101 of the best consumer-focused innovations from 2018

Trend-driven innovations that will raise YOUR customers’ expectations!

Henry Mason
Dec 19, 2018 · 23 min read

Every business leader, entrepreneur, innovator and marketer wants to know where customers are headed next. Us too! And at TrendWatching we’re obsessed with one big, counter-intuitive idea:

The most effective way to anticipate what customers will want next is to look at leading brands and disruptive startups, in all markets and industries. See how they redefine customer expectations. And apply these insights back in your organization.

That’s the promise behind our Innovation of the Day newsletter. Give us 2 minutes of your time and in return we’ll give you powerful provocations on where consumerism, business, tech and brands are headed.

Below you’ll find 101 of our favorite expectation-setting innovations from 2018, and countless insights for you to reflect — and act! — on in 2019.

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😌 Wellness-boosting innovations.

Consumers don’t just want to avoid physical ill health. In 2018 they’ve consciously embraced an ever-expanding notion of health that promises lasting, holistic physical, mental and social well-being. Which means that every business can — and should! — be actively thinking about how to improve the wellness of its customers. Get inspired by the initiatives below:

1. Nestle | The F&B giant shifted away from the sweets. Its Wellness Ambassador program had Japanese consumers submit their DNA and share pictures of their food to receive tailored diet supplements and advice. Read more >>

2. REWE | As consumers worldwide keep an eagle eye on their sugar intake, this German supermarket’s crowdsourcing initiative took steps to pudding control in consumers’ hands. Read more >>

3. Chile | Another reminder of how attitudes are changing: Chile stepped up as a leader in the battle against sugar, imposing a series of harsh sanctions on junk food producers and advertisers. Read more >>

4. Costa Coffee | This UK chain’s simple but creative initiative showed you can effectively respond to a major health issue — in this case, loneliness — with just a piece of paper. Read more >>

5. Manulife | In Singapore we saw an artisan plant pot with a hidden superpower: repelling mosquitoes! Produced and distributed by an insurance company. Of course! Read more >>

6. Lia | Good wellness outcomes require a good design. This plastic-free, flushable pregnancy test is a double design win: eco-friendly AND privacy-assuring. Read more >>

7. Riverbend School | The philosophy of this new school in India? Happiness > grades. Wellness for the next generation. Read more >>

8. Town Square | The Experience Economy for the older generation. These 1950s-style ‘towns’ — complete with a diner and classic jukebox — provide reminiscence therapy for elderly Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Read more >>

9. Montreal Museum of Fine Art | Doctors in Canada can now prescribe free trips to the museum. Ideas as to what ‘healthcare’ looks like continue to be broadened and disrupted. Read more >>

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👘 Creative retail innovations.

Ambitious brands are rethinking every part of the retail experience. They’re shrugging off doom-laden headlines about the retail apocalypse (RIP Toys R Us 😢) to delight their customers. From wow-worthy tech to new channels and thoughtful touches, here are nine inspiring retail innovations that raised expectations in 2018:

10. ASOS | Finally, a non-gimmicky use of AR! The fast fashion retailer enabled its app users to see how an outfit looks on a range of body types. Inclusive, practical tech that its customers love. Read more >>

11. HEMA | “Tell me what you want, what you really really want.” Customers in China did….and this supermarket obliged by offering 30-minute super-express delivery for selected items in its adult store. Read more >>

12. Stella McCartney | The sustainable luxury designer’s new flagship London store features an air purifier. Niche today, normal tomorrow? Read more >>

13. Threads | This fast-growing luxury online retailer doesn’t have an ecommerce site or app! Instead, its entire personal shopping service is handled via Instagram, WhatsApp and WeChat. Curation meets convenience for social shoppers. Read more >>

14. Morrison’s | There are many ways to get practical about inclusivity: this UK supermarket made life better for its autistic customers by instigating Saturday morning ‘quieter hours’ at its stores. Read more >>

15. Alibaba & InTime | This AR-enabled mirror and vending machine combo stood out not just for its tech, but for its location: turning the women’s restrooms at the mall into a novel but convenient retail channel. Read more >>

