Cone’s dedicated Research & Insights team continuously monitors new and developing trends to provide you with cutting-edge innovations, need-to-know best practices and compelling insights in the marketplace.
Every now and then, a cultural phenomenon takes hold – it’s the thing talked about at the water cooler, dinner table and in line for coffee. That’s the case with the television show “Game of Thrones,” which in 2017 set a ratings record when 12.1 million viewers tuned in for its season finale.
The demand for organic foods continues to increase at astounding rates. While U.S. sales of organic food and beverages totaled less than $4 billion in 1997, that number is anticipated to hit more than $100 billion by 2025. Yet, supply and demand are not matching up. Even with 5 million certified organic acres of farmland in 2016, this number still represents less than 1 percent of total farmland nationwide. Over the years, we’ve seen many companies take creative approaches to help increase organic farmland in the U.S, from Kashi’s “Certified Transitional” label to brands actually purchasing their own organic farms. Now, a new fund has been created to increase assistance to farmers pursuing organic options.
This week, Ikea announced a new furniture leasing option prolonging the lifecycle of Ikea products. Now, consumers will have the option to lease Ikea furniture and return when it is no longer needed. The furniture giant will then refurbish the items and sell them, extending the use.
Around the country, millions of people tuned in to watch Super Bowl LIII, a day not only for the competition between two franchises, but also a time when brands pull out all the stops for advertising campaigns. In fact, 17.7 percent of adults watching the game say the ads are their favorite part of the Super Bowl. And like Super Bowls of the past, some of the standout ads from this weekend’s game did more than just promote the latest product.
Stella Artois and Water.org are adding a new level to their multi-year partnership with a new campaign called, “Pour it Forward.”
This past fall, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on how the world could limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – but only after undergoing “staggering transformation.” For companies, this means boldly eschewing “business as usual.” At the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, one company has announced a transformational innovation and has enlisted the help of some of the world’s largest companies to bring it to life.
This week, the current government shutdown officially became the longest on record. With negotiations at a standstill and no clear end in sight, the implications for the 800,000 government workers impacted (not including contract workers) are beginning to set in.
This week, Porter Novelli’s Purpose Practice hit the floor at CES, the world’s largest gathering of consumer technologies, to see the latest at the intersection of tech and Purpose.
Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) together launched Refugee.Info, a website with a social media component to help refugees and asylum-seekers find the information they need when they arrive in a new region.
In the business world, blockchain is certainly the latest business craze. In fact, a recent study by PwC found 84 percent of surveyed executives said they have at least some involvement with blockchain technology.
Last week, Corona brands announced it will trial 100 percent plastic-free six pack rings. The initiative will start in Tulum, Mexico, at the beginning of the year and expand to the U.K. by 2020. Corona is the first global beer brand to announce the use of sustainable six-pack rings.
This Giving Tuesday, Facebook Gaming launched charity livestreaming so content creators could raise money while gaming – and motivate their viewer fans to get involved.
Reputation, quite simply, is everything. It is painstakingly built and carefully protected, yet, can implode in a moment and take years to reconstruct. Every reputational point matters. Yet, there is one thing that can catapult a company into the hearts and minds of consumers over competitors: Introducing the Purpose Premium.
Over the past year, we’ve seen many brands take activist actions in support of issues close to the company or stakeholders. Whether that’s the Penzey’s Spices CEO note after the 2016 presidential election or Patagonia’s lawsuit against the president, many brands are no longer afraid to wade into contentious topics – including politics. And the latest exmample? Ben & Jerry’s* has launched a new ice cream flavor – just eight days before the United States midterm elections – aimed at celebrating activists who “lick injustice.”
This week, business executives, nonprofit leaders, government officials and issue advocates met in National Harbor, Maryland for the annual 3BL Forum (formerly Commit!Forum). The theme of the conference was again “Brands Taking Stands;” yet this year, companies unpacked if, when and how they take stands so others in the audience could learn from leaders in the field. CEO Shana Deane kicked off this year’s conference by commending the nerve and grit of brands willing to speak up for divisive issues, and how taking a stand has reached new levels.
From Always’ “Like a Girl” to Brawny’s “Strength Has No Gender,” combatting gender bias has become a popular cause for brands. Indeed, campaigns like these have elevated the conversation around gender and even transformed perceptions. Now a nearly six-decade-old brand is putting its marketing force behind the cause to inspire girls and change the mindsets of parents.
