Need to Know
21 : 03 : 19

Japan’s new digital currency platform, Moby releases music via a wellness app and consumer interest in plant-based packaging is on the rise.

Herstory uses AR to address gender imbalance

Herstory, US

US – The educational app, debuted at SXSW 2019, uses augmented reality (AR) to spotlight women that have made history.

With many American history textbooks focused on the influence of men, Herstory aims to redress the balance by celebrating the female figures often omitted from the educational syllabus. Now, schoolchildren that have downloaded the app can scan the pages of A History of the US, Book 5: Liberty for All? 1820-1860, with the app superimposing the stories of one of 75 featured female figures from that same period.

‘Technology and education are becoming more and more symbiotic, and augmented reality is the perfect tool to bring to life the missing stories of women’s role in history,’ says the app’s creator Margaret Johnson, partner and chief creative officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Though Herstory is currently limited to one textbook, in future, AR could be used in a similar manner to bolster education programmes and encourage study with a layer of technology – especially with the rise of Young Bibliophiles.

An urban space for those in-between moments

3DEN at Hudson Yards, New York 3DEN at Hudson Yards, New York
3DEN at Hudson Yards, New York 3DEN at Hudson Yards, New York

New York – 3DEN is launching as a first-of-its-kind space that provides consumers with a series of convenient and luxury amenities on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Building on the idea of the ‘third place’ as a space between home and work, 3DEN offers users flexible access to sound-proof phone booths, nap pods, private showers, a meditation room, a lounge and charging stations for devices. The New York-based company is also partnering with a number of brands – including Harry’s, Field Notes and Dirty Lemon – to deliver a curated retail experience that fulfils a range of on-the-go needs.

3DEN forgoes membership in favour of pay-per-use, with guests paying £4.50 ($6, €5) for 30 minutes of unrestricted access to the space and its facilities. Responding to a growing freelance workforce and business travellers' needs, the company says the requirement for clean, comfortable spaces between home and work where guests can refresh and recharge is more apparent than ever. For more, read our Self-care Spaces microtrend.

J-Coin Pay streamlines digital currency in Japan

Japan – Created by Mizuho Bank in cooperation with other Japanese financial institutions, J-Coin Pay is a united, single digital currency platform.

The smartphone-based payment service employs QR codes in order to allow customers to make payments, send and receive transfers, and perform other financial transactions via their devices. Users can also move funds between their J-Coin Pay accounts and regular current accounts at their primary bank.

As the country prepares to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Mizuho Bank and other participating banks are working together to achieve the Japanese government's objective of making Japan a cashless society. Through partnerships with QR code operators outside Japan, J-Coin Pay’s payment services will eventually be available to non-Japanese customers visiting Japan. As such, it could become a neighbouring competitor to Chinese mobile payment service Alipay, which currently dominates the global payments market.

J-coin Pay, Japan J-coin Pay, Japan

Moby releases new music through the Calm app

Long Ambients 2 by Moby, available on Calm

Global – The musician has launched an exclusive collection of minimalist music via Calm Music, the wellness app’s dedicated music streaming service.

The release of Long Ambients 2 – an album the artist created to help him sleep, meditate and relax – coincides with World Sleep Day 2019. Hosted on Calm Music, the six-track collection replicates the style of Moby’s earlier Long Ambients 1, but takes listeners on a deeper, more immersive journey, with each piece of music lasting around 37 minutes.

‘I originally made these songs for myself because I couldn't find this type of music anywhere. Long Ambients 2 was designed to help me sleep and to help other people find calm and maybe get a good night's sleep,’ says Moby.

As consumers adapt their lifestyles to counterbalance the stresses of 21st-century living, sleep is becoming a subset of the expanding wellness market with devices and apps such as Calm becoming intrinsic to sleep routines. For more, look out for LS:N Global's new Sleep Market, launching in April.

Stat: Consumer demand grows for plant-based packaging

With plant-based lifestyles on the rise, sustainable and environmentally-friendly packaging for food and beverages is becoming a greater point of interest for consumers. Nearly half of US consumers ‘try to buy packaging that is made with plant-based materials’, according to a new report from Evergreen Packaging, based on data from EcoFocus Worldwide.

‘Better personal health has driven the clean label movement in recent years and will drive plant-based trends in coming years,’ explains Linda Gilbert, CEO of EcoFocus Worldwide. ‘When we turn the health lens to packaging, consumer perceptions are clearly and consistently in favour of glass and paper, both for personal health and environmental reasons.'

As consumer interest grows, brands are reconsidering the impact of packaging, with leading FMCG companies embracing circular initiatives such as Loop and start-ups pioneering plant-based solutions.

Thought-starter: Should B2B branding be more human?

Mervyn ten Dam, founder of Dutch creative agency Achtung! discusses B2B brand identities and why it’s vital to appeal to the mindsets of tomorrow’s workforce.

When creating a recent campaign for payments platform Adyen, creative agency Achtung! decided to take a slightly different approach to B2B communications. ‘The whole idea is based on one thing: creating and telling stories and scenarios,’ says Mervyn ten Dam. The result was ‘an almost childish, simple, nice-to-understand little ‘pill’ – essentially, short campaign films.’

According to ten Dam, the brief was simple: to communicate very complex payment solutions in simple terms.‘The campaign videos are stripped down to the bare essence; we made them really playful and easy to look at. And story-wise, by restricting ourselves, we kept the communication simple and understandable, in the same way that tales can be understood by anybody,’ he explains.

As to why it was important to create a financial services campaign with humour and playfulness, he says: ‘The biggest mistake many B2B companies make is trying to be business-to-business. Finance brands of the future will have to have personality simply because the boundaries between personal and professional will be much closer.’

Read the full Q&A here.

Adyen, campaign by Achtung! Adyen, campaign by Achtung!
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