16. M-Gemi | This Italian leather boutique recruited an influencer to host live weekly shoe drops on Instagram Stories. Immersive m-commerce at its best. Read more >>

17. KaDeTe | In Berlin, the world’s first ‘startup supermarket’ only stocks recently launched food and beverage brands, helping them get closer to their customers. Read more >>

18. Albertsons’s & Genomind | DNA testing comes to the grocery store, with pharmacists able to offer customers genetic tests in order to recommend more suitable anti-depressant medication. Mass hyper-personalization is just around the corner… Read more >>

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🚀 Meaningful tech innovations.

The techlash was one of the defining shifts of 2018. All over the globe, consumers became highly aware of how algorithms now run much of our daily lives. They also woke up to the fact that powerful new emerging technologies can be deployed for restrictive and repressive purposes, as well as just being a liberating and empowering force (facial-recognition police glasses, anyone?).

But at TrendWatching we focus on the positive opportunities technology creates. Here are eight innovative ways we saw brands leveraging technology to make the world a better place:

19. IBM & Twiga | This Kenyan food supplier took AI, blockchain and mobile payments and combined them to be able to microloans to food stallholders. Tech-powered inclusion and empowerment at its best. Read more >>

20. Forbes | Number eight on Forbes’ Brazilian Rich List was Ric Brasil, an AI-created composite figure designed to personify the country’s corruption scandals. A powerful way to bring data to life and make hard-to-see issues visible. Read more >>

21. Sheboard | This downloadable smartphone keyboard app cleverly ‘hacks’ the predictive text function to alert users to gendered language, suggesting words that highlight girls’ abilities and inner qualities rather than their appearance or bodies. Read more >>

22. Apple | iOS 12’s Screen Time app helped users be aware of their tech addiction. When the world’s leading technology manufacturer encourages its customers to use its products less, you know the tide has turned. Read more >>

23. Sign’n | For deaf or hard-of-hearing consumers, this AI app from Mexico translates speech into sign language, delivered by an animated virtual character. Why can’t Apple’s animojis be this awesome? Read more >>

24. San Carlos | Thanks to Ecuador’s SMS alert system for its buses, sexual harassment is being tackled in real-time. A reminder that you shouldn’t only look for high-tech solutions to people’s problems. Read more >>

25. Docademic | Can tech disrupt and democratize healthcare? This Mexican startup wants to provide young Latin Americans with therapy for free, plus giving committed users crypto-rewards. Read more >>

26. UBENWA | This Nigerian app analyzes ten seconds of a baby’s cries using AI to determine with 95% accuracy whether it has birth asphyxia (the third-highest cause of death in children under 5). Read more >>

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😎 Novel trend-driven products.

Throughout 2018, we’ve featured 250+ innovations of all shapes, types and sizes: game-changing startups, world-bettering tech, creative marketing campaigns, disruptive new business models and more. Now, let’s get physical (as in, physical products) 😉

Here are eight trend-driven new products that seized our attention in 2018. Could one of them inspire your product development roadmap in 2019?

27. Unilever | The FMCG giant’s Day2 spray promises to freshen up lightly-worn clothes without having to wash them. A dream come true for convenience-loving, laundry-unskilled, sustainability-minded customers out there! Read more >>

28. IKEA | The world’s most mass-market homeware retailer partnered with esports firm Area Academy and 3D-printing medical company Unyq to develop the ultimate personalized gaming chair, based on scans of gamers’ butts! Talk about ticking multiple trend boxes! Read more >>

29. BMW | Some products are innovative not in and of themselves, but because of how convenient they can make other products: BMW’s drive-on, drive-off charging mat for hybrids eliminates the pain of plugging them in. Read more >>

30. Chanel | Countless startups have embraced the ‘new normal’ when it comes to gender roles and post-demographic consumerism. But the launch of male makeup line ‘Boy de Chanel’ by one of the world’s beauty giants is a clear sign this trend is reaching the mainstream. Read more >>

