Welcome to Frontiers

Brands (like all of us) have their standard operating procedures— playbooks, practices, places that makes them feel secure.

But a brand that hews too reliably to routine might fall prey to the innovator’s dilemma: by doing what it knows best — targeting the same audience, sticking to preferred channels and messages, relying on legacy brand love — a company positions itself to be eclipsed by competitors who seize new opportunities to deliver value differently.

As historian Frederick Jackson Turner proposed in his 1893 “Frontier Thesis,” our willingness to expand beyond what we know shapes our culture and characteristics. To maintain their edge, brands can adopt a frontier mentality too. This requires committing to the discomfort of exploring the perimeters of a market — the emerging technologies, platforms, and business models that seem risky and niche…until they gain critical mass. These frontiers are a Wild West for marketers: they don’t fit into traditional workflows or answer to established metrics. They require different strategic briefs and tool sets for creative concepting and production.

Fast forward to 2018, and consider how everything feels new again. Technology has a habit of upsetting the market, and this creative destruction has left many of us feeling unsure of what’s next and how to evolve. Today’s frontiers are established by the emerging technologies and systems that are fundamentally changing the relationships we hold with one another, with brands, and with popular culture.

W+K Lodge is a division of Wieden+Kennedy dedicated to working on the frontiers of technology and creativity. Our work represents an expansive range — virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, digital products, and everything in between. We see emerging technologies simply as tools that help us work with brands to navigate their own frontiers. Our only constant is the pursuit of solving core problems in creative new ways.

Produced by the minds at W+K Lodge, Frontiers is a collection of stories from our engineers, designers, strategists, and producers that analyzes how the world is changing through the lens of emerging technology — and how brands can evolve to keep up. Join us as we explore what it means to combine creativity, technology, design, and business strategy in key areas such as retail, home, and care.

For each industry, we’ll form a considered perspective and share it via design experiments, trend analysis, proofs of concept, and examples of our work. Our goal is to provide you with an equal measure of both inspiration and information.

Follow along and receive updates each time we explore a new frontier:

Illustration by Ryan Peltier.