MB Insights: Social Media – Have Brands Had Enough?

Advertising, Case Study, Consumer, Cosmetics, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Industry, Insight, Marketing, Retail, Social Media, Technology

Posted on 27 October 2022

When social media first popped up in the late 90’s, none of us could have predicted the astronomical growth it would undergo, nor the influence it would ultimately hold over our lives.

What began as a way to simply connect with friends, has since become one of the most powerful global platforms of our time, able to reach millions of targeted people in milliseconds and influence the way we shop, vote, and even feel. Evolving far beyond your typical networking tool, social media has opened up opportunities for not only the every-day-scroller, but for businesses also.

But is the way we use social media set to change? And have brands had enough?

MacGregor Black takes a closer look at social media, and why some brands are taking a permanent break from it.

Social Media vs… The Battle of the Brands

With Facebook alone connecting 2.11 billion users all over the globe, it’s no surprise that social media has come to play an integral part in many of our lives. But with such scale, how is it possible to monitor and control 2.11billion individual narratives? The simple answer is… it isn’t.

With such publicity, comes scrutiny. And as platforms such as Facebook continue to embed themselves deeper into our society, many users are beginning to highlight some of their potential negative effects. One particular issue that continues to dominate the conversation, is social media’s relationship with our mental health.

In recent years, research has provided us with a plentiful evidence pool linking social media usage with a number of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia. According to a 2022 Healthline study of 1,042 U.S citizens, 29% of participants of all age groups felt they needed to take regular social media breaks, in order to feel a benefit to their mental health. This number increased to a shocking 46% amongst 15–24-year-olds.

So, what can be done about this, and who’s responsibility is it to take control?

Lush Cosmetics

Noting the negative effects that social media was having on many of its customers, global cosmetics company, Lush, took a stand; and in 2021, decided to cut ties with online platforms Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Facebook.

The British retailer released a statement to accompany their decision:

“From 26th November 2021, the global Lush brand will be turning its back on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat, until the platforms take action to provide a safer environment for users. This policy is rolling out across all the 48 countries where Lush operates. In the same way that evidence against climate change was ignored and belittled for decades, concerns about the serious effects of social media are going largely ignored now. Lush is taking matters into its own hands and addressing the issues now, not waiting around until others believe in the problem before changing its own behaviour.” 

Tesla Motors & SpaceX

Pre-dating Lush’s decision by almost three years, in March 2018, tech billionaire Elon Musk joined the race against social media; deliberately deleting both Tesla’s and SpaceX’s Facebook business pages.

Having regularly aired his opinion publicly, it is widely known that Elon Musk distrusts the way Facebook handles their consumer data. The decision then came to pull both his business pages, following a tragically historic week for the social media company, one that still sits fresh in our memory. In 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal prompted a wave of mistrust against Facebook, which later gave rise to the #deletefacebook hashtag.

At the time of the scandal, WhatsApp Co-Founder, Brian Acton tweeted in protest, “it is time #deletefacebook”, in which Musk responded sarcastically, “What’s Facebook?”. The Silicon Valley entrepreneur then went on to tweet that he thought Tesla’s Facebook page was “lame”.

In a final act, Musk was challenged by Twitter users to delete Tesla’s and SpaceX’s pages, “if he really was ‘the man’”, and in typical form, Musk declared he would delete them immediately. Sure enough, in under 30 minutes both business pages were cut from Facebook, and the following media attention, combined with the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, caused Facebook’s stock to plunge 6%.

Elon Musk has since gained the reputation as the modern day ‘Robin-Hood’ of free speech, as in April of this year, the eccentric billionaire made another daring move. This time, against Twitter.

In an effort to force change, on April 14th of this year, Musk made a bid to buy the social networking site for $54.20 per share, putting one of the world’s richest people at the helm of one of the world’s most influential platforms. Musk declared that, should the deal go through, his first priority would be to crack down on data management. However, only weeks after Elon’s rather rambunctious offer, he sought to terminate the deal, citing concerns over the social media company’s use of bots on the platform, artificially inflating their user numbers. Claims which were later supported by a company whistle blower. Twitter has since sued Musk to follow through with the acquisition. The judge overseeing the case has given both parties until the 28th of October to close the deal or face a trial in November.

Bottega Veneta

In 2021, globally established fashion house, Bottega Veneta announced their own bold move to completely cut social media from their marketing strategy.

Creative Director, Daniel Lee, stated in an interview with The Guardian that, “there is a mood of playground bullying on social media which I don’t really like. I wanted to do something joyful instead… I don’t want to collude in an atmosphere that feels negative.” However, despite personal comments from Lee, the Bottega Veneta company refrained from releasing an official statement to explain their swift exit from social media. Leading fans to believe that perhaps this was the company’s latest strategic move in creating the ultimate luxury brand?

Kalyani Saha Chawla, former VP of Marketing & Communications at Dior believes luxury brands need to re-consider the fine balance between over-accessibility and exclusivity, quoting to Grazia UK that,

“luxury brands are diluting their image by using the same social mediums that every high street brand is utilising. Luxury stands for exclusivity, and if it’s all over Instagram and Twitter, it becomes too accessible, which might not resonate with a niche audience.”

A message that sat fittingly with Bottega Veneta’s social media departure, as it came less than a month after it unveiled its exclusive “Salon 01 Spring/Summer Show”, which was being secretly recorded at the time. Shortly after Bottega Veneta’s decision to ditch social, luxury apparel brand, Balenciaga quickly followed suit, wiping all of its content from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Perhaps another strategic move with this decision also preceding the brand’s first haute couture show in over 50 years…

Answering the Burning Question… What Happened Next?

In today’s society, it’s near impossible to picture a global company succeeding without a social media presence, but alas…some of our favourite cosmetics companies, automotive developers and high-end fashion brands claim they are already paving the way to find a successful future without ‘the Gram’.

Lush Cosmetics

After announcing their departure from its social media channels in 2021, cosmetics brand Lush turned to creating what they felt would be, authentic, quality content on the company’s online site instead. At the time, the company released a statement assuring shoppers that, ‘there are plenty of other places to take a dip into the Lush world’, stating that customers could still engage with the brand through shops, events, through the customer care team and on other digital platforms like Lush Player, Lush.com and their Lush Labs app. However, it’s worth noting that some individual stores and Lush staff continued to be active on social media and the company even encouraged customers to continue using branded lush hashtags to promote their content organically. Meaning Lush would remain true to its anti-social media protest, whilst also still staying fresh on the screens of shoppers across the globe.