31. Alibaba | The Chinese tech giant’s clever (and cheap!) silicon overlay helps blind consumers better interact with their smartphones. It’s also a signal of why inclusive design is good for everyone. Read more >>

32. Kevin | Taking inspiration from Home Alone, this crowdfunded smart home security device creates noises and visuals to deter thieves. Like all the best trend-driven products, it’s new tech applied to fundamental human needs. Read more >>

33. Bondi Goddess | This Australian beauty brand’s products are only available in China. With everything from the formulation to the pricing being specially tailored to the Chinese market, it’s a reminder that consumer-led globalization is still going strong. Read more >>

34. Everence | This US-based startup made something already deeply personal — tattoos — even more personal by infusing them with DNA (that of, say, a relative or a pet). Dismiss this as ridiculous at your peril, it’s a glimpse of our ultra-personalized, uniquely-relevant future! Read more >>

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🌳 Compelling eco-solutions.

2018 was the year when the excesses and indulgences of consumerism came into sharp focus for many people. There are always long-term shifts underpinning trends, but it often takes more immediate triggers to catalyze them. Sadly, 2018 saw many triggers: from cataclysmic warnings from scientists, never-ending news stories of extreme weather battering our planet and countless urgent calls to action.

The slightly better news? We also saw many smart, creative, collaborative and impactful eco-solutions emerge. Okay, none of these will solve the climate crisis overnight, but could one inspire your next eco-innovation?

35. HP, IKEA & NextWave | Two global giants joined the open-source coalition, founded by Dell Technologies, aiming to reduce and prevent ocean-bound plastics. Our planet needs more partnerships like this! Read more >>

36. Flipflopi | This Kenyan boatbuilder collected 30,000 discarded flip flops to build a traditional dhow-style boat. The boat also launched a movement — #PlasticRevolution — showing how everyone can join the fight against plastic. Read more >>

37. Allbirds | Shoe startup Allbirds partnered with Braskem to create a version of EVA foam (used in shoes’ soles) derived from sugarcane. The kicker (!): they haven’t patented it, encouraging the rest of the footwear industry to adopt it. An act of eco-generosity that you could copy, too?! Read more >>

38. Starbucks | The coffee giant led the creation of a USD 10 million challenge to create a fully recyclable and compostable coffee cup. Again — and there’s a trend in here ;) — entries will be open-sourced to encourage them to be adopted by the wider industry. Read more >>

39. Nelplast | Following stringent anti-plastic legislation, this Ghanaian company is working with the government to turn plastic waste into roads. Could you turn upcoming hurdles into positive-impact opportunities? Read more >>

40. Skol | The Brazilian beer brand showered Rio’s carnival goers in biodegradable glitter. Will it save the world? No! It is frivolous? Undoubtedly! But it’s a powerful reminder that people will embrace guilt-free alternatives if you provide them. Read more >>

41. Myro | This D2C startup is reinventing the deodorant industry with its plant-based formula, reusable case and subscription-based refill model. All FMCG products will soon have to meet these eco-expectations.

42. Ben & Jerry’s | What if you could offset the impact of every purchase? Customers at this ice cream parlour could, thanks to a blockchain-based carbon credit purchasing initiative. Read more >>

43. L’Oreal | The world’s largest beauty brand jumped on the plant-based trend with its new hair dye range. Expectations around sustainability will continue to break through industry borders. Read more >>

44. WeWork | The co-working office provider banned its employees from expensing or serving meat at its events in an effort to reduce its environmental impact. Could your internal culture be the source of your next big eco-innovation? Read more >>

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👾 The most sci-fi worthy innovations.

If you’ve been to an innovation conference in the last few years you’ve surely sat through a presentation proclaiming that ‘science fiction is now science fact’…it’s a trend truism. But that’s also because it is so often true!

