Fostering a mild addiction among consumers is the guilty holy grail of brands today

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

For some it might be curry, cola or Queer Eye. For others Fortnite or facials. Never mind Pringles, today people are more likely to admit that once you’ve Tik Tok’d you can’t stop. It could be tattoos, or maybe the news — what are your personal weaknesses right now? What are your addictive behaviours du jour? Because, serious substance abuse aside for a minute, is it too harsh to posit that mild addiction is the holy grail of many a consumer business?

Love is blind. (And yes I’m obsessed with that Netflix show too.) The brand that fosters an emotional…


Human right or hot commodity? Why businesses and marketers are starting to bottle air.

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

Air. That which we breathe. Invisible, everywhere and free? In fact, in a perfect example of how nothing — literally in this case — should ever be taken for granted; air is set to become one of the hot commodities of the next decade.

With bottled water fast going out of fashion it was only a matter of time before entrepreneurial types would find a way to sell air. Being so essential to all life it’s a perfect product-market fit. But before we all rush off to eBay “empty” jam jars, it’s not just any air that’s seeing a rise…


Planting these little seeds now will make the biggest difference to the future

Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash

So here we are: the Twenties. Are you ready? Will they be roaring, like the last lot? It seems unlikely… the prevailing mood of the moment is quite the opposite. “Worried” might sum it up better. Be it the social, political, technological, health or environmental woes occupying the world’s stage on a rapid rotation, pick up a paper or plug in a podcast and it’s clear we’re not so much roaring as overwrought. So as we welcome in a year whose very numerical defines perfect vision, then… is there hope?

Yes there is. And over the next decade the plan…


Is it time to accept that logos and tone of voice are loosing their power?

It all started so Innocently. With copy that inspired a thousand copycats, Innocent Drinks’ warmly witty, slightly silly chat swiftly became a benchmark for good brand writing. And with it, a mass realization that the power of personality extends far beyond a swooshy logo and a pretty palette. TOVs — or “tone of voice guidelines” — gradually became a standard part of every branding package, and the enormous ramifactions that language can have on a business’s bottom line were universally acknowledged.

Fast forward a couple…


Stress is often seen as the biggest threat to our health and productivity, but can it sometimes be your ally too?

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

How’s your back? How’s your skin? How — to get right to the heart of it — are your cortisol levels today? Society is more stressed than ever, with many of us living in a constant state of “fight or flight” — nervous systems continuously switched on and primed for battle with the proverbial lions and tigers of evolutionary lore. But if we take a quiet (mindful) moment to consider it: is all stress really all bad? …


Single, solo, unaccompanied or unencumbered: travel is good for the soul. What I’ve learned from a lifetime of adventuring alone

Women have historically, collectively, been pretty good at starting revolutions, particularly of late. But now-in an especially impressive feat-they are doing it by choosing to be both on their own, and on holiday. According to a new study by Culture Trip, the market demographic that is the solo female travelers (also called SoWas) is currently making big changes to the global tourism industry, with a 131% increased interest in holidaying independently over the past two years. This is significant because it’s changing the travel market.

More than half-a-millennia since Marco Polo set sail for undiscovered lands, it would seem that…


As these startups demonstrate, transparency is the goal, not token initiative

Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash

It’s not easy being green. Kermit the Frog sang it. We all said it. And I’m pretty sure I have started articles with this sentence before, referencing the tricky nature and incessant compromise when it comes to eco-friendly design and business. That would have been ten years ago, maybe more. So is it still true? Is being environmentally responsible, conscious and caring still as slippery as a seal cub on a melting icecap — fraught with complexities and cost implications? In a word, no. And, with no disrespect to Kermit and friends, it’s time to stop making muppets of consumers.


Restoration is the new green superpower, and it’s set to change the game in design and fashion.

The Restory

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Yawn. The catchy mantra of the environmental movement — now forty or fifty years old — has become a little tired. Like an aging rock band who’ve long lost their sex appeal but keep on playing the circuit to the same (also aging but ever loyal) fans. But just as the 3Rs and their particularly monotonous beat look set to finally Retire, there comes a twist… Unexpectedly, just as we thought we’d heard it all, Reuse, the middle one — has had a Reinvention. …


The answer to this is, of course, ‘very’. So how sure are you that you’re spending it wisely? And what can you do about that?

Three years ago, I was busy. Busy with multiple work hats. Busy traveling, seeing friends, visiting family, keeping up with modern life (whatever that means)… Busy busy bla bla bla. Today I am busy too, but with the addition of two tiny children and a brand new hungry start-up venture too. Today’s busy makes the old busy seem as luxurious as a long bath with a good book. Which is ironic, because I am actually (slowly) managing to read a particularly good book while simultaneously battling my inbox, playing hide and seek and peekaboo, cooking dinner, negotiating investments, writing this…


The way we grow, distribute and repurpose our food needs to change and nowhere more so than in cities

Growing Underground, London

French, Indian, Italian or Chinese? The days of picking a restaurant simply for its provenance are far behind us in London, where we can order up a bacon naan for breakfast, python carpaccio for lunch, and a beetroot latte at whatever time we bloody well like. From raw vegan sushi to a platter of Feseg Baeyaynetu, fresh, free range, foraged and fine dining, ultra-specific regional recipes, creative blends and exotic ingredients are on the menu in a city that now proudly…

Henrietta Thompson

Commentator and columnist on all things related to design, innovation and the future. Cofounder: Naked on the Piano and HARTH.

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