SpaceX & Tesla

Following Elon Musk’s bold decision to delete both SpaceX and Tesla’s business Facebook pages, the company went on the make an even bolder move in 2020, officially dissolving it’s entire PR department; dubbing it the first automaker to no longer engage with the press. When asked to comment on the move, the billionaire business magnate stated that he wouldn’t go back to having a PR department because he ‘doesn’t believe in manipulating public opinion,’. He responded to a twitter user that encouraged the reinstatement of the Tesla PR team, saying, ‘Other companies spend money on advertising & manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product. I trust the people.’

So, with a much-reduced social media presence and absolutely no PR staff, how does a multi-billion-dollar business like Tesla expect to stay ahead of the curve?

Well, the American clean energy company relies heavily on one of the most effective marketing strategies out there, word of mouth. Tesla runs a highly popular referral program that encourages customers to share their love for the brand with their friends and family. Tesla enthusiasts, and their referees can earn rewards like free supercharger miles and cash to spend on energy efficient products. Not only that, but the electric vehicle manufacturer also manages multiple customer forums, hosts a global ‘owners club’, and is regularly involved in giving back to the communities they operate in. All of which are great ways to establish a strong brand message without even so much as a ‘share’. However, it’s worth noting that Musk himself has been a driving force behind Tesla and SpaceX’s ongoing success. His loud, charismatic, and sometimes even controversial social media presence certainly draws enough attention to both brands…

Bottega Veneta

Founded in 1996 in Vicenza, Italy by Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro, Bottega Veneta has since firmly established itself as a high-end, luxury fashion house. Their fine leather handbags and quality crafted accessories don the frames of wealthy style icons in all corners of the world, that no doubt, enjoy scrolling as much as the rest of us.

Which is precisely what Bottega Veneta was counting on…

Despite not posting on their business account anymore, Bottega Veneta lives on through the Instagram pages of their loyal customers, influencers, and external partnerships. Rather than coming directly from the brand, content like product launches, events, and brand promotions make the rounds mainly through organic, user-generated content. Which enhances the brand’s exclusive image and cuts out a huge chunk of their workload. So, in theory, they can kick back and reap the rewards as customers are naturally drawn to their brand.

A strategy in which Bottega Veneta took to heart as at the time, the luxury brand doubled down on its quarterly online magazine in what they hoped would offer, “more progressive and more thoughtful” content. A goal in which many say they have successfully achieved since then. 

MacGregor Black’s Global Head of Marketing, Mark Thursby, commented:

“I couldn’t agree more with Kalyani Saha Chawla, in that many Luxury brands sit in a precarious position. One that almost caused the demise of the iconic British Fashion Brand Burberry during the 1990’s, where high demand was met with ease of accessibility. And I believe social media is currently turbocharging just that, or the false impression that luxury products are easily accessible.

Social media is a great equaliser in that it grants the average user access to countless celebrity and influencer lifestyles, mixed in with our friends and family. However, when our feeds are excessively filled with luxury goods, this directly drives demand to a potentially dangerous level. Therefore, when accessibility meets it, in the form of ‘replica’ products, via short-term financing options such as fashion rental, or services such as Klarna, a brand can pass a point of which it’s presence in a market is too heavily saturated and it ceases being perceived as ‘luxury’.

The same theory applies across the board. From cars, to homes, to holidays, and even our own physical appearance. When social media creates the illusion that all of these brilliant products are easily attainable, and not just that, they’re owned by your neighbour, your best friend, and the people you went to school with, the potential to damage a person’s self-esteem can be severe.

Therefore, with brands withdrawing from social media it’ll be very interesting to see what impact that has in the long-term. Will losing the central voice of their brand, do the opposite of what they aim to achieve, and create a more customer-controlled brand image? Or will it dampen demand down to sustainable levels and drive traffic through more ‘traditional’ channels where brands can better manage the battle between demand and access?”

Whilst there are many advantageous qualities to the root-and-branch reform of social media, something brands should consider is, one of most identifying features of a successful business is its powerful approach to customer loyalty. What social media offers consumers is the ability to receive quick responses via direct messaging, as well as the opportunity to engage with brands honestly and publicly on live comments. Some argue that, as a result of axing social media, businesses run the risk of potentially thinning the line of communication between themselves and their customers.

Is This the Way Forward?

Without doubt, social media is one of the most impactful and cost-effective marketing tools available today. But as we’ve recently discovered, some brands are beginning to stand up and take notice of the damage it may be causing to, not just to their customers or their brand image, but to wider society in general. Dubbed with a disregarding attitude towards mental health, rocky data management processes, and the potential to banish a brand’s luxury image, is the social media sparkle slowly dwindling?

And as globally recognised brands like Bottega Veneta, Tesla and Lush radically re-think their social media strategies, many of us are left asking the question, is this the beginning of the great social media snub?

Consumer, Drink, Events, Food, Gifting, Industry, Sustainability

Posted on 12 October 2022

Just a few short generations ago our planet’s natural resources seemed cheap, easy to acquire, and plentiful, with the consequences of our actions too often an afterthought. The hard truth is that the responsibility has fallen upon each one of us to make better decisions, as the choices we make in our everyday lives, known or unknown to us, have a cumulative impact on the world we live in. 

Fast forward to present day and with the domino’s beginning to fall, the race to repair, redesign, and replace has begun. 

With the combat against climate change now one of the most important conversations of our generation, a rising number of corporations have pledged to increase their sustainability efforts in the name of ‘going green’. But what does that really involve? How does a business ‘go green’? And why are some of our favourite household brands slow to following suit?

What does ‘Going Green’ really mean? 

To understand what it takes for a business to go green, first we must understand what the term means. In short, when a company decides to ‘go green’ it means they are making a conscious effort to reduce/offset the negative impact their operations have on the environment. 

Why Would a Business ‘Go Green’?

As mentioned in our last article, ‘MB Insights: Vertical Farming – Is the only way up?’, many of the earth’s natural resources are depleting. From the soil we plant in, to the fabrics we weave, it’s reported that there aren’t enough materials to sustain the population’s ever-growing demand for commerce. Therefore, aside from the main incentive of, sustaining the delicate ecosystem that is our planet, businesses are continuing to go green for a number of different reasons. 

One reason for adopting a greener strategy is, for the cynics among us, because it’s expected of them. In 2021, Deloitte conducted a study to explore how consumers are adopting a more sustainable lifestyle and found that an overwhelming 61% of consumers had consciously reduced their usage of single use plastics. The study also revealed that nearly 1 in 3 consumers claimed to have stopped purchasing certain environmentally impactful brands or products entirely. A clear sign that a growing number of customers are judging their favourite brands, based upon their impact on the environment. 