So, let’s embrace it in this quick round up of nine consumer-facing innovations that could have come straight from minds of sci-fi writers:

45. KLM | The airline’s holiday campaign — featuring airport seats equipped with real-time translation-enabled speakers, designed to bring airport passengers closer together — showcased a very relevant and creative real-world use case for this emerging tech. Read more >>

46. Zozosuit | This free (!) Japanese-created wearable ‘skin’ uses its 150 embedded sensors to take over 15,000 body measurements. The result? Users receive totally custom-fit clothes… The segment of one comes to the real world. Read more >>

47. Emirates | The Dubai-based airline plans to open the world’s largest indoor vertical farm in 2019. Using no sunlight, soil or chemicals and less water than regular farms, the food will be both higher quality and lower impact than today’s ‘natural’ produce. An all-round win-win. Read more >>

48. Tencent | Pressured to combat gaming addiction by the Chinese government, Tencent will use facial recognition age verification to limit the amount of time kids can play Honor of Kings. At a time fears of dystopian applications are growing, at least this attempts to be beneficial! Read more >>

49. The Weather Channel | You won’t be able to ignore the news when a car crashes on the ground next to the presenter! The broadcaster’s Immersive Mixed Reality brought to life (seemingly literally) the impact and threat of extreme weather. Read more >>

50. Google | It’s not profound, it’s not life-saving…but who hasn’t wished to be instantly talented?! Google’s AI-powered Piano Genie enabled unskilled aspiring musicians to bash eight buttons and have a passable tune emerge as if from a full 88-key piano. Read more >>

51. Marriott | Equally frivolous, but guests at the pilot hotel can now have their shower screen doodles emailed to them. Necessary? Absolutely not! But perhaps you could apply the underlying thinking to a more meaningful moment? Read more >>

52. Ratio | Yes, the robots are coming! Indeed, in this Shanghai cafe a robot arm barista already serves the perfect coffee. But before you panic, the cafe still uses human waiters to engage and explain its products to customers. Think augmentation, not elimination. Read more >>

53. Lab100 | Mount Sinai’s ‘clinic of the future’ turns a trip to the doctor into a well-designed, human-centered, richly visual experience. And if that’s not science fiction, we don’t know what is! Read more >>

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🌃 Life-improving urban innovations.

The majority of our world’s population already lives in urban areas, and a further 2.5 billion people are forecast to be living in cities by 2050. Cities are engines of consumption and opportunity but at the same time they face — and create! — countless challenges: inequality, unaffordability, pollution, waste and more.

Here are seven very urban innovations to inspire you in 2019. How can you make urban lives easier, cheaper, cleaner or just better?!

54. Bumblebee Spaces | This San Francisco-based startup uses motorized ceiling modules to help homeowners use the empty space below their ceilings. Welcome news for anyone struggling to square city living with convenient access to everyday personal items! Read more >>

55. Manukau | Talking of maximizing use of space…this New Zealand bus shelter doubles up as a homeless shelter at night. An infrastructure win-win for cash-strapped local authorities? Read more >>

56. Apotek Hjärtat | This Finnish pharmacy turned its store windows into giant light therapy signs to help locals combat SAD during the country’s long dark winter. A very local problem, but people in every city will welcome wellness being seamlessly embedded into their hectic (and often unhealthy!) lives. Read more >>

57. Sint-Trudo | This might not be the world’s first vertical forest, but this Dutch initiative is the first included in a low-income housing project. Because all residents will embrace nature being brought into their urban environments! Read more >>

58. Surabaya | This Indonesian city now enables residents to ‘pay’ for bus tickets with plastic waste. A convenient, rewarding approach to engaging citizens in the fight against trash. Read more >>

59. Dust See | The Seoul City government launched this AR-enabled app to enable residents to ‘see’ pollution levels in order to encourage them to take precautions. An accessible and visual solution to a growing global urban issue. Read more >>

60. Bulgari | The Italian luxury brand will invest EUR 800,000 in restoring Largo di Argentina, an ancient archaeological site in Rome. An initiative that couldn’t be further from an ephemeral pop-up (!), but one that will create a deep connection to the brand’s heritage, and its customers. Read more >>

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🎑 Awesome customer experience innovations.

