Rebooting Reality with I-AM: Harnessing Consumer Trends in Retail & Hospitality

Three of our takeouts

Another amazing London Design Festival done and dusted. The highlight for us was definitely 100% Design, who invited us to be part of their unrivalled talks programme. Our Group Managing Director, Jon Blakeney and Trends & Insights Manager, Sabrina Faramarzi shared key insights spanning retail, leisure and hospitality, and outlined the findings from our latest trends report as showcased on


Businesses as social institutions

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 2017, 85% of respondents lack belief in the system. The current socio-political and economic environment has created a huge distrust in government. Businesses remain the institution that retain some trust with consumers who are now more comfortable with brands speaking up in their area of expertise. This creates a perfect opportunity for businesses to engage further, and much earlier, in the consumer decision-making process. Growing numbers of ‘Commitment Centres’, such as the Ford Hub, show how some brands are acting on this trend. Focused on expanding their definition of mobility, Ford showcases the ways they are rethinking the future of transportation.


Brands come off the shelf

We believe that experiences are by far the best way to truly express what a brand stands for, beginning to replace advertising as the most effective medium in influencing consumers. To counteract the efficiencies of online shopping, experiences are key to enhancing in-store footfall. The sound system brand, Sonos, created mini house-shaped pods for customers to experience their products in a domestic context.


Playing with realities

Brands can play around with fiction, function and feeling to immerse consumers in alternate realities. These realities represent a range of narratives which brands use to engage and reach their audience. As the understanding of “reality” is being redeveloped, allowing consumers to play with interactive and virtual realities will be the key to further engagement. 92% of consumers report that interactive content influences them to make a purchase – Kibo Commerce. Ikea’s VR experience aids the buying process through various features, including seeing the kitchen from a child’s viewpoint.