Studies have also shown that such practices aren’t just influencing our shopping habits. A further investigation revealed that 74% of employees interviewed, say their job is more fulfilling when they’re provided with the opportunity to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues. Evidence that developing a sustainability focused corporate social responsibility programme is not only directly influencing customers, but also candidates. So much so, that ‘going green’ is now one of the top five internal practices that encourages an positive corporate culture. 

Going green isn’t just a positive change for the environment, it’s also good for your wallet! Although a number of large upfront costs are difficult to avoid, in the long-term, efficiency saves money. As companies look to reduce their energy consumption, minimise their use of wasted materials, and decrease their carbon footprint, with that eventually comes a reduction in operational costs. Not to mention the potential for a higher sales value, as consumers actively seek out ‘greener’ options. 

But perhaps the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. With many complex moving parts, and a large initial outlay, there comes a reduction in available capital, which in turn brings risk, a dampened ability to react, and a potential need to reduce costs elsewhere. For example, people. Which raises the question. Would you begrudge your favourite company for choosing survival over sustainability?

As mentioned earlier, both consumers and employees are favouring businesses based on their environmental impact. Unfortunately, this leaves us with the opportunity for businesses to appear to be more climate conscious than they really are. Typically, these companies only one goal in mind…fattening their profits. When companies use ‘green’ as a status symbol, this is often referred to in the industry as ‘greenwashing’. A term coined in 1986 by environmentalist, Jay Westerveld. One such example of this is the oil giant, Chevron. With the release of their TV, radio, and print advertising campaign in the 1980’s, the company proudly declared its dedication to executing positive environmental practices. Yet in reality, they were regularly violating the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act bills, while continuing to ‘spill’ tons of oil into wildlife refuges. 

Something brands should be wary of crossing is the thin line between promising eco-friendly practices and actually delivering on them. In a world where consumers increasingly demand accountability, it is all too easy for companies to accidently ‘greenwash’ their brand. Despite having the best initial intentions, situations like these arise as implementing a whole new sustainability strategy may not be a quick or smooth sailing process for some businesses. Ultimately leaving the company overwhelmed, underprepared and under-delivering on their promise. 

Finally, big or small, it’s clear to see that businesses can benefit from being more eco-friendly. For those sitting on the fence, a tip in the right direction might now come in the form of legal and regulatory compliance standards. For example, the UK government has recently committed to achieving a net zero society by 2050. Something that can only be met with the uncompromised support of businesses across the country. 

Is It Easy Being Green?

Is it easy being green? 

If we were to ask Kermit the frog, the answer would be no. 

If we were to ask the businesses out there that are making eco-friendly changes, the answer would probably still be no. 

However, we’re all familiar with the phrase, ‘nothing good comes easy’ and it’s safe to say that although it may be tricky, making greener choices has its benefits. So, what are the choices that businesses have and how do they make them?

One of the first, and arguably most important things a business might look at when starting their sustainability journey, is reducing their carbon emissions output. There are many ways to do this, one of which is a business dialling back on the amount of energy it consumes, or its partners consume. For example, if there’s a piece of equipment, large or small, that can be swapped out for a more sustainable alternative, such as energy saving light bulbs, motion sensitive lighting and smart thermostats, make the change! Or perhaps powering operations with renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, or trading petrol fuelled HGV’s for hybrid or fully electric fleet vehicles.

You know that meeting that definitely could have been an email, well… put it in an email! And if that can’t be done, switching to online meetings, or even offering a working from home option could not only this save businesses money, but also requires less travelling from the team– meaning less harm done to the planet – and… side bonus, no changing out of your PJ’s! As more and more people lean towards a remote/hybrid role, with sustainability (and PJ’s) being a huge factor in their decision, working from home is looking like it may be here to stay, with some businesses even claiming an increase in staff productivity as a result. According to a study performed by global job site, Indeed, searches for remote work have increased by more than 500% since February 2020, and job postings mentioning remote work have increased by 180%, now totalling 10% of all job posts on the site. Of course, this has been heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, which could also be another key driver in the demand for increased climate consciousness, with many people believing the lockdown gave the planet ‘a break’ from human interaction.

In order to meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of the future, not only do we need to improve sustainability in the workplace, but we also need to review and improve on the products being produced, including how they’re packaged. Many organisations are already making huge strides towards combating this issue, such as the global home, gift, and party accessories specialists, Talking Tables. Founded in London in 1999 by Clare Harris, with the ethos of bringing people together around the table, Talking Tables is a clear example of a company that truly takes responsibility for the impact their operations have on the planet. With sustainability at the heart of their brand, supporting the planet through their business success was a natural step for Talking Tables, who are keen to lead by example.

One of the first things the company wanted to improve on was their packaging. In particular, reducing the ‘P’ word, plastic. With packaging becoming a prime focal point for those that wish to be more conscious of their personal environmental impact, a great start to becoming more sustainable is swapping out plastic packaging for natural, biodegradable, or recycled alternatives. And so that’s exactly what Talking Tables did. After thorough research, the brand now packages most of their paper tableware products, such as paper plates and napkins, in card-based packaging. Producing an effective, attractive, and recyclable alternative. Along-side cardboard, another alternative is compostable packaging, which can be made entirely of bio-based polymers and non-toxic wheat or corn materials. However, Talking Tables avoided the use of bio-based polymers, such as PLA, due to fact that there’s a limited amount of bio plastic recycling facilities in the UK and an increased risk of potential contamination to plastic recycling streams.

Once their packaging got the ‘green’ light, Talking Tables were able to look at the overall design of their product and how they can make their range eco-friendlier. For those of us with a house party or two under our belts, or for the American Pie fans out there, the famous red party cup is legendary. But what most consumers don’t realise is that the well-known cups, aren’t quite as much fun for the planet. In-fact, most party cups contain an inner plastic lining that means they can’t be recycled and could even take a whopping 1,000 years to decompose. An issue that Talking Tables had to address. Thankfully, not only have they successfully created the world’s first recyclable party cup but have also taken further steps towards a ‘plastic-free’ status across 95% of their product roll out, as well has having launched a range of home compostable napkins. 

In the case of Talking Table’s, a key factor to their success has been partnering with the right suppliers. A practice that a number of multinational corporations have adopted, pledging to only work with suppliers that adhere to social and environmental standards, who in turn must expect the same from their suppliers. Therefore, creating a cascade of sustainable practices that flow smoothly throughout the supply chain. Ironically, one of the most prominent difficulties issues suppliers currently face, is automation. The more a supply chain is designed for mass production, the more likely it is that it’s automated, therefore the more difficult it is to make small changes to that cycle. As a result, some companies turn to overseas suppliers that use less automated equipment, although this still leaves them with the issue of transporting the goods across larger areas, which ultimately tips the scales back toward increasing their carbon emissions output. Therefore, cultivating loyal relationships with local suppliers becomes hugely important when it comes to relying on them for support when making changes. 

