December's color alert is Generosity. it lifts the spirit, and announces the job of a new year. Seen as a hue that embodies hope and happiness, it is also an antidote to heavy, toned hues.

Millennials are the most diverse generation in history – only 59% are Caucasian and 27% have an immigrant background (Deloitte, 2015). Therefore, it’s no surprise that this demographic expects brands to embrace and reflect the diversity of their lives – a trend previously highlighted by Stylus Life in our report No normal: Post-diversity marketing. If brands are to do this successfully, they must move beyond crude stereotyping to represent a broad spectrum of race, gender and sexuality.

For instance, Muslim millennials offer growing opportunities for brands – the Muslim consumer lifestyle market is predicted to reach $2.6tn by 2020. The modern yet faith-driven outlook of this group, along with a growing disposable income, will see them buy into brands that reflect or understand their values. Make-up brand CoverGirl is already tapping into this lucrative demographic with its latest brand ambassador –beauty blogger and hijab wearer Nura Afia. One of a growing number of Muslim beauty bloggers, her new role demonstrates the importance and appeal of diverse representation.

Beauty brands are working particularly hard to cater to often forgotten demographics. A new initiative from L’Oreal offers free step-by-step audio tutorials to give visually impaired women more independence. The usability has been carefully considered to fit the needs of this consumer group – the cosmetic and skincare tutorials are concise to fit into everyday habits, while the app’s customisable user interface features a monochrome palette and large text.

Also targeting a currently under-catered market, UnBeweavable Hair is an on-demand hair service specifically for women of colour. On-demand beauty services, which provide a stylist straight to your home or workplace, have been rising in popularity for some time now – yet UnBeweavable Hair is the first tailored to the specific needs of this demographic.

Created by Zina Alfa, it was inspired by her own difficulties in finding hairdressers who understood her needs. Made by a woman of colour for other women of colour, this case study shows that if brands want to provide products and services that appeal to all, they must improve the diversity of their workforce.

Rebecca Minkoff recently highlighted the need for diverse workforces, citing the lack of female employees in technology companies (and STEM fields in general) as a key reason why wearables are not currently capturing female consumers. The fashion designer also mentions examples of having to explain female expectations and behaviours – such as taking jewellery off at night – that were missed by an all-male team.

There’s a popular saying promoting better gender and race representation that suggests ‘you cannot be what you cannot see’ – but this could easily be extended to ‘you cannot create for audiences you don’t represent and understand’. Which is why companies with diverse workforces are more likely to financially outperform those that are not (McKinsey, 2015). So if you want to ensure your products appeal to an increasingly diverse consumer landscape, you’d better start with your job adverts.

Brought to you by Stylus Life, creativity and innovation news from around the web.

Friday, November 18th | Barry McGeough social links

lost in thought
with Barry McGeough

Group Vice President, Innovation Next

I'm inspired by thinkers and doers, not in that order
To me, brilliant is simplicity and the elegant solution
My favorite app is nature
When I'm having a creative block, I sleep on it!
My favorite brand is Anthony Bourdain
My dream project is Leading Innovation Next
The best advice I ever received was from Elvis Costello: "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused"
The very next thing on my to-do list is Dive the Maldives
My dream collaborator is Tesla
I think the Kardashians are either a sad reflection of fame for fames' sake or a lot of fun, I can't tell which
At least once, everyone should push themselves to their edge
The best way to unwind after a long day is cook great food and drink great wine
If I had a one year sabbatical, I would come back to work
The most overused word in meetings today is unlock
At the moment, I'm obsessed with Kim chi
As of now, I'm totally over Donald Trump
I'd define my personal style as rock and roll business casual
My tools of the trade are a laptop, a blistering fast internet connection, a caliper and a sharp pair of scissors
The biggest thing that has changed since I started in the industry is China
I'm happiest when I am awake
I lead by pathological curiosity
I wish I could fly (duh!)
I'm proud that I have made things people love
My playlist is deep rootsy Dub of all kinds
You can usually find me with either a knife or a keyboard in my hands: cooking or working
The last stamp on my passport was Japan
The next stamp on my passport is the UK
When I look back on my career, I want to say I am still defining my career
I still hope to change the planet
Find out more about his participation in FUSE arrow © 2016 IIR Holdings, LTD. All Rights Reserved.
Over the past few weeks, the Stylus Life team has been tracking the latest innovations in retail tech – the online tools making shopping seamless, and the in-store tech that will encourage customers to head back to the high street.

