8 Jul

TrendsWatch | New Business Insight From The Past Week

The pubs are back, Leicester’s on lockdown, the NHS is seventy-two and cricket returns at the weekend .

In the brand world, things are busy, too. In this week’s round-up, we see digital and tech dominating retail, mixed feeling towards vehicle subscriptions, health and wellbeing continuing its unstoppable rise and brand leviathans cementing their standing.

Retail Tech:

Supporting its Technology and Change function, department store chain John Lewis has established a new deal with Wipro, delivering tech infrastructure such as cloud hosting, networks and an internal help desk for JLP’s 80,000 partners.

Commenting on the development, Mike Sackman, CIO at JLP, said: “Consumer behaviour is changing and in a post Covid-19 world we need to be more agile, adapting more quickly to change. Wipro will support us in the delivery of that ambition, ensuring that we always have access to up-to-date technologies and specialist expertise.

John Lewis is not alone in announcing tech advancements this week. From Thursday, Marks and Spencer’s Sparks loyalty scheme will be entirely digital, hosted via an updated M&S app. Current members will be able to download their existing cards directly onto their smartphones.

Speaking of the move, Jeremy Pee, Chief Digital Officer, said: “With a digital first approach, it’s simpler and easier to use but also builds our relationship with customers through a more personalised experience. We’ve injected a new sense of excitement and value and made the features they love even better, while stripping out the points and tiers system they found confusing.”

The developments follow a trend that we have witnessed increasingly over the past few weeks. As brands seek to understand more about their customers and tap into the digital advance, it is likely that these are first of many such transformations.

Vehicle Subscriptions:

Following mediocre sales, Mercedes-Benz is suspending its two-year-old subscription service. The program, which offered subscribers access to 30 models for a monthly fee, was rolled out in Atlanta, in a bid to attract consumers who want to have access to a fleet of cars, without owning them. USA Head of Sales, Adam Chamberlain, explained that the service would have expanded had results been better, but that has not been the case.

It’s not all bad news on the vehicle subscriptions front, though. Also this week, Jaguar Land Rover launched a new ‘pivotal’ car subscription service aimed at providing an alternative to traditional car ownership and leasing plans. Users of the new service will pay a monthly fee for rental of the vehicle, covering insurance, tax, servicing and any repairs required. Contrary to many car leasing schemes, the JLR initiative will allow customers to change their car every six months in order to suit “their changing lifestyle, whether it’s a new job, growing a family or the need for greater flexibility”.

It looks like the jury is out on vehicle subscription services, but with subscriptions a focus of the pandemic and mobility a fascinating topic for the world to consider post coronavirus, it’s certainly one to watch.

Health and Wellbeing:

It’s been in the spotlight recently and the health and wellbeing sector shows no signs of slowing. This week confectionary giant – Mondelez – announced that it is set to combat childhood obesity with calory cuts to some of its best-known chocolate brands. Fudge, Curly Wurly and Chomp would be brought under 100 calories “over the next few months”.

Mondelez MD – Louise Stigant – said that limiting portions was “the right approach in terms of helping parents control calories when wanting to treat their children.”

Here at Ingenuity, we saw a health and wellbeing brand looking to tap into the new focus on the industry with a revamped packaging and design brief. Expect to see renewed focus on this sector in the months and years to come.

Brand Behemoths:

Finally, it was a week in which two of the world’s biggest brands got bigger. Shares in Elon Musk’s Tesla have surged since the beginning of the year and the firm has now overtaken Toyota to become the world’s most valuable carmaker.

Not to be outdone by Musk’s adventurous outfit, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has consolidated its position as the world’s most valuable brand, reaching a $416bn valuation.

It is perhaps unsurprising – given the difficulties faced by small-medium sized businesses – that some of the world’s biggest companies will have increased market share in these challenging times.