personalised skincare products tailored to the consumer’s skin data.
Inspired by co-founder Meghan Maupin’s own experience with a skincare routine that stopped working for her, the team collect data on the individual’s skin needs during a face-to-face consultation which factors in both environmental data points such as age and location, as well as physical dermal
data such as oil and pH levels.
After this information is fed into an algorithm, the customer then receives a personalised skincare product, with the team monitoring progress over the next few weeks to determine the efficaciousness of the item. The next iteration of At-home Analysis, Atolla Skin Lab offers continuing evaluation of a person’s skin condition and the effect that the environment is having on it, supported by machine learning and expert opinion.
3. Budweiser dedicates itself to 100% renewable energy
US – Budweiser’s parent company AB InBev has pledged that all Budweiser beers will be brewed using 100% renewable energy by 2025.
The company has calculated that producing the 41m Budweiser beers sold daily using green energy will equate to taking 48,000 passenger cars off the road every year. In line with Educated Eating, the brand has created 100% renewable energy labels that will act as a visual reminder to consumers that in choosing Budweiser over a competitor they are helping to reduce their green footprint.
’We know that climate change is an important issue for consumers, but they aren’t sure how their everyday actions can make a difference,’ said Brian Perkins, Budweiser global vice president of marketing in a statement. ‘The renewable electricity symbol can show consumers that their purchasing choices can have a positive impact.’
4. Patagonia launches activist microsite
Patagonia Action Works, US
US – Outdoor clothing company, Patagonia, has launched a microsite, named Patagonia Action Works, to bring together activists from the local community. Tapping into the global angst around climate change, identified by the American Psychological Association as eco-anxiety, Patagonia is seeking to allay these fears through action. ‘I've always known that the cure for depression is action’, states founder Yvon Chouinard in a video introducing the initiative.
Visitors to the site can select their location and the causes they care about, which include bio-diversity, climate, land and water to be connected with relevant organisations, nearby events and volunteering and petition opportunities. In a further demonstration of its civic-minded approach, the site also provides links for grassroots groups who are new to Patagonia to apply for funding.
5. UK families’ consumption of processed food goes ultra
With the imminent arrival of the sugar tax in the UK, junk food brands are being forced to reconsider their sugar content or pay a levy. With studies showing that the UK currently consumes more ultra-processed food – including cakes and chocolate – than any other European country, brands like Nestlé are innovating around products that remain familiar but have a reduced sugar content.
6. Thought-starter: Why brands should consider dynamic pricing
As shopping around for the best price becomes as easy as the click of a button, companies are having to rethink pricing strategies – from embracing discounts to understanding that pricing can be a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
A report from Planet Retail predicted that more than £95bn ($131.7bn, €106.5bn) worth of UK retail revenue would be generated from discounted sales in 2016. While discounting is a lucrative market, instead of being forced into a cycle of sales, some brands are adopting a more reactive approach to discounts.
Whisky Foundation recently launched a new e-commerce retail concept in which it changes its pricing based on consumer demand. It puts bottles on sale for an extremely low price, and the price fluctuates depending on the demand.
‘This offers us the chance to watch the market in real time, and to determine what is in demand,’ Liam Hiller, brand ambassador at Whisky Foundation, tells LS:N Global. ‘And consumers can grab a bottle at a fraction of its RRP. They also get to watch the price rise and fall in real time and, if they’re smart enough, secure themselves a real bargain from a top-class independent bottler.’