Talking Tables’ Director of Supply Chain, Daniel Fagan, comments on the need to build long-lasting relationships with reliable suppliers and how this affected their environmental goals: 

“When looking at the sustainability of our products and packaging, we found that one of the most important things to us was collaborating with the right suppliers. Over the years we’ve built long-lasting relationships with our partners, some of which we’ve worked with for over 10 years, and when the time came to looking at our collective environmental impact, everyone was all too happy to help. I think these trusting relationships and the loyalty we’ve built with them have played a huge part in the support we’ve had during our sustainability mission.”. 

To work out exactly how they were impacting the environment, Talking Tables sent out detailed surveys to their suppliers, asking about their waste management, their use of hazardous materials and chemicals (if any), and any other impacts they may be having on the planet. 

“From there, we worked hand-in-hand with our partners to make improvements and set action plans for our operations moving forward. Every two years, we hold a suppliers’ conference, as well as regular workshop sessions to keep everyone on the same page. As sustainability isn’t always at the forefront of supplier’s minds and they can often face issues like rising material costs, transport issues and high shipping costs, it’s up to businesses like us to drive the mission by supporting them through the process and keep them wanting to support us on our journey.” Said Daniel. 

We asked Daniel, if he was to offer a piece of advice to businesses going green, what would it be? 

“As well as being really passionate about my role, a key thing for Talking Tables is that a lot of the energy and drive around sustainability has come from the founders, Clare, and Mark. They are truly invested in wanting to make a change and for any company wanting to go green, you have to have the buy in from the top.”

“For us, what worked really well was breaking down everything we planned to do. Each year we’ve set specific pillars of strategy, with sustainability being one of them, and within that we built out all the key areas we want to go for that year. Whether that be a target on reducing the percentage of plastic we have in our products, or on boarding new or recycled materials. I think breaking it down annually, then breaking that down again to around 90 days helped us put it all in a digestible format and made it easier to communicate to the wider team.”

After chatting with Talking Tables, we can all rest easy knowing that there are businesses out there with a true passion and commitment to combating climate change. So much so, that Talking Tables are even on track to becoming officially B Corp Certified. A designation that signifies they are ‘leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy’. A clear statement that the brand continues to invest in social and environmental practices, even offering all team members two volunteer days, a wellness budget and funding towards any training they wish to complete.  

As you’ve probably worked out, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to a business going green. The whole process depends on whether the sustainability changes being made are affordable, accessible, manageable, and dependable. All of which can be difficult to achieve for certain types of businesses but is vital to the longevity of our existence. At some point in the cycle, the responsibility also falls upon consumers to take accountability and make greener choices. 

However, with companies like Talking tables pioneering advancements in sustainability, there’s certainly hope for a greener future. 

The rest they say… is up to us. 

If you would like to speak with our team of dedicated Gifting & Accessories specialists, contact us on 0191 691 1949 or email us at hello@macgregorblack.com

Advertising, Consumer, Events, Fashion, Industry, Insight, Retail

Posted on 23 August 2022

The time-honoured tradition of battling it out for a parking spot, brushing past rows of neatly lined linens, grabbing a quick coffee, and heading home with shopping bags bursting at the seams is under threat like never before. With Covid-19 fast-tracking the shift to online, how does in-store retail respond?  

MacGregor Black takes a closer look at what’s in-store for the future of retail, including one of the most popular strategies that brands are rolling out right now, experiential marketing. 

Today’s Retail Landscape? 

If you’re find shopping feeling a little different these days, you’ll be glad to know you aren’t alone. Shops certainly still exist, the gladiatorial parking spot battles still commence, and coffee still powers the weary toward that one final purchase. However, in the last decade we’ve witnessed the bustling world of in-store retail evolve drastically, with many consumers now opting to get their hands on the latest products, without even stepping near a store. 

Where once, to see, try on a product, and own it that day was a market owned entirely by in-store, these days technology has joined the party and is showing no signs of going home. 

From ordering online, to scrolling through Instagram, the internet has opened up a plethora of alternative options for consumers to shop and it’s easy to see why many of us are choosing convenience over physical experience. As our lives get busier and our time more precious, shops naturally become less appealing. Add to this the recent pandemic and the enticing lure of the internet, with its 24-7 convenience becomes harder than ever to resist. Despite this, retail is certainly still alive & kicking, and with the threat of online competition, the natural response is… innovation. 

A whole host of new and creative experiences are being rolled out for shoppers all around the globe with big name brands like Nike, Ralph Lauren and Red Bull offering their customers an in-store experience that goes far beyond the traditional shopping trip.

What Exactly is Experiential Marketing? 

If you’re a film lover, or a regular book worm like myself, then there’s no doubt you’re familiar with the intoxicating feeling of being transported to new and exotic worlds, to experience something completely new. Something exciting and most importantly, unique. 

This is the type of memorable, immersive experience that experiential marketeers hope to create for their audience. An experience that stands-out from the crowd and leaves us wanting more. After all, people want memories, stories, and adventures to share, not just products, and experiential marketing is a perfect way to achieve this.

Also known as ‘engagement marketing’, ‘live marketing’ or ‘participation marketing’, experiential marketing is a strategy that invites an audience to interact with a brand through a real-world, face-to-face event. In short, experiential marketing enables customers to not simply buy from a brand, but to deeply engage with and experience the brand on a personal level. According to Forbes, experiential marketing can bolster a long-lasting and unforgettable relationship between brands and customers, as well as providing brands with a unique range of opportunities to further grow and develop. 

While most experiential campaigns focus on live events such as festivals, retreats, trade shows and conferences; there are no written rules. Many examples take the form of one-off installations or activations, such as product taste testing, giveaways, pop-up experiences, kiosks, and a range of other unique experiences that drive meaningful interactions with customers.

However, not simply limited to in-store, experiential marketing often crosses the borders between the physical and digital world, with many brands incorporating an online presence into their experiential strategy, such as a branded hashtags, micro-sites, and social media campaigns, to raise awareness and encourage eWoM. 

Why Use Experiential Marketing? 

In recent years, one of the common demands that has steadily emerged across the consumer and retail industries is, trust. The more honest, dependable, and trustworthy a brand appears, the more likely it is that consumers will shop there in the future and even recommend the brand to their friends and family. With this in mind, a sure-fire way that retailers can build confidence in their brand and ensure this season’s boots stay on the ground, is with a well-executed and engaging experiential campaign. Providing customers with the opportunity to physically meet with brand reps, try new products in person, and experience unique events, creates a feeling of connection that simply cannot be achieved exclusively through online campaigns. 

