Big ideas can often be inspired by listening to just a small amount of insight. Every October at Chicago Ideas Week (CIW), a broad spectrum of thinkers and instigators converge in the Windy City to share knowledge that can transform the world, delivering an immense amount of inspiration for program attendees.

Here, we explore three notable quotes – and the notions that can be derived from them for brands – from a range of experts at this year’s CIW talks.

1. “Facilitate transparency in the human experience.”

Luke Woods, Facebook’s VP & Head of Design, discussed how the social platform is hoping to help improve our society by encouraging openness and honesty among users, particularly when it comes to promoting mental wellness and eliminating stigmas around the discussion of difficult issues. To this end, Mintel Trends has seen brands around the world embrace the Open Diary trend.

  •  American Greetings’ advertisement “Not Alone” sheds light on the struggle many couples face with regards to infertility. The ad is part of the company’s wider “Give Meaning” campaign, which aims to remind consumers to give meaning to the real people and moments that happen in life, even those that haven’t traditionally been openly discussed.
  • Procter & Gamble’s “The Talk” aims to support the African-American community by depicting challenges that Black families face, particularly those related to prejudice and discrimination.
  • In Hong Kong, Canon released a video campaign that encourages children to show their emotions and share the pressures they face at school and at home more openly.

2. “Find common ground.”

Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscience professor at University College of London, revealed that the human brain is better at accepting ideas from someone who is “on your side.” As Mintel Trend ‘Buydeology’ explores, brands who display their values have the potential to identify with likeminded consumers and, in turn, build strong connections with enthusiastic fans.

  • German supermarket Edeka emptied its shelves of products from abroad in order to show how empty the store would be without them and celebrate diversity.
  • Italian fashion house Gucci announced that its products will be animal-fur free in 2018. The brand will also be auctioning off all of its remaining animal-fur items for charity, with proceeds going to animal rights organizations Humane Society International and LAV.
  • Airbnb banned the accounts of customers who attended the far-right political rally that was held in Charlottesville, Virginia in early August. The home rental platform continues to enforce its non-discrimination policy by which all users are required to abide.
  • Amazon, Starbucks and Microsoft submitted formal support for a lawsuit by a state attorney general that aimed to stop the repeal of the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program.

3. “Act like a therapist.”

Production designer David Korins shared that in his work, which includes the creation of the Hamilton Broadway set among others, he begins by asking his clients questions such as “how are you feeling?” to learn their moods and preferences. As Mintel Trend ‘Make it Mine’ examines, brands can also find success by first getting to know their customers on a more personal level.

  • Under Armour’s new subscription service, called ArmourBox, delivers customers a box catered to their measurements and likes with the help of an Under Armour stylist and an AI bot. Customers are sent four to six pieces of clothing, accessories, and shoes that are handpicked to fit their needs, style, and goals.
  • In Singapore, Sephora launched a vending machine that offers passers-by free custom makeup sets based on a personality test.
  • A KFC location in Beijing uses facial recognition technology that can recommend menu items based on a diner’s sex, age and mood. In addition, the system is able to recognize the customer the next time they visit the restaurant, and will automatically show purchase history to make the ordering process faster.

As you move through the rest of your day, keep your ears open and listen to what’s being said. The inspiration for your next big idea could be right around the corner.

Stacy Bingle is a Consumer Trends Consultant at Mintel. Stacy joined Mintel in 2013 bringing with her an exciting blend of CPG, agency and marketing experience. Her time is spent traveling the US engaging clients across global CPG, Beauty and Financial Services in meaningful discussions around the consumer trends that will propel their businesses forward.

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