Retailers are always seeking new ways to entice customers and encourage loyalty, particularly looking to create convenient purchase journeys that fit around shopping habits. This strategy is seen through Mr Porter’s recent partnership with Apple TV. A first for luxury content-commerce mergers, the collaboration sees the e-tailer monetise its editorial video content, letting shoppers buy directly through their TV.

Similarly, Instagram recently announced it would soon start testing retail tools that enable users to buy items found in their image feed – a move that will help both brands and tastemakers to drive revenue through the platform. The new feature, kicking off in the US with twenty retailers, ties in with recent stats showing that consumers increasingly shop via their mobile devices.

The consumer desire for convenience and curation is also highlighted in recent research that discovered 43% of US consumers are likely to do their holiday shopping via online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon, compared to just 15% purchasing via an individual retailer’s website. This dramatic difference is due to marketplaces’ ability to offer shoppers a simpler experience, with a wider variety of products at the best prices – all in one place.

So if shopping online is easier, what will send customers back to the store? Well, a recent survey has found that 63% of UK shoppers still prefer the high street, but are more likely to be enticed by tech-fuelled retail spaces. The convenience of contactless and mobile payments was described by some as “life-changing”. Meanwhile, shoppers are more likely to visit stores with technology such as virtual reality (57%) or smart fitting rooms (57%), which provide experiences that can’t be replicated at home or online.

Tesco is capitalising on this consumer desire for technology, trialling digital receipts that offer shoppers personalised offers, while also taking another step towards paperless transactions. The trial, running through November, aims to give customers more choice. Beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury has placed digital interaction at the centre of its new store, using virtual mirrors to help shoppers select their perfect look, and in-store screens to showcase social media inspiration.

Brought to you by Stylus Life, creativity and innovation news from around the web.
November's color alert is Oro, a bit of gold, a bit of bronze, and all magnificent metallic. It's a color that's ready to shimmer, shine and an edge to design.

Once the stuff of science fiction, artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming part of our everyday. New uses for this futuristic technology are launched each week, often so subtle that you will only find them if you seek them out. These practical and specialised AI applications are helping brands personalise their offering, improve efficiency and simplify consumers’ lives.  

The master of the algorithm, Tinder’s latest update makes it even more likely you’ll meet your match. Its Smart Photos feature will swap your profile picture depending on the preferences of who is looking at it. For example, it will change if your potential partner prefers seeing full-length photos, or ones with your pet. The feature is said to improve over time, but it has already led to a 12% increase in matches.

Ebay also hopes to find you the perfect match – but with more of a focus on your home than your love life. Its new Ebay Collective site, dedicated to art and design, features image recognition technology that lets shoppers select an image of a room to find matching products. Using this tool, the auction site aims for a level of curation that is ordinarily only found in physical homeware stores. 

Despite its benefits, many consumers are understandably cautious of this rapidly advancing technology. The Hiro Baby app, which offers on-demand advice and support in response to parental queries, retains a human-assisted element to reassure apprehensive consumers. Users receive personalised feedback and product recommendations that are derived through artificial intelligence, yet approved by a real person before being sent.

Similarly, Baidu’s medical chatbot is not designed to replace doctors, but simply to speed up the diagnosis process. Patients answer a series of questions, which become more personalised with every response, to create a detailed account of their symptoms prior to doctor referral. These personal assistants use messaging services to provide a familiar interface that helps connect with patients individually.