Offer a substandard customer experience in 2019 and you won’t make it to 2020 (now finally just around the corner ;) Customer experience is perhaps the thread that binds all our readers. Whether you’re in marketing, strategy, product development or technology. Whether you’re front-line or C-suite. Whichever industry you’re in. Ultimately, everyone in business needs to delight customers.

Which is why these seven innovations should provide ample material for your next planning session. Print out all seven. Gather your team. Then discuss how you could apply the insights underpinning them in 2019, 2020 and beyond! Your customers will thank you…

61. Ping An Good Doctor | This Chinese healthcare startup plans to open 1,000 of these ultra-convenient staffless micro-clinics. Combine Amazon Go with AI telemedicine with a pharmacy vending machine and you’re getting there. Read more >>

62. Adidas | All 30,000 runners in the Boston Marathon received a unique, personal video highlight of their race in less than 24 hours. The videos were automatically generated via data from RFID chips in runners’ bibs. Real-time personalization at scale, IRL. Trend bingo! Read more >>

63. Grab | Taxi passengers in Singapore can now purchase snacks, drinks, personal care products from Cargo’s in-taxi ‘convenience stores’. No fancy tech here, just a great understanding of customer pain points. Read more >>

64. Inkhunter | Building on this Ukrainian tattoo app’s AR preview feature, users can now connect with an independent artist via its marketplace. A powerful combination of multiple trends to deliver an elevated customer experience that will last a lifetime. Read more >>

65. Virgin Active | Thai gym goers can now get fit while learning life-saving CPR skills. A great example of how to cater to consumers’ desire to cram more into each and every moment. Read more >>

66. NYX | This L’Oreal-owned startup brought AR-enabled livestreamed beauty consultations to users’ phones. Yes, more trend bingo…but adding virtual convenience to tried-and-tested customer experiences will forever be a winning strategy. Read more >>

67. NSW Government | Australian music festival attendees had a novel way to secure access to a VIP area…by taking a test for chlamydia! Could you be as innovative and boundary-breaking in how you reach audiences? Read more >>

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💌 Novel marketing campaigns

At TrendWatching we’re constantly on the lookout for B2C campaigns and brand messaging that should be on your radar.

We put a lot of them in front of you in 2018. So here are nine of the best from across this year. Consider it our version of the Cannes Lions ;)

It goes without saying that each example below is a well-executed campaign. But more than that, each one is a signal of a powerful emerging shift in consumer expectation or behavior. Take these examples to your team, discuss those shifts, and get ready to create impactful campaigns of your own in 2019…

68. Diesel | The clothing brand’s hoax counterfeit store on New York City’s Canal Street — infamous as a hub for designer knockoffs — sold clothes labelled ‘Deisel’. The perfect, post-truth subversion of ‘real’ and ‘fake’. And yes, ‘Deisel’ clothes quickly became sought-after ;) Read more >>

69. Lacoste | This French label replaced their iconic crocodile logo with other creatures to support endangered species. A playful take on a serious, shared issue. Read more >>

70. Spotify | #MeToo and the debate on how to end the patriarchy helped shape 2018. Spotify played unskippable catcalling messages to listeners to show men what billions of women experience every day. Read more >>

71. JAT Holdings | This Sri Lankan paint company made a new paint out of flowers discarded at Buddhist temples. The paint was then used to restore paintings at holy temples. An example of how product, campaign and brand values can come together in one powerful activation. Read more >>

72. Hermes Pardini | The Brazilian healthcare company developed a special flower that blooms once a year to remind women in the Amazon, who have limited access to tech, to get their annual cervical cancer screening. An innovative take on a key health challenge. Read more >>

73. WWF | The organization’s fake ‘Ivory Lane’ brand, which pretended to sell accessories made from elephant ivory, helped the WWF draw attention to a horrendous trade. If you plan to trick consumers in 2019, make sure it’s for a reason as worthwhile as this. Read more >>