Not only is experiential marketing a great way to reinforce a brand’s message and build loyalty with existing customers, but it can also be a fantastic platform for new customer acquisition. Personal interactions can go a long way when it comes to gaining a consumer’s initial buy in, as it opens up the opportunity to really understand a brand, the product, and the people behind it. In fact, according to EventTrack, a hefty 91% of consumers reported that they would be more inclined to purchase a brand’s product or service after participating in a brand activation or experience, and 40% felt they would actually become more loyal to the brand. 

Similar to the intricate world of digital marketing, one of the most important benefits to experiential marketing is the ability to generate leads and gather data on potential new customers. From contact details, to demographics, brands are able to obtain and use this data to fine-tune their strategy and engage with similar people who may also be interested in their brand in the future. And when coupled with an audience that has opted into the experience on offer, the quality, quantity and also reliability of the data collected is likely to be significantly greater. 

Our Top 5 Campaigns

According to HubSpot, experiential marketing now ranks as one of the top five marketing strategies that companies currently leverage, with brands all over the globe beginning to see the benefits of engaging with their customers on a personal level. 

But enough talking, here are our top 5 most interesting experiential campaigns launched to date:

SNCF – ‘Europe is Just Next Door’

In 2012, French rail network, SNCF teamed up with ad agency, TBWA, to put their company on the map, with the launch of their ‘Europe is Just Next Door’ campaign. The railway company created a virtual traveling experience for city goers all over Europe, by placing brightly coloured doors in major EU cities, waiting patiently to be opened by curious passers-by. Behind each door was a real-time event that offered pedestrians the chance to be transported to beautiful cities around the world with just the twist of a handle. It could be a street performer on the bustling banks of the Seine River, an enthusiastic mime surrounded by mesmerised crowds on the streets of Milan, or even a sketch artist eagerly waiting to paint your portrait from a park bench in Brussels. The campaign created a connection not only between the consumer and the location, but also with SNCF, placing it as a company that could turn your dream European trip, into a reality. 

Pepsi’s ‘Pepsi Touch’ Social Vending Machine

Using interactive digital technology, PepsiCo launched a state-of-the-art Social Vending Machine, which transformed the simple metal box, into a vessel for kindness. The impressive system allowed users to gift their friends a pre-paid bottle of Pepsi, from a far-away location. For the user, they simply add in the receipts name, mobile number and a personalised video message, and the receiver of the beverage is sent a system code and instructions to retrieve the drink, free of charge, from a selected machine. The campaign also allowed people to commit random acts of refreshment by purchasing a drink for a stranger or sending “a symbol of encouragement to a city that’s experienced some challenging weather or a congratulatory beverage to a university that just won a championship,” PepsiCo said. 

This is a great example of how experiential marketing opens the doors for brands to gather as much useful data from potential customers as possible.

‘Scoops Ahoy’ – Netflix & Baskin Robbins 

In the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, 80’s teen, Steve Harrington worked at the fictional ice cream parlour, Scoops Ahoy. In 2019, the well-known streaming platform, Netflix and leading American ice cream specialists, Baskin Robbins teamed up in an epic attempt to bring the on-screen ice cream shop to life. The campaign consisted of a range of different elements that launched steadily across America, including a shop, which remained open for two weeks, a 15 second commercial advertising the famous USS Butterscotch ice cream as seen on the show, an ice cream yacht, and a social media campaign to spread the word. The creative campaign also featured a Scoops Ahoy themed van travelling around the UK, giving out free retro flavoured ice-cream to excited Stranger Things fans in busy cities including, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Exeter, and Dublin. 

The Fortnite Rift Tour

Fornite, one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world and Ariana Grande, Guinness World Record holder for the most songs to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, teamed up to create an out-of-this-world musical experience. The Fortnite Rift Tour, held in the metaverse, was an event that pushed the boundaries of experiential marketing to the max, bringing virtual, hybrid and in-person events all in one place. The partnership saw experiential marketing professionals working with the metaverse to create a new range of immersive, high-tech events. As part of the campaign, Ariana Grande gave her first live performance in two years, exclusively for her fans in the metaverse. The detailed digital setting also allowed the audience to explore the colourful world of Fortnite, with interactive mini-games and challenges available throughout the event. 

Proud and Present by lululemon 

A key theme in many successful experiential campaigns is to eliminate the need to generate direct revenue from it. Instead opting to create a brand experience that your customers will never forget. In 2019, American apparel retailer, lululemon, launched the ‘Proud and Present’ campaign encouraging reflection within the LGBTQ21A+ community. The activation saw the execution of a full social campaign, two in-person experiences, and multiple in-store campaigns. The brand worked with their employees to create intimate, personal photos and videos which discussed topics impacting their community, which were shared on social media and brought to life in an outdoor installation in Hudson River Park in New York City. For two weeks, the brand also hosted LGBTQ21A+ inspired yoga sessions in the park to raise funds to support The Trevor Projects work with the community. 

In conclusion, as customers become increasingly aware of when, where, and how they shop, and the battle for convenience rages on, the in-store experience, now more than ever must stand out from the crowd. And with almost 60% of consumers now expecting retailers to dedicate more floor space to experiences, rather than just products, the future of retail has a clear expectation. Even a whopping 81% of consumer said they were more likely to open their wallets and pay more for products that offered an upgraded their overall shopping experience. 

With that in mind, keep your eyes peeled for the latest in activations and events at your local stores!

If you’d like to speak to our team of Retail Marketing recruitment specialists, get in touch today via 0191 691 1949 or via hello@macgregorblack.com

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When it comes to land, it’s essential for us to live, build, cultivate on… and farm on. Therefore, it goes without saying that we need as much of it as possible, now more than ever.

As our population continues to rapidly expand, the balance between these three is in a constant state of flux, with the amount of land available to us in rapid decline. Over the last decade, many have attempted to find an innovative and most importantly, sustainable, answer to the problem, with one promising idea blowing UP in the food industry.

MacGregor Black looks closer at the agriculture industry and it’s latest advancement, vertical farming.

So, what is Vertical Farming?