How artificial intelligence will develop in the future is uncertain. This month President Obama pushed his support for AI, making it a key focus of his guest edited issue of Wired magazine and unveiling a plan for ensuring government regulations develop in tandem with the technology.

Yet one thing is certain: if artificial intelligence can deliver the practical benefits it promises, without the distractions, it will likely be here to stay. As Obama put it, AI “has been seeping into our lives in all sorts of ways, and we just don’t notice”.   

Brought to you by Stylus Life, creativity and innovation news from around the web.
Get into the minds of the people ushering the new era of brand. 

Each month, we sit down with creatives and brand leaders who share with us their passion, dreams, hobbies, business goals, advice, personal style, tools of trade, proudest moments, last stamp on their passports, and more!

Inside our FUSE MUSE Fall 2016 Edition eBook, you will find inspirational pearls of wisdom from design and brand leaders including:

·         Thomas Thurston, WR HAMBRECHT VENTURES
·         Mauro Porcini, PEPSICO
·         Judith VanVliet, COLOR MARKETING GROUP
·         Vicki Young, NALLA DESIGN
·         Melissa Steach, HERMAN MILLER
·         Vikram Bawa, MCCAIN FOODS

Download the eBook here:

Happy reading!

Also, next month join your peers and uncover the power and impact design can have on your brand and business. Don’t miss our upcoming FUSE London Conference taking place November 30-December 2, 2016 in London, England. Buy tickets here:

The FUSE Team

October's color alert is Redlicious, a sumptuous, appetizing red that suggests a forbidden fruit, full of temptation and sultriness. Its depth lures you in and takes hold of your visual sense, and conjures the senses of smell and taste. It is a smoldering fire, candy apple, and sensuous lip, all rolled into one.  

By: Sophie Corfan, Stylus Life Editor

As the world turns its attention to the upcoming U.S. election, prominent brands and figures across the creative industries have been jumping on the political bandwagon over the past few weeks. Brands are increasingly using campaigns to get behind social causes – from LGBTQI pride to female empowerment – gaining traction and respect among politicised consumers.

Remaining neutral while pushing politics, both Snapchat and Doritos have been encouraging their audiences to “Rock the Vote” recently – coinciding with the USA’s National Voter Registration Day (27th September). Snapchat’s initiative reminds users of the importance of voting through its infamous bite-sized videos, before directing them straight to the voter registration website. Meanwhile, Doritos vending machines on college campuses playfully point out that if you’re not registered to vote, you don’t get a choice – giving only tasteless chips to unregistered voters.

Brexit – and the subsequent political turbulence – continues to fill the news in the UK, and this week, a number of designers united over the Brexit Design Manifesto. The document, spearheaded by Max Fraser and Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs, lays out opportunities and challenges for the British design industry in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Signed by an array of design influencers, the manifesto demonstrates how industry leaders are taking the initiative to ensure the stability of their own future.

Fashion brands are also aligning themselves with the causes their customers care about. The Kooples announced that fur would no longer feature in any of its future collections. The decision has been prompted by a PETA campaign and petition signed by 60,000 people, demonstrating a willingness to listen to its audience and adapt accordingly. Monki’s feminist Monkifesto uses humour to attune directly with the core concerns of its young female consumers. The campaign’s catchy slogans –tackling periods, sexuality, cyber-bullying and more – will appear across a capsule collection over the coming months.  

As political and social issues infiltrate so much of the current conversation, it’s no surprise that consumers are expecting brands and influencers to join in – with 74% of US consumers appreciating companies being clear on what they stand for (The Futures Company, 2015). And with value-driven Gen Z and millennial consumers considering their beliefs key to their identity ­– and keen to spend accordingly – this trend is only set to accelerate.

Brought to you by Stylus Life, creativity and innovation news from around the web.


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