In August, Nabisco’s famed Barnum Animal crackers got a refresh – after 116 years, the company freed the animals from their cages and opted to show them roaming free instead. Animal rights groups who oppose the confinement of animals for entertainment saw the redesign as a big win. This is just the most recent example of how social impact and consumer advocacy can shape packaging and design.
Nike’s bold move to make Colin Kaepernick the face of “Just Do It.” Levi’s announcement that “Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence.” Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO stating its new gun control policy “Isn't going to make everyone happy.” Over the last year, we have seen many companies take risks around divisive issues - with varying degrees of success or failure. Today, most companies are struggling with if, when and how to use their voice, scale and reach to engage on issues.
In a 2016 report, UPS* and GreenBiz found awareness of circular economy was not only on the rise, but a majority of companies (86%) believed circular economy principles would be important to their organization in the next two years. And the data has proved to be accurate: we’ve seen many examples of companies implementing circular economy principles, from Vodafone’s New Every Year/Red Hot buy-back program to Reformation clothing’s new partnership with thredUp to produce new markets for secondhand clothing. The newest example creates a first-of-its kind engine fuel that not only recaptures industrial waste, but also opens new possibilities for the future of sustainable fuels.
Today, reporting on corporate responsibility continues to rise, with 85 percent of companies in the S&P 500 Index publishing reports. To stand out from the sea of reports, leading companies are innovating new ways to communicate progress and increase transparency. As reporting season comes to a close in 2018, here are four ways leaders are standing out:
Every year in the U.S., the parents of an estimated 15,780 children hear the devastating news that their child has been diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, due to advancements in treatment options, the survival rate of childhood cancer is now more than 80 percent.
As we edge closer to the U.S. midterm elections, many are turning their thoughts to how to encourage more Americans to exercise their right to vote. This Tuesday marked the seventh annual National Voter Registration Day to raise awareness for the upcoming vote and encourage Americans to register before local deadlines. With the support of individuals, nonprofits and companies, #NationalVoterRegistrationDay became the number one trending topic on Twitter on Tuesday. Here’s a snapshot of how companies are “rocking the vote” this year:
Warnings of Hurricane Florence’s strength were widespread last week as companies boarded buildings and individuals evacuated to safer ground. Although the storm was reduced to a Category One by the time it made landfall, Florence left a path of destruction in its wake in the form of catastrophic rain, storm surges and flooding that is still impeding return to some communities a week later. As reports of devastation came in, companies jumped to action. Here’s a roundup of companies that took a distinctive approach to relief:
From JetBlue’s “BlueBud” initiative to help small food companies to Patagonia’s funding of entrepreneurial ideas with its “$20 Million & Change” program, investing in small businesses and startups has been a trending initiative for many big businesses in recent years. Now one of the largest global brands is joining the fray, creating a win-win scenario for all parties involved.
The Nike swoosh is the most iconic logo of all time. Nike is a brand recognized and revered across the globe in a way that can only compare to McDonald’s arches, Coca-Cola’s script and Apple’s, well, apple. Now, Nike has catapulted into the national and global conversation on a remarkable scale – and not for its newest shoe launch. Yet, Nike’s new playbook is not exactly novel. Over the past two years, we’ve seen brands take oftentimes divisive stances on issues like refugees and immigration, racial equality, gun control - even going so far as to sue the President. Still, Nike may be arguably the largest and most omnipresent brand high jumping into the current social justice and political discourse.
With innovations to well-loved card games, stores and sports, brands of all kinds are pushing to make the world a more inclusive place for all individuals regardless of disabilities. Back-to-school can oftentimes be a period of adjustment, especially for the 62,000 visually impaired students in school currently. Now, one brand is seeking to make the classroom a more inclusive experience, helping visually impaired students feel the love when heading to school.
There are over three million farmers in the U.S. and 30 percent of them are women. However, female farmers don’t always get the credit they deserve. This year, to celebrate Women’s Equality Day on August 26, one agricultural cooperative is breaking into the music industry and shining a spotlight on the oftentimes overlooked women who make the dairy industry successful.
With text-heavy and data filled pages, it’s no surprise that only 17 percent of consumers actually read companies’ CSR reports. However, many companies are finding innovative ways to make their reports stand out. As a way of grabbing the attention of coffee-loving consumers and encouraging other brands to become more conscious and engaged in their supply chains, Counter Culture Coffee brought its report to life by launching a limited-edition coffee.
From limited edition logo swaps to Tinder profiles made for endangered monkeys, many organizations have interjected their wildlife conservation messages into the everyday lives of consumers in an effort to bring the topic to the forefront. Recently, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) pulled off its own stunt to raise awareness about the ivory trade in Singapore and the loopholes that make it possible.