74. au | For the freshly-graduated, Japanese telco au provided morning wake-up calls from ‘moms’. A clever, funny take on rising expectations among young people that brands offer some ASSISTED DEVELOPMENT to help them navigate adulthood. Read more >>

75. Grubhub | The food delivery platform’s RestaurantHER map showed diners exactly where to go to support female chefs and restaurateurs. Useful information met concern for gender justice in this campaign. Read more >>

76. Louvre Abu Dhabi | The museum engaged plastering their best works on the side of the highway, and let drivers tune in to radio broadcasts to learn more about each piece. Sometimes, the most powerful new channel for your messaging is staring you in the face. Read more >>

77. Gordon’s | Commuters in the UK can tweet #YayDelay when their trains are delayed to get free or half-price gin and tonics. A playful and empathetic example of real-time, data-driven micro-marketing. Read more >>

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👔 Inspirational internally-focused innovations

In an ever-more transparent world, people can see the internal culture of your organization as never before. This means that your culture is becoming a key part of how consumers feel about you — a key part of your consumer-facing brand.

That’s a shift with profound consequences for any organization. Your response? Make positive changes to your internal culture, and tell the world about them. It might just be the most powerful move you can make to prove to consumers that you share their deepest values.

So here are seven businesses making — or helping others make — internal changes that will resonate with consumers. Read on, and act in 2019!

78. Microsoft | The tech giant required all businesses in its US supply chain to offer 12 weeks of paid parental leave to staff. A powerful play that proves to everyone that Microsoft is serious about tackling a key social issue. Read more >>

79. Spot | This AI-fueled chatbot makes it easy for employees to create a formal, time-stamped report of a sexual harassment incident. The sell to clients? If you’re serious about stamping our harassment, your people should have access to this tool! Read more >>

80. Rugby Australia | Rugby Australia moved to give male and female soccer stars the same salary. No, it shouldn’t be remarkable — but in 2018, gender pay parity is still rare in sport. The result? Rugby Australia can tell a powerful story about how they’re on the right side of history. Read more >>

81. Goodly | This Silicon Valley startup helps employers offer student loan repayment as a benefit to staff. With total US university debt exceeding USD 1 trillion, Goodly is tapping into an issue that impacts millions of consumers. Read more >>

82. Financial Times | Analysis revealed that only 21% of experts quoted in FT articles are women. In response, the paper created a bot that helps editors check their output for this kind of gender bias. What change will you make in 2019 to prove that you’re serious about ensuring women have an equal voice? Read more >>

83. Kronos & IBM | Workforce information firm Kronos partnered with IBM to create an AI-powered career coach for hourly workers. Using this tool will help support employees and prove to consumers that you care about more than only the bottom line. Read more >>

84. Lush | When the British beauty brand heard of a US superfan who regularly flew to the UK just to stock up on Lush products, they hired her. And made her the star of a campaign. Epic proof to all customers that they care. Read more >>

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🌟 Impactful purpose-driven innovations.

85. Sephora | The makeup retailer launched a free 90-minute makeup class for transgender and non-binary people. It’s no longer enough to promote diversity in your messaging; instead, reimagine what you do around the needs of traditionally marginalized groups. Read more >>

86. Aflac | The insurer turned its famous duck brand mascot into a connected robot that comforts kids with cancer. Tech for good will be a key theme in 2019. Read more >>

87. Vans | Vans hosted over 100 clinics around the world focused on teaching girls how to skateboard. Female empowerment seen through the lens of a storied brand. Read more >>

88. Tuxe | The US women’s bodysuit makers offered free career coaching to customers. Helping more women reach the boardroom and satisfying the endless consumer need for self-actualization. Read more >>

89. Glenmorangie | The Scottish whiskey brand introduced 20,000 oysters to the sea and renewed damaged reefs next to its factory in Scotland’s Dornoch Firth bay. An environmental play that makes deep sense; Scottish heritage is a part of Glenmorangie’s DNA. Read more >>