In simple terms, it’s making the most of the space above us. A slightly more intricate definition would be that vertical farming is the process of growing plants and food indoors on vertically stacked layers. Using the latest technologies known as controlled environment agriculture (CEA), farmers are now able to maintain almost total control over the environment in which their fruit and vegetables are grown. Critically, at varying heights. With CEA, farmers can curve the risks of unpredictable weather, as well as easily control the lighting, temperature, and water levels inside their vertical farms. This intensive form of farming utilises aeroponics, hydroponics, aquaponics, as well as a range of renewable energy sources and waste reduction strategies, all to ensure the cultivation process is as environmentally clean as possible. The term itself was first coined back in 1915 by American Geologist, Gilbert Ellis Bailey, but wasn’t popularised until 1999 when Columbia University professor, Dickson Despommier, and his students, designed a vertical farm that could feed up to 50,000 people. Fast forward to today, where land degradation is one of our greatest agricultural risks, vertical farming is now being hailed as a potential sustainable alternative to the way we currently grow and produce food worldwide. 

Planting the Seeds

Like all things in life, vertical farming has its own pros and cons. 

One of the obvious pros is the reduced need of precious natural resources, such as land and water. To put our current situation into context, a recent report by Greenpeace International found that almost 50 million hectares of forest lands were cleared for agriculture production in the last decade, totalling an area the size of Spain. Therefore, it’s no surprise we’re seeing a growing interest in alternative practices like vertical farming. Another sizeable add to the pro vertical farming list is the ability to locate farms much closer to, or even within, cities and urban areas. Locating farms close to urban areas means we see a cascade of secondary benefits such as, the ability for produce to reach customers within hours of being harvested. This not only saves on land space, but also retains the nutritional value of the product for much longer and drastically reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting the product to the consumer. Traditional agriculture also currently accounts for 70% of freshwater withdrawals worldwide; a volume in which some vertical farms have successfully reduced by up to a staggering 95%, via the use of sustainable water recycling systems.

Another benefit to growing upwards is the reduced chance of food contamination. Across the pond, the Centre for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 6 people in the USA suffer from foodborne illness, with nearly half found to be a direct result of fresh produce. Bacterial infection has also been closely linked to some of our favourite leafy greens such as, lettuce, spinach, and herbs. As vertical farming is primarily located indoors, under controlled temperatures, and with the use of floor cleaners, water quality sensors and dosing systems, the likelihood of food being contaminated during the harvesting and post-harvesting process is significantly reduced. 

Finally, unpredictable global weather conditions and limited growing seasons currently dictate the diversity and availability of certain fruit and vegetables throughout the calendar year. Now with vertical farms, typically seasonal fruits, and vegetables such as strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, and lettuce can be readily available during the colder months, allowing for a higher quality and range of fruit as well as a reduced dependency on expensive and environmentally unfriendly importation across borders.  

With a lengthy list of positives, you’d be forgiven for finding yourself wondering why there aren’t vertical farms springing up in your neighborhood. Although there are many advantages, there are also disadvantages to consider when it comes to climbing (or growing up) the agriculture ladder. 

Not surprisingly, vertical farming can be a costly endeavor, as land prices alone can be a huge initial cost, particularly now that such farms can be built in urban areas. As well as land, farmers must consider the infrastructure, planning, and maintenance costs involved with sourcing the best-performing crops, finding the best equipment, and hiring skilled laborers that understand all that comes with an industry still in its infancy. 

Another limitation farmers must consider when preparing to farm vertically is the small number of crops that can be grown not only vertically, but also economically. Currently, many vertical farmers focus mainly on producing leafy greens and herbs due to their rapid growth cycle, short shelf life and high profit margins. Also, some of the crops grown vertically have a low-calorie density and account for only a small proportion of our daily calorie intake. In layman’s terms, present day vertical farming simply doesn’t have the means to meet the nutritional needs of the average adult.

Although vertical farming does provide a sustainable solution to most parts of the current agriculture process, it does in-fact set itself a step back when it comes to one natural resource. Lighting. Natural light is replaced by artificial LED lighting that when turned on for an average of 12-20 hours per day, can ultimately drive-up operational costs and drastically increase the output of carbon emissions. On the other hand, a potential solution to the high energy costs of vertical farming could be answered by further utilising renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. For example, Harvest London, a certified B Corp vertical farming company, are entirely powered by renewable energy sources and claim to have achieved a consistent great taste across all their vertically grown crops. However not without further extending the already considerable upfront investment. 

Who is Climbing the Farming Ladder?

Right now, the country leading the way with the highest number of vertical farms is the USA, totalling over 2,000 locations. However, the USA aren’t the only one’s looking up for answers, vertical farms can also be seen flourishing in countries such as Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, The Netherlands, and here in the UK. Promising signs for an industry valued at £1.72 billion in 2018 and set to rise to £6.46 billion by just 2026.

Like Harvest London, many others have begun exploring the pros and cons to vertical farming. Ekonoke, an AI-backed vertical farming specialist, is currently in the process of growing hydroponic hops with the aim of mitigating the climate risks that are often linked with a key ingredient in the premium beer industry. The company hopes that growing hops in a fully controlled environment will be the solution to maintaining a consistent level of special compounds. Compounds that play a crucial part in creating a more desirable flavour and taste aroma profile. And to that we say… cheers!

In a greenhouse in Worcestershire, Shockingly Fresh is currently harvesting thousands of bunches of pak choi and lettuce destined to don the shelves of UK supermarkets. Unlike most vertical farms, the end-to-end hydroponic farming producer only uses only natural light, instead of LED, further reducing the carbon output of the business. Development Director, Nick Green comments: “This first farm will grow about 2m heads of leafy greens a year – around four times the yield we would expect on a patch of land this size. I can’t say it’s carbon-neutral, but it isn’t as carbon-hungry as an LED vertical farm would be,”. Shockingly Fresh hopes to build up to 40 more vertical farms, starting with their next farm in Scotland, which could in fact be the largest vertical farm we’ve seen so far in the UK.  

With a pandemic that has disrupted conventional food production and a global population expected to hit 10 billion by 2060, exploring more sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective methods to farming is much needed. Along-side other innovations in agriculture, could vertical farming be the answer we’re looking for?

If you’d like to speak to our team of Food Industry Recruitment Specialists, get in touch via (Phone Number) or at hello@macgregorblack.com

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Each time we share a meme with friends, ask Google a silly question, or tag our favourite restaurant in a mouth-watering foodie pic on social media, our behaviour is being recorded and shared by companies all over the world. 

You might not have given it much thought. But the hard truth is that each day, the actions that you take across the web, help build a digital profile. From your favourite chocolate bar to the age of your children, online businesses are hoovering up as much of your digital data as they possibly can. But is it all bad, or does it benefit us? We explore how companies gather this information, and what exactly do they do with it?

What information is available about me? 

