News 20.04.2022

Need to Know

Google reconsiders the obtrusive nature of notifications, Pour Moi creates climate-adaptive beauty, and young employees are putting their happiness first.

Google rethinks the disruptive design of notifications

Little Signals by Google and Map Project Office, UK

California – The disruptive sound of notifications – whether it’s an email, text or news alert – has become a subconscious part of everyday life. Now, technology monolith Google is reconsidering the role of notifications as a source of calm, not distraction.

With its Little Signals concept, the tech giant is exploring the potential of haptic design to help its users achieve balance and tranquillity while spending time online. The project, completed in partnership with industrial design studio Map Project Office, consists of six conceptual items that use movement, shadows or sound to gently alert netizens when something requires their attention.

Instead of shrill tones and distracting sounds, the Air item, for example, emits soft, pulsing vibrations that can shake the leaves of a nearby plant to inform you of a message. The Shadow device, on the other hand, conveys the importance of a notification through the length of its shadow.

As technology companies compete for consumers’ attention, this collaboration signifies a shift from the digital distractions that tyrannise our time online. By tapping into Focus Filters, Google is helping consumers feel more attuned to their environments – not their emails.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers are seeking moments of calm even in the most stressful situations. Instead of contributing to the noise, consider how your company can help foster serenity by opting for more thoughtful brand communications

Oliver Spencer creates apparel for next-gen gardeners

Oliver Spencer and Niwaki, UK Oliver Spencer and Niwaki, UK
Oliver Spencer and Niwaki, UK Oliver Spencer and Niwaki, UK

UK and Japan – Recognising a growing interest in gardening, the menswear brand is partnering with Japanese tool brand Niwaki on a utility-driven apparel collection. The collection features outerwear, trousers, shirts and accessories, with each designed to balance functionality with aesthetic considerations. One item, the Scion gardening gilet, features five front pockets ready to be filled with tools, bulbs and clippings.

Through this collaboration, the two brands are leaning into their unique approaches to design, while also catering to a new generation of gardening enthusiasts. Speaking of the partnership with Niwaki, Oliver Spencer says: ‘I think we share a desire to create objects and garments that have an intrinsically beautiful shape with a utilitarian aspect that is timeless and fit for purpose.’

As more people engage with gardening – as part of their reconnection with nature, as well as being a pandemic-age hobby – there is a renewed need for luxury apparel and tools that are stylish while also utilitarian and fit for purpose.

Strategic opportunity

Fashion brands have an opportunity to team up with brands specialising in hobbies from cooking to arts and crafts. Consider how your brand might balance aesthetics and functionality in this way

A serum that smoke-proofs skin against wildfires

France – As wildfires become an increasingly common occurrence across the world, French beauty brand Pour Moi has released a serum that strives to protect the skin from the harmful effects of smoke and pollution.

The Smoke Alarm Drops were created to boost the body’s defences against smoke, which can cause inflammation and premature ageing. When there is a wildfire or poor air quality, consumers can simply add the serum to their facial moisturiser or daily SPF product to enhance their protection. ‘This is the first product that smoke-proofs your skin. The wildfires in California are raging now, and they get into our stratosphere and come down everywhere throughout the US and Europe. When a wildfire is raging, your skin is hugely at risk,’ explains Ulli Haslacher, founder of Pour Moi.

As consumers across the world experience the effects of the climate crisis at first hand, they are seeking out skincare products that act as a first line of defence against environmental stressors. This is resulting in the rise of climate-adaptive skincare and toolkits that are designed to respond to the air pollution crisis.

Smoke Alarm Drops by Pour Moi, US

Strategic opportunity

Beauty brands should explore a hyper-local approach to climate-adaptive skincare by developing products tailored to the specific climatic conditions in cities – or even neighbourhoods

Stat: Young workers would prefer to be unemployed than unhappy

Off Hours Dogwalker Homecoat campaign. Photography by Cait Oppermann Off Hours Dogwalker Homecoat campaign. Photography by Cait Oppermann

Across the globe, young people entering the workforce for the first time are prioritising their happiness over the financial security of being employed. According to research by consulting firm Randstad, almost half of young people would take unemployment over staying in a job they didn’t like.

The research also found that 56% of Generation Z and 55% of Millennials said they would leave their job if it interfered with their personal lives. With these figures in mind, workplaces must recognise the changing values of employees as they seek to recruit new talent. ‘Young people want to bring their whole selves to work, which is reflected in their determination not to compromise their personal values when choosing an employer,’ explains Sander van 't Noordende, global CEO of Randstad.

With Gen Z increasingly working to re-assemble and decentralise outdated societal systems, they’re looking to reframe their approach to finding work by putting their values first.

Strategic opportunity

Employers must reframe standardised approaches to recruiting and maintaining talent. Think beyond superficial benefits and instead ensure your actions and values align with the needs of young workers

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