90. Claro, Personal & Movistar | These telcos in Argentina committed to offering free calls to a helpline for victims of gender-based violence. A great example of how big brands can leverage unique scale and resources to offer solutions no one else can. Read more >>

91. Legal & General | The investment firm’s GIRL fund incentivizes and rewards companies with a more equal gender balance. Values are great — but consumers will increasingly demand that businesses put their money where their mouth is. Read more >>

92. Reliance Jio x WhatsApp | After a slew of fake news scandals in India, WhatsApp partnered with tech company Reliance Jio to use street theater to teach citizens about the dangers of false information on WhatsApp and elsewhere. An innovative take on a timely issue. Read more >>

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🎲 And finallyyyy…da da daaaa…The most unexpected — but brilliant — brand plays of 2018!

Regular readers have heard us say this before: consumer behavior is more complex, even chaotic, than ever. In that environment, a brand’s own heritage — and the rules and traditions that govern that heritage — can quickly become limiting.

No wonder, then, that we saw plenty of heretical brand plays in 2018. That is, examples of brands that were brave enough to (temporarily!) overturn their own brand heritage, and deliver products, services, or campaigns that no one would ever have expected from them.

Could you commit a similar act of brand heresy in 2019? It could be the most powerful move you make to change the perception of your brand and connect with altogether new kinds of customers.

An idea to pitch to your team? But first, get inspired:

93. LEGO | The 86-year-old toy giant temporarily stepped away from its core market (children, obviously!) and used IndieGoGo to crowdfund a new mechanical fish kit for adults. Want to launch a heretical idea in 2019? Crowdfunding is a great way to test the water (pun intended). Read more >>

94. Neste Zerobnb | The Finnish energy company created an alternative property listings site, Zerobnb, featuring only sustainable properties. A surprising example of marketing as a service? Tick? A powerful statement on Neste’s core values? Tick again! Read more >>

95. Volvo & LEGO | Yep, Lego again! This time the toy maker partnered with Volvo to create a real digital prototype for a future Volvo construction vehicle. What’s more, they consulted with children to develop the prototype. Industry and brand rule-breaking on so many levels! Read more >>

96. New York Public Library | The NYPL used Instagram Stories to deliver an innovative take on classic novels. What’s the most unexpected, even heretical new channel you could leverage in 2019? Read more >>

97. Greenfield Meat Co | This Canadian butcher launched a campaign to encourage consumers to forgo meat every Monday. A deeply counterintuitive, and therefore uniquely powerful, way for this brand to prove its values. Read more >>

98. Adidas | The sportswear giant debuted special-edition sneakers that double as an annual pass to Berlin’s public transport. A status sportswear brand offering cheap public transport? Who expected that!? Read more >>

99. Chelsea FC | The UK football club tackled antisemitism head-on by sending racist fans to Jewish education classes at Auschwitz. Follow the link for a Jewish perspective on Chelsea’s move from Lisa, our Innovation of the Day writer. Read more >>

100. Brewdog | The Scottish craft beer brand opened The DogHouse in Columbus, Ohio: a beer-centric hotel that lets guests ‘wake up inside a brewery’. Another brand pushing into a new, unexpected vertical that on second hearing makes perfect sense. A powerful play for you in 2019? Read more >>

101. Etat Libre d’Orange | The French luxury perfume house launched a new perfume made from organic waste. We can imagine the product meeting: ‘okay guys, we’re thinking about making our next luxury fragrance out of actual rubbish’. A powerful statement on sustainability: heretical genius! Read more >>

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So there you have it! 101 of the most lightbulb moment sparking innovations of 2018! 💡💡💡

Which ones wowed you? Which ones do you think will fizzle? Which ones did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!

And don’t forget to subscribe to receive a dose of inspiration in your inbox, every morning (except at weekends…our writers need to sleep! 😉).

Finally, best of luck…here’s to making 2019 your best year yet! Cheers! Proost! 干杯! Salud! Skål! 건배! Santé! Prost! Şerefe! Mabuhay! Saúde! Chok dee!

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Henry Mason

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Managing Director @ TrendWatching

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