Thanks to the digital transformation of the late 1990’s, collecting our online data has become the norm for most businesses. Computers are now able to identify your voice through your microphone, see your location through GPS tracking, analyse your browsing history, track every financial transaction you’ve ever made, and even store your biometrics, so you can unlock your smartphone with just a glance. From your demographics to your dating history, most companies are adept at reeling in your data from a plethora of locations. Whilst relatively vague information such as your age, geography, occupation, etc. are widely collected and shared as an anonymous group demographic, there are more stringent regulations in place surrounding the sharing of personal information that could be used to identify you, such as your full name, and date of birth.

How is my data collected?

Through the ages, information has long been one of the world’s most valuable resources. It currently powers individuals, the most profitable organisations around the globe, and even entire governments. But when measured side-by-side with other valuable resources, there is one glaringly obvious difference…we give it away for free. That’s right. One of the planet’s most in-demand resources, free of charge. And businesses of every size are mining it daily. Each click, scroll, like is recorded to help condense the internet, and predict what content you’d like to see more of. 

One of the most common ways to gather your data is via a website. Most people don’t think twice about clicking the ‘Allow All’ button when that pesky pop-up mentions something about cookies, but in-fact, it’s a request to track your every movement on the website you’re on, such as which buttons you click, the videos you watch, and how long you spend on a page can all be valuable information. But what is a cookie? Well, whenever you visit a website, it stores a small piece of data inside your computer… a cookie. This cookie is designed to remember information about you to remind the website who you are and what your preferences or online habits are. All of which doesn’t stop at just websites, your data is available on almost every digital platform you use, from email tracking, social media, apps, or there is always the option to buy it. 

How is my data used? 

Now that you’ve peeked behind the curtain, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little concerned, and left wondering what exactly these businesses can do with your information. Not to worry, MacGregor Black has broken down the main ways your data is being used.  

To Market

Data is vital when it comes to helping companies gain clarity about their target audience. The topics you search for, the websites you visit, the links you like, and even the location you’re in whilst you do all the above are all valuable pieces of data. This information is what allows marketeers to paint a picture of who you are, how you like to spend your time online and what you enjoy buying, browsing, and sharing. The result? Personalised adverts, all of which are showcasing products and services that you are most likely to want or need. For example, after a quick search on a site such as Amazon or eBay, you might be followed by the same products advertised across other digital accounts. You’re not crazy, and it’s no coincidence, its simply companies taking note of a particular product that you’ve shown interest in, and ‘re-targeting’ you, in the hope you’ll come back to buy it. Another incentive for marketeers to store your data is the increased ability to predict your behaviour. For example, something as simple as a discount code emailed to customers on their birthday has a 481% higher transaction rate, and a staggering 342% higher revenue than the average promotional email campaign, according to Experian.Therefore, something as simple as knowing a date you’ll be celebrating, or perhaps having a little more cash lying around, can be an incredibly effective tool for marketers.

To Research 

Whether it be social scientists, marketeers, or even governments, the data you provide is constantly being studied and researched, even as we speak. As we touched upon, marketeers would use this data to develop an understanding about what makes you tick, and to better advertise their products and services to you. However, a social scientists would use your data to gather and research trends, allowing them to determine unbiased insights for studies. Or for those who remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal… possibly even influence our political views. After all, what better way to assess the feelings of a group of people, than to track their digital likes, dislikes, comments, and criticisms on a mass scale. But it’s not all doom and gloom, data can, and is also being used to start movements and initiate positive change. The volunteering of information has not only allowed us to track societal issues, for example, the gender pay gap, but also implement permanent action to tackle wrongdoing. 

To Evaluate 

Perhaps you’re looking to insure your shiny new car, put a deposit down on your dream home, or take out a loan to launch a brilliant new business idea you have. What they all have in common, is the need for you to hand over your personal data. Like marketeers, insurers, mortgage providers, and bankers will gather this data and use it to paint a picture of your character, which in turn, allows them to better understand the risk they take when it comes to lending you huge sums of money. With thanks to additional regulations surrounding these sectors, sensitive data such as your prescription history, credit history, criminal records, professional licenses, health records and financial information are kept safely under lock and key and is only shared with the aforementioned services with your permission.

To Store 

With the potential power that information holds, it’s no wonder that when it’s collected, it’s stored. By keeping historical data, it allows for the progress to be tracked, for example social scientists can monitor attitudes, salaries, migration, and equality over time. With marketers using past data to monitor increases and decreases in demand. However, it can also bring with it the potential for misuse, in the form of a poorly secured websites and unencrypted data. The result of this? Our data can be left sitting in a vulnerable position. With certain sensitive information, it’s possible to open accounts in your name, take out loans, intercept your tax refunds, open utility accounts, and even fly with your airmiles. But it isn’t all bad. Thanks to updated legislation, we all have the right to know what information is being stored about us, as well as instruct its permanent deletion. However, there can be no guarantee that your data hasn’t already been sold and stored elsewhere. 

To Sell 

With the value of information skyrocketing, the opportunity to purchase your behavior profile is more common than you might think. In fact, there are companies out there with the sole purpose of mining and selling online data. Like any market, the value of this data fluctuates based on supply and demand. For example, as there are currently more women than men in our population, therefore a male’s data is often sold at a slightly higher price. The same can be said across a range of different demographics, with data on 18–24-year-olds often carrying the highest price tag, according to a study conducted in 2020 by MacKeeper and YouGov. 

The Conclusion?

As we willingly introduce more technology into our lives, thus increasing the information we share, the greater the need becomes to consider who we trust to use it responsibly. After all, it not only has the potential to better society, our online experiences and how we spend our time and money, it can also be used to influence our political opinions, threaten our personal security, and invade our privacy. With pro’s and con’s evident on either side of the data mining debate, and a constant race between ever evolving regulations and technology, the responsibility ultimately lies with us.

Posted on 17 August 2022

In a world where our watch monitors our heart rate, our running shoes track our individual biomechanics, and our cars are on the verge of driving themselves, it’s no surprise that technology in our homes finds itself in the midst of a boom. 

From high-tech security systems, to mirrors that can teach us yoga, there’s an endless range of smart gadgets out there, designed to make our every-day routines as swift and autonomous as possible. 

MacGregor Black takes a closer look at the latest in smart home features, their impact on our lives, and the important things to consider before turbocharging your home with the latest in tech. 

The Basic Guide to Smart Homes 

In essence, a smart home is designed to enable quick and easy control over our everyday tasks. Simple, right.

The integration of technology into our homes is paving the way for the modern homeowner to not only save money, but also time. A priceless commodity in today’s high-priced, fast-paced world. 

