Sunnier Side of the Office – April 15, 2019

"Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame."

- Notre-Dame Cathedral spokesman Andre Finot on the cathedral's fire. The cathedral is 856 years old. The roof structure is entirely made of wood, dating back from the 12th century. 
The Rise of Livestream Shopping
By: Sergio Saucedo
Retail is in the midst of a transformation with shifting consumer behaviors and emerging retail trends such as cashierless checkout, and digital only stores having become popular. The social aspect of shopping is also evolving to encourage interaction and conversation digitally. The newest trend that is emerging with this shift is livestream shopping.

Similar to how Twitch democratized live streaming for gaming, start-ups like Dote, as well as seasoned brands like Amazon and Facebook are leading the charge for this new trend of watching others shop via livestream.

Dote’s approach is especially interesting because they are encouraging consumers to host “Shopping Parties”. In these shopping parties, a users’ mobile screen is split, so they see the hosting shopper live, as well as what items they’re browsing. At the same time, viewers can weigh in on styles being considered, comment in real time, and help their favorite influencer or friends select the best options.

Currently, brand’s looking to capitalize on this new trend have the option to work with influencers hosting these livestreams, or partner directly with Dote and Amazon to make sure their products are shoppable and apart of the experience.

Patagonia’s New Co-Branding Restrictions
By: Emily Menken 

Once again, Patagonia leads by action. The outdoors apparel/goods company is known for two things: the first being its fight against climate change and preservation of national lands; the second being its reputation for fashioning bros from Wall Street to the Marina.

That fratty perception might change now that Patagonia is limiting corporate sales of its products. The brand will no longer co-brand with oil, drilling, mining, and dam-construction companies, nor will they co-brand with the financial institutions that invest in them.

Per a Patagonia rep: “We recently shifted the focus of this program to increase the number of Certified B Corporations, 1% For The Planet members and other mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet.”

This isn’t the most incendiary announcement Patagonia has made. In contrast to previous pledges, like donating its $10 million tax break to environmental groups combating the climate crisis or public support of AOC’s (failed) New Green Deal, this announcement seems tame, perhaps even obvious.

But because of Patagonia’s tech-bro reputation, the news is making headlines. One reads, “Tragedy Strikes the Finance Bro Community”. Co-branded Patagonia “power vests” paired with button-downs and slacks have been dubbed the “Midtown Uniform”. There’s even an Instagram dedicated to the sartorial choice (the account went viral exactly one year ago).

Whether Patagonia’s decision to part ways with companies that don’t align with its own values will impact other brands remains to be seen. But it certainly got people talking on social, and may even make consumers pay a little more attention to whether their preferred institutions are featured alongside a Patagonia label.

The Myth of the Conscious Consumer
By: Wells Wallace

For the past few years there has been a huge emphasis on sustainability and brands doing social good. One of the biggest drivers of this movement came from consumers-- they were demanding social responsibility from brands. However, recent reports have shown there is a lot of Talk and far fewer people walking the walk. The 2018 Conscious Consumer Spending Index reported “record lows in the number of Americans who are purchasing socially responsible products and services, practicing ‘green’ behaviors such as recycling/reducing consumption, and being philanthropic by giving time or money to charity.”

Just last week, this sobering truth came to light further when the founder of Warby Parker, Neil Blumenthal, sat down with Inc. to talk about why their social mission (Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program) is not their lead messaging: “We used to have the 'buy a pair, give a pair on the front page of our website. Now it's just on the social-mission page. . . . [And] Instead of incorporating the program into our checkout flow, we began including an insert card in every customer order that explains it.”

As Coachella wraps up its first weekend, yes we have one more to to go, here are some interesting facts for you. The first year of the festival was in 1999 with artists Tool, The Chemical Brothers, Beck, and Morrissey performing. Organizers lost $850,000 partly because they were charging so little for tickets, $50 per day. Today a three-day general admission ticket starts at $429. See the full musical line-up from that inaugural year below.
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