I’ve been asked a few times now, “What do Graduate Strategists actually do?”
Let me explain.
I joined the Design Bridge London Studio 5 months ago on the Client Servicing & Graduate Scheme and I’m really enjoying myself. I’m currently working with the Strategy team; every day is different, and I get work on all sorts of projects. One day I could be helping put together a brand’s architecture, another day I’ll be walking around London and seeking out inspiration for the designers I’m working with. Or, like today, I could be looking at trends and writing up my findings to share with the team.
But why do trends matter?
It’s important to keep up with trends and how the world is transforming so that we can continue to inspire our clients and constantly come up with creative ideas that resonate with consumers today, and beyond. Trends act as a guide. They capture the interests of the consumer, and allow brands to create and design according to the consumers wants and needs.
We work with lots of different sectors, but for this task I focused on FMCG, specifically looking at the brands that are already ahead of the curve and meeting future consumer needs now. Here’s my pick of key trends right now, and a few inspiring examples of each.
Hyper-informed consumers are tailoring their diets according to their genetics. As technology evolves it will enable more and more consumers to construct hyper-individualised approaches to their own personal physical and mental health needs.
DNAfit is an at-home DNA kit that uses genetic science and technology to help people personalise their health and wellness. Last year Yo! Sushi partnered up with DNAfit to give customers a personalised experience when choosing their dinner, tailoring meals to each person based on their genetic sensitivities.
People are also discovering their triggers – what works, and what doesn’t work well for them. We will see a shift in gut health as mood and brain connections become the new frontier. For example, it was identified by Mintel that 66% of UK adults agree that emotional wellbeing affects their gut health. DNA results are able to give us insight on how our bodies respond to changes in our food and lifestyle – one of them being genetic stress response. This allows us to nurture our brain, body and guts better. There are already 2 interesting drinks brands I’ve come across that encourage consumers to take a break and look after themselves; Recess and Rebbl, both of which use adaptogens. Adaptogens are non-toxic, herbs, roots and mushroom that helps resist, stressor of all kind.
The current climate crisis is motivating people to change their lifestyle. The successful brands will be the ones that improve the health of the planet and the population.
It’s no secret that we need to reduce that amount of waste we create, and consumers are increasingly wanting more innovation that makes it easier to recycle, refill or even consume packaging. Ever & Ever is one brand that is doing things differently. A bottled water brand, Ever & Ever’s packaging is made from aluminium, and it has a great story. 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in circulation so if their bottles are recycled properly, they can be recycled forever and ever, or at least for a lot longer than a lot of other materials used for water bottles – get it?
Seed Phytonutrients is a beauty brand that is conscious about its packaging, and its seed-based products are packaged in shower-friendly paper that’s both recyclable and compostable.
We have witnessed the number of people altering their diets rise year-on-year. BonRaw is a brand that is making it easier for people to switch their diets naturally, with minimum effort and zero compromise. The consumption of refined sugars not only affects our bodies, but it also has a negative environmental impact – such as loss of natural habitats, intensive use of water and heavy use of agro-chemicals. BonRaw encourages consumers to switch from regular sugar to a plant-based sugar alternative without compromising taste. Such a small change can have a snowball effect and influence consumers to other parts of their diet e.g. how much animal products they consume. Plus, people can consume the sugar guilt free because their packaging is 100% compostable and mostly reusable.
Discarded thought of a creative way to use what is often overlooked, creating its fruit-forward rum using discarded banana peels.
And since we are on the topic of overlooked fruit – Oddbox rescues fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown away because farmers grew too many or they weren’t ‘perfect’ enough for supermarket shelves, and then delivers them as an alternative delivery box scheme in London.
Future-proofing the planet to maintain a consistent food supply. Consumers’ trust in food science and technology will strengthen as these become vital tools to save our food supply.
A new agricultural revolution is dawning, we are on course to discovering agricultural innovations that will change the way we farm in the future. As population growth and urbanisation continues Asian countries and urban cities are investing in high-tech urban and indoor farming. In the meantime, Daily Harvest is tackling food waste problems by freezing fruit and vegetables hours after harvest at the source so that they can deliver peak-season goodness year-round.
Another brand making waves is Memphis Meats by 2021, they want to launch a range of lab-grown chicken, beef and duck made from CRISPR gene-editing technology. CRISPR technology is arguably more sustainable and more ethical than meat from slaughterhouses because it acts like a pair of scissors by snipping specific bits of DNA cells that are able to self-renew and grow to become meat. Additionally, in the next 5 years we will see the development of synthetic alcohol – imagine an alcohol that doesn’t cause hangovers! Alcarelle think they have the formula, so this is definitely one trend to keep your eye on.
As I write this, applications have just opened for this year’s Graduate Scheme and I can’t quite believe that it’s been a whole year since I was putting mine together! So if you’re thinking about applying and are interested in Strategy but you’re not quite sure, I say do it! It’s not what you expect it to be, and if I could put what I’ve achieved so far in one sentence it would be this: I’ve learnt to understand how brands think and behave, and how these characteristics can influence design.
Curated and written by Sarah Mwathunga, who is currently working in the Strategy Team as part of the Graduate Scheme in the Design Bridge London Studio.
We are taking applications for this year’s Graduate scheme, which you can find out all about here. The deadline for applications is Friday 3rd April 2020.