In fact, recent figures show that over half of US households now have at least one smart device, such as smart speakers, home hubs, video doorbells, cooking equipment, and even bathtubs. As the takeover continues to gather pace, one such demographic is leading the charge… Millennials. Not only are they driving early adoption, but a study has also revealed the value they place in integrated technology, via the group’s willingness to pay 20% or more for smart homes vs non smart homes. 

To put it simply, technology is gifting users the power to remotely control their homes, in real time. 

But, before you begin the race to recreate Tony Stark’s Malibu beach house, it’s important that you understand the ins and outs of smart home technology. Such as:

What smart devices are there? What are the pros and cons? What should I consider before I invest? 

The Ins & Outs

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, how we choose to spend our days is being re-evaluated like never before. And with a new perspective, brings new innovation. The growing desire to salvage more precious time for ourselves and our loved ones has birthed a new age of technology in our homes. With self-serving coffee machines and fridges that restock themselves, the opportunity to spare ourselves from mundane day-to-day tasks has never been more in demand. 

However, buying back our precious time does come at a cost. For example, a smart fridge that pre-emptively orders your essential groceries can set you back up to 1,000% of the cost of an average household fridge. And it doesn’t stop there, with many other high-tech replacements following suit, such as automated coffee machines setting you back a whopping £600 per piece average!

Smart Home Security Systems

If asked to picture a smart home, many of us are drawn to sci-fi movies and clips of floating cars. Today, the animated world of smart home technology seems closer to reality than fiction and, although J.A.R.V.I.S isn’t entirely a reality just yet, parts of our favourite sci-fi movies have leaked their way into the real world. One such example being… automated security systems. 

With the recent developments in artificial intelligence, many automated security systems are pushing the boundaries of imagination. Depending on your budget, high-profile systems can include impressive features such as, long range motion detection, heat sensors, high-definition zoom lenses, cloud storage, and automated locking systems. All of which are designed to detect even the slightest intrusion, providing homeowners with some much-needed peace of mind. And as most devices are connected to the internet and accessed remotely, tackling the Olympic style decathlon back to your front door, only to find out it was locked after all, is thankfully becoming a thing of the past. 

Nonetheless, like many other smart home devices, smart security systems rely on a strong internet connection. And as you may know, any device that’s connected up to the internet, sadly comes with its own vulnerabilities. Such as, the ability to be hacked. In fact, according to a study conducted by Statista, smart homes could actually decrease your level of overall security, with 40.8% of smart homes containing at least one device that is vulnerable to hacking. 

However, fear not. With that stat in mind, electrical engineers and technical geniuses are continuously developing and upgrading the authentication layers and security algorithms of smart home security systems including passwords, two-factor authentication, and even biometrics. 

Smart Healthcare

Now, picture a mattress that tracks your vitals, or a first-aid kit that performs life-saving surgery. Whilst (unfortunately) we’re not quite there yet, merging the intricate worlds of healthcare and technology is expected to breathe life into some of the most jaw-dropping inventions of our time. 

Dubbed the ‘telehealth’ sector, the collaboration between industries has recently undergone dramatic growth, and according to a report by the United Nations and P&S Intelligence, the value of connected healthcare products will total nearly $100bn by 2030! 

The potential of future telehealth products is endless and the tools available today are equally as impressive. Take Amazon’s Alexa for example. Whilst it’s not possible for Alexa to make emergency calls just yet, it is possible for you set up an additional ‘skill’ on the device that will alert a designated friend that you need help. The ‘Ask My Buddy’ skill is cleverly linked to your Alexa device or Google Home apps, and triggered via asking “Alexa, ask my buddy for help” or “Ok Google, alert my family”, upon which your chosen emergency contact is alerted. Similarly, Apple’s iWatch has the ability to detect falls, make emergency calls to pre-designated contacts, and even emergency services, sharing life-saving information such as your name and GPS coordinates.

Another huge benefit to the pairing of technology and healthcare is remote monitoring. As many of us use wearable devices, such as the aforementioned smart watches, you may have already clocked the many high-tech features these enable. From tracking your blood pressure to monitoring your sleeping habits, wearable technology can track even the slightest alteration in your health, providing you with a wealth of information to share with your doctors, physicians, and other healthcare professionals. 

Although, one thing to be conscious of is that, for those of us who consider ourselves tech-savvy, setting up, using, and maintaining a smart home healthcare system is a walk in the park. However not for all. For those that are still adjusting to the recent advancements in technology, syncing up their home appliances to a complex integrated automated system, and relying on it for their personal care, could be overwhelming. 

Smart Home Entertainment

If you’ve read this far, and we’ve led you to walk around your house thinking, “What devices can I make smart?”, you might be better asking yourself, “What devices can’t I make smart?”. 

Most appliances found in the home today also offer a smart sister product, equipped with the latest high-tech features. But smart homes don’t just need to be functional, they can also be fun! With that in mind, one of the most in-demand features taking centre stage in the automated tech space right now is, smart home entertainment. 

As most of us are still reveling at Netflix’s ability to skip intros, the entertainment industry is charging forward leaps and bounds, and the days of fussing with remotes and cables are soon to be put firmly behind us. With smart home entertainment system, devices like your TV, speakers and radio are gifted new capabilities and can all be controlled in one convenient place. 

Stream 4K movies to your smart TV directly from your phone or tablet. Vibe to your favourite songs on the highest quality surround sound system. Control your entire home theatre from an app on your mobile and ask Alexa to read your most-loved novel aloud. When entertainment and technology blend together, the possibilities are ever-evolving. 

However, one thing to remember is, most smart devices are as they say on the tin… smart. And so, to be smart, they must learn. This means gathering data about you, your habits, your likes and dislikes, and your daily routines. Your smart fridge is learning what you eat, your smart watch is tracking what apps you open, and your smart TV is logging everything you watch. Whilst this may sound alarming, fear not. Strict legislation means the manufacturers only gather this data to improve their product or enhance the immersive entertainment experience they want you to enjoy. 

So, as you’ve learned, there’s a world of high-tech automated products out there, waiting patiently for a place in your home. Whether your need is a freshly brewed coffee in the morning, or a remote medical check-up, the opportunity is at the tip of your fingers. 

Although, in spite of all the amazing benefits gained from technological advancement, there’s also the question of whether we need all this assistive technology. Are we really so desperate for convenience, that we can’t flip a light switch? So in need of routine that we can’t order spontaneous groceries? And so dependent on tech that we can’t drive our own cars? The good news is at least, with all the spare time we save using home automation, we’ll have plenty of free time to think about that…

If you would like to grow your team, or explore the next step in your career, don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team of Consumer Electronics Specialists via 0191 691 1949 or hello@macgregorblack.com