News 14.03.2024

Need to Know

A daily recap from SXSW 2024, Semafor’s 2024 Global Election Hub and why Asics is highlighting the gender exercise gap.

SXSW 2024 daily recap: Brand-building 101 for cultural relevance

Michael Cera for CeraVe Super Bowl campaign, US

US – With numerous superbrands present at SXSW, discussions revolved around the intricacies and insights of brand establishment, ranging from identifying authentic brand purpose to formulating impactful marketing and social media strategies.

Representing Squint Consulting, Mark Lester moderated the Building Brands in the Unhappiness Era panel. This explored the roots of societal dissatisfaction, highlighting correlations between wellbeing and happiness. They also discussed the escalating health crises prevalent worldwide, such as diabetes, and examined how brands can disrupt the prevailing patterns of over-stimulation and perpetual states of stress.

Ben Goodwin, co-founder, CEO and formulator of healthy soda brand Olipop, highlighted individuals’ internal conflict when a brand such as Coca-Cola delivers immediate gratification and external joy. Yet, its products are recognised as a primary contributor to obesity and poor blood sugar across the US. Goodwin articulated his aspirations for Olipop to navigate this conflict by providing a healthier alternative to soda, allowing consumers to retain their indulgent habits without compromising on health concerns. In 2023, Olipop sales at a national retailer surpassed legacy soda brands, including Pepsi, Mountain Dew, A&W and Canada Dry.

Over at the Superstar Brands: Connection in the Era of Creators panel, L’Oréal USA’s chief digital officer Han Wen was joined on stage by marketing scholar Dr Marcus Collins, CeraVe’s senior vice-president and global head of digital marketing Adam Kornblum and podcaster Bobbi Althoff – renowned for her involvement in the widely recognised CeraVe marketing campaign featuring Michael Cera.

They explored how to build marketing strategies that are collective cultural moments that result in brand reliance and community. A consensus emerged that using the power of the creator economy and cultivating fandoms are paramount.

Han Wen identified the shift from pursuing perfectionism in marketing to embracing authenticity and genuineness as the primary currency for meaningful engagement – as seen with the rise of Anti-Authenticity Beauty. According to Wen, building trust between brands, communities and creators is crucial, and this was echoed by Althoff, who praised the L’Oréal Group for letting her have creative control when working with CeraVe.

For more on SXSW 2024, look out for our upcoming Event Debrief.

Strategic opportunity

Speakers participating in The Experience Economy panel deliberated on the pivotal role of consciousness and presence in reshaping brand experience. Consider how you can break the cycle of The Paralysis Paradox with experiences that ignite emotional intensity, whether that be happiness, contentment, excitement or fulfilment

The Switch’s take on traditional Dutch tiles celebrate craftsmanship and sustainability

Tiles of The Sun by The Switch, 72andSunny, and Harlinger, Netherlands Tiles of The Sun by The Switch, 72andSunny, and Harlinger, Netherlands
Tiles of The Sun by The Switch, 72andSunny and Harlinger, The Netherlands Tiles of The Sun by The Switch, 72andSunny and Harlinger, The Netherlands

The Netherlands – Green energy solutions company The Switch has collaborated with creative agency 72andSunny to repurpose traditional Delfts Blauw-style tiles into a symbol of the country’s commitment to a transition to solar energy.

Entitled Tiles of The Sun, the project celebrates the efforts of clean energy technicians by capturing solar panel installers onto the blue and white tiles, in place of traditional imagery of blacksmiths, farmers or carpenters.

Hand-crafted and painted by artisans from the Haarlinger Tile factory, the bespoke tiles will be gifted to The Switch customers and available to purchase. Proceeds from the sales will fund training programmes and certifications for new talent at The Switch, which provides free training and employment opportunities for those with refugee backgrounds.

As explored in our Cultured Waste report, sustainably minded creatives are increasingly looking to craft pieces that are deeply rooted in native cultures and utilise waste materials indigenous to their countries to cut through eco-fatigue.

Strategic opportunity

For your next campaign, consider how your brand can repurpose traditional craftsmanship or waste materials in a way that helps create a narrative around your brand history, values and commitment to sustainability

Semafor launches Global Election Hub for the year’s crucial elections

AI imagery by The Future Laboratory, UK AI imagery by The Future Laboratory, UK

Global – Promising news newcomer Semafor has unveiled its latest venture, the Microsoft-sponsored Global Election Hub, aimed at covering the various elections worldwide in 2024. The announcement follows the recent roll-out of Semafor’s Signals story format, also supported by Microsoft, which employs generative AI to uncover unique angles on news stories.

With over 50 countries, representing more than 2bn people, set to vote in 2024, the Global Election Hub comes at a crucial time. Featuring a Hot List, the hub offers a subjective ranking of elections based on urgency, importance and their global impact.

Designed as a one-stop destination for audiences seeking international electoral news, the hub provides comprehensive coverage of, and deep context on, critical races, electoral trends and ballot updates. Semafor is marking a departure from numerical jargon, focusing instead on delivering meaningful insights to readers.

Semafor’s Global Election Hub resides on its un-paywalled website and caters for an international readership, paving the way to reach wide audiences with The New News.

Strategic opportunity

Building upon the concept of the Global Election Hub, businesses can explore opportunities in content curation and aggregation. Can you create curated platforms or services that offer comprehensive coverage of specific topics or events that can attract niche audiences seeking in-depth insights in one place?

Stat: Asics highlights the state of the gender exercise gap

Dajlien collection by Ikea, The Netherlands Dajlien collection by Ikea, The Netherlands

Global – Sportswear specialist Asics has unveiled the findings of a global study on the gender exercise gap, shedding light on the challenges women face in maintaining regular physical activity and its impact on their mental wellbeing.

Conducted by Dr Dee Dlugonski from the University of Kentucky and associate professor Brendon Stubbs from King’s College London, the study surveyed nearly 25,000 individuals worldwide. It discovered that over half of women globally are ceasing exercise altogether, attributing this to barriers such as time constraints (74%), low self-confidence (35%), intimidating environments (44%) or not feeling sporty enough (42%).

Of significant note is the revelation that motherhood is the primary reason for two-thirds of mothers abandoning regular exercise routines. Societal expectations surrounding gender roles, including disproportionate care-giving responsibilities, further exacerbate the issue.

The study found that over a third of women say their friends are their most crucial exercise influencers. Respondents said they were more motivated to exercise by women like themselves, rather than celebrities. When asked why they exercised, women almost universally said that they exercised for their mental (92%) and physical (96%) wellbeing rather than aesthetics.

As explored in our analysis of Care Collectives, Asics encourages exercise centred around women and their needs to drive change, ‘from providing childcare and catering for all activity levels to fitting around work, being fun, affordable, safe, welcoming and judgement-free’, said Dr Dlugonski.

Strategic opportunity

To resonate with all women consumers, leisure and sportswear brands should emphasise inclusivity, accessibility and empowerment through fitness in their marketing and communications strategy

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