News 12.02.2024

Need to Know

The New York Botanical Garden’s new branding is as refreshing as political, masturbation for Apple Vision Pro users and why declining test scores among school students could jeopardise the economy until 2064.

New York Botanical Garden unveils climate advocate brand refresh

New York Botanical Garden. Identity by Wolff Olins, US
New York Botanical Garden. Identity by Wolff Olins, US
New York Botanical Garden. Identity by Wolff Olins, US

US – The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) revealed its first major brand overhaul in over a decade in January 2024, in collaboration with global brand consultancy Wolff Olins. The revamped brand strategy and visual identity are designed to bridge the gap between the local experience of the Bronx-based Botanical Garden and its global presence.

Central to the rebranding is the ethos of ‘Do right by nature’, encapsulating NYBG’s commitment to studying, protecting and celebrating nature. ‘We wanted to capture what people already know about this beloved institution – being an incredible place of natural beauty – but also a place of science, research, horticultural advancements, preservation, education, advocacy, art and outreach to the surrounding Bronx community,’ said Jane Boynton, senior creative director at Wolff Olins, in a press release.

The redesign includes a hand-drawn logo focusing on the NYBG abbreviation, a vibrant colour palette inspired by nature and a photography style capturing the essence of the garden. The graphic language, drawn from a bird’s eye view of the garden, aims to avoid clichés seen in nature institution branding.

In line with our Graphic Activism design direction, this branding reflects optimism, but also addresses the ongoing climate and biodiversity crises. Jennifer Bernstein, CEO of NYBG, stated: ‘Our new brand is meant to inspire people to take action and to help nature thrive so that humanity can thrive.’

Strategic opportunity

Explore integrating a robust purpose or ethos directly into your brand identity, resonating with customers who align with your brand’s values. This approach fosters a stronger connection with your audience, allowing them to better engage with and understand your brand message

Apple Vision Pro could revolutionise digital intimacy as we know it

US – The newly launched Apple Vision Pro spatial computer is shaking up digital interactions, and sex is no exception. Sex tech company Lovense has developed software that makes long-distance sexual interactions more steamy, courtesy of spatial computing.

The pleasure brand has been known for ‘closing the distance’ in virtual intimacy, and the possibilities of spatial computing take Lovense’s mission one step further. With the new Apple Vision Pro integration, users can control their partners’ Lovense toys without a control handle, simply by making simple hand gestures. If a user performs the Grab & Shake command, for example, it generates real-time vibration frequencies in their partner’s toy. The intuitive nature of the tech-enhanced play has potential to make long-distance sexual relationships feel more engaging and organic. ‘This feature enhances users’ immersion and interactive experiences when using Lovense toys,’ the brand’s CEO Dan Liu said in a statement. ‘It’s a big step towards transforming how people experience long-distance intimacy.’

For more innovations redefining long-distance intimacy, head to our Isolated Intimacy microtrend report.

Lovense, Singapore

Strategic opportunity

Do not underestimate the impact of spatial computing on the future of UX. Businesses have a lot to gain from experimenting with integrating the technology that can make their digital touchpoints feel more intuitive

Walmart boosts store manager salary amid retail job cuts

Walmart, US Walmart, US

US – Walmart stands out in the retail job market as it is increasing remuneration for store managers amid job cuts at other retail giants like Amazon, Macy’s and Wayfair. Walmart’s move includes larger bonuses and stock awards, potentially pushing total annual salary for top-performing managers to over £317,300 ($400,000, €371,500). With thousands of store managers overseeing significant revenue and employee numbers, Walmart emphasises career progression, from entry-level positions to executive roles, often without requiring college degrees.

The company aims to stabilise turnover rates by investing in recruitment and training programmes, particularly targeting college graduates. Recent salary increases and bonus enhancements reflect Walmart’s efforts to retain and reward managerial talent, especially those managing supercentres, which receive the highest stock grants.

Walmart’s strategic focus on talent management underlines its commitment to maintaining leadership stability in its stores. This investment also aligns with our findings in Work States Futures, namely that properly investing in long-term employee wellbeing incentivises workers to continuously contribute to the business.

Strategic opportunity

Explore opportunities to enhance internal talent development programmes that prioritise career progression and increase talent retention. This could involve creating structured training initiatives for employees at all levels, not just managerial roles

Stat: Declining test scores among school students could hit the economy for 40 years

Yellow Canteen, Indonesia
Yellow Canteen, Indonesia

Global – According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), between 2018 and 2022 there was an unprecedented drop in performance in many countries among 15-year-olds tested on reading and maths.

Pointing to school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic as a likely major contributor to this decline, the report notes that disadvantaged students without access to proper online education during this time had been particularly affected.

Published in an economic outlook report entitled Strengthening the Foundations for Growth, the OECD warns that this decline in test scores could translate into a ‘persisting negative impact on the level of productivity over the next 30–40 years’, as lower test scores today will lead to less productive economies in the future.

The report highlights the need for additional fiscal spending on education reform and enhanced resources for disadvantaged students and schools to protect the economy in the long term.

For more insights on the subjects set to shape the next generations, head to our Gen Z and Gen Alpha topic pages and look out for our upcoming Generations: Now and Next report, in which we unpack the academic, cognitive and social effects of the pandemic on the youngest members of society.

Strategic opportunity

How can your business prepare for the class of Covid joining the workforce? Consider investing in mentorship programmes, life-long learning initiatives and internship opportunities for disadvantaged young people

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