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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ru Paul and New Trends in Entertainment Marketing

This week, I had a lively exchange with Dave Gianatasio over at AdWeek magazine about trends in product integration. When sponsors insert themselves into the context of the culture, it communicates what the brand means in people's lives. It's powerful. We've built a business advising clients about how to do that well. Handled crudely, it can create a deadly collision for both the brand and the content.  The days of lathering on superficial logo placements and expecting results are gone. A new generation of social mavens are training the next generation of consumers to expect quality interactions. Check out the full article here.....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Trending: Brands Go Urban--Kraft Moves

Very recently, we got a new neighbor on our block. Kraft Foods Group moved its marketing operations to our little strip of Michigan Avenue. We’re thrilled. Mainly because it signals a renaissance in urban business life. The move follows other suburban-based marketers, such as Heineken USA, PepsiCo and Discover, that have also opened city offices recently.

When suburban-based brands move to urban dwellings, it updates their brand personality making them more hip, more youthful. Others brands seeking the urban identity include Westchester County, N.Y.-based PepsiCo, which housed its global design and innovation team in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood in late 2013. White Plains-based Heineken USA opened an office on New York City's Park Avenue in 2010 for its marketing and innovation team.

We haven’t dropped by yet to welcome our new neighbors, but we hear delicious rumors about their digs: The environment is open concept and casual with a dynamite training room. Long tables replace cubicles so employees can easily plug in to work. We are thoroughly jealous of automated massage chairs, as well as a private room for nursing mothers. As a boutique agency we’ll just have to rely on the occasionally pedicure respite to get our jiggly chair massages.

Welcome to the ‘hood Kraft Food Group. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Ugly Truth About Meetings

No matter where you work, chances are that you spend a lot of time in meetings. But are meetings a good use of time? Do they help us accomplish things, or distract us from getting real work done?

We found this clever infographic from Fuze called, “The UglyTruth About Meetings,” that paints the picture. It’s not good. According to the graphic, 92 percent of people admit to multitasking while in meetings and 67 percent of meetings are unproductive. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pocket Zones: How to Build Livable Megacities

The key to smarter cities will not be technology, but the existence of dense walkable zones made for easy living.

The MIT Tech Review speculates that in the coming decades, much of the population growth will happen in cities. By 2050, some 75 percent of the world’s population is expected to be living in them. What will make cities click is an ease of life—where daily living is the focus, says Kent Larson, an architect who directs the MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places Group. “If you design for living, you’re going to get the good stuff: the eco-friendly, green, low-carbon city,” and more innovation will spring out of the interactions of the people living and working there, Larson argues.

Cities have sprung up to serve many purposes, such as commerce and manufacturing, but the key to making them more innovative could be simply to make them more livable and walkable.

Larson believes that a few features will make highly dense, but livable cities possible:

1. Urban farming, which might involve adding a lightweight “skin” to buildings where crops can grow in a process that is 100 times more land-efficient than conventional farming, and also uses much less water and produces much less carbon dioxide. In China alone, “you have 250 million people moving to cities, mostly farmers, and they’ll need jobs, so it’s a no-brainer,” says Larson.

2. Rethinking transportation. Larson envisions micro-scale cars that can be shared, allowing for a 50-fold benefit in how much land is actually needed to accommodate parking, he said.

3. Micro housing. Look for a rise in micro-scale housing units, such as 200-square-foot apartments with various sliding units so that beds, dining room tables, and even bathrooms can expand and collapse.

The intersection of livability and sustainability is a hot spot that we continue to watch. As we trundle through the streets of Chicago, we see eco-friendly projects popping up everywhere.  Stay tuned as we share more trends and consumer behaviors that will accelerate this next wave of livable, sustainable growth.

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