Free the birds

Branding, Thinking

FUTR Europe Summit 2019

Retail . Marketing . Commerce

What’s in the FUTR for the retail business?

FUTR Summits focus on everything fresh thinking and change in the future of retail, marketing and commerce. Their latest Europe Summit brought together attendees from brands, retailers and businesses for a two-day immersive gathering of talks, workshops, case studies and networking across digital, marketing, e-commerce, retail, innovation and customer experience.

Here are our five standout talks from the brands really shaking up the brandscape:

Lynk & Co.

1. Digital transformation of retail:

In the same way supermarkets radically changed streetscapes and consumer behaviour back in the 60s, our high streets are being disrupted once again.

But while store closures may feel like doom and gloom, they’re also an opportunity for transformation.

After all, isn’t it about time today’s homogenised high street had a shake-up?

That was a question Alain Visser, CEO of automotive challenger brand Lynk & Co., asked when discussing the new car brand, that isn’t a car brand at all.

Better described as a mobility brand, Lynk & Co. meets the needs of today’s consumer – one that no longer wants to own a car but still wants to drive. By following in the footsteps of subscription models like Netflix and Spotify, Lynk & Co. has managed to disrupt a 100-year-old industry with a mantra of experience over ownership. And is now the fastest selling car brand in the world.

However, brand experience can’t live online alone – a perspective shared with the rest of the panel and show. But instead of dreary car dealerships on industrial fringes, Lynk & Co.’s city centre immersive showrooms and popups build on their brand values with sensory, interactive experiences.

Retail isn’t dead; it’s just many existing stores have become irrelevant. Brands must ask themselves are they future fit or is some serious transformation required?

Beano Studios

2. Listen to the kids:

One brand that has managed extensive transformation is Beano Studios.

The beloved comic of our youth – delighting children with the ever-naughty Dennis the Menace since 1938 – has reinvented itself for a new online audience.

CMO Iain Sawbridge spoke on how they’ve managed to adapt to new consumer behaviours and become today’s fastest-growing platform for kids.

The content-driven platform gets into the mind-set of Gen Alpha by gathering data from its platform, social listening, and establishing its very own ‘Trendspotters’ research group to deliver insight-driven creativity.

So, how are the kids behaving?

Digital savvy parents and digital education have made for a data-safe child – unwilling to give out more information than absolutely required. And kidocracy reigns supreme with kids informing household decision-making on everything from what to watch to where to holiday. And New-new is just as in as New-old; both Fortnite and re-runs of Friends both equally loved.

That dichotomy also featured in a recent study showing that when given the choice of a digital or physical activity, for example, playing video games or cooking roast dinner with dad, the preference was split 50/50. And 9-12 year old’s favourite hot topics similarly cover Brexit, Trump and Arianna Grande!

For more kid thinking insights, check out:

The Gut Stuff

3. A gut feeling for branding:

Former Love Island DJs, the identical Mac Twins, founded The Gut Stuff in 2018 after having their microbiomes analysed by the Research Department of Kings College. Turns out, even though they were identical, their microbiomes were not.

Starting out as a content channel for democratising wellness with a no bulls*$t approach, they’ve fast become a leading voice in the gut health industry; hosting immersive events and attracting partnerships from Kellogg’s, Collective, Pukka and more besides, whilst also starting their own ecommerce site.

So, what do they put their success down to?

Quite simply, to the power of branding. There are scores of health businesses selling probiotics and gut health products, but it was the twins’ ability to take a unique idea, turn it into an ownable identity and memorable experience that’s made them “seem bigger than they are”.

Equipped with their playful brand identity featuring pink balloon art, The Gut Stuff have created a brand with purpose at the core, giving them the power to monetise, partner and grow.

Bloom & Wild

4. Customer-centricity – still a way to go:

With 1 in 20 Google searches health-related and the global market for health and wellness expected to grow to $815 billion by 2021, brands cannot afford to ignore the wellness category: particularly prevention and self-care rather than just cure that puts the customer firmly in control.

But true customer-centricity is still very new, and brands must look at their consumer relationships and sales journeys to see if they’re truly meeting needs.

Dr. Nikki Patel, Head of Evaluation and Research, Digital Development at the NHS, recognises that it must address the patient journey; currently designed for clinical, not emotional or practical needs, to truly put the patient at its heart. By partnering with health tech companies, the NHS is finding ways to take a friction-free, holistic view of patient records, bookings, advice and on-going dialogue where wellness can preside over illness.

This while AXA’s Head of Data, Edosa Odarno, questioned what technical solution his customers may need in different situations – possibly a drone or perhaps an Uber?

And of course no-one talks to consumers better than Direct-to-Consumer brands. Piper Private Equity Partner, Yasha Estraikh, discussed the positive, memorable power of data to centre the customer with Bloom & Wild’s Mother’s Day ‘opt-out if this time is sensitive to you’ campaign.


5. Accounting for the environment – Kering leads the way:

Kering is ranked the most sustainable company in luxury and fashion by Corporate Knights’ 2019 Global 100. And their Director of Sustainability, Michael Beutler, was there to discuss his ever-evolving journey to achieve the company’s sustainability agenda. All focused on proactively and robustly assessing impact and discovering innovative solutions: from sourcing, design, supply chain efficiency and greener business initiatives.

The tool Kering has created for measuring and quantifying the impact of its activities acts like a P&L statement, only for the environment. The Environmental Profit & Loss account enables greener business initiatives, something that Kering wishes to be open-source – because Care, Collaborate, Create are the pillars that embody and drive their ambition: to ‘Craft Tomorrow’s Luxury’.