Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.

1. Refillable containers meets mainstream brands

Major CPG companies, such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Danone, Mars Petcare and Mondelez International, announced a new project called “Loop,” where people will be able to buy classic products from ice cream to shampoo in containers they will refill.  Why should you care? Over the past year, we’ve seen people become increasingly adamant that brands take responsibility for their impact. With growing concerns over plastics in the oceans, people are demanding that companies reevaluate their products and processes because consumers believe companies are in the best position to make meaningful change. Though the idea is still being tested, using the classic “milkman” model for consumer goods would dramatically change the current product landscape. Reinventing this old solution for the modern consumer is exactly the type of innovation that will drive brand loyalty for socially conscious consumers, which now constitutes the majority of consumers[CNN]

2. Letting Generation Z speak to Gen Z

For its Spring 2019 campaign, American Eagle relinquished “full creative control” to nine Gen Z shoppers. Why should you care? With Gen Z entering the workforce and gaining in purchasing power, brands need to start thinking now about how they can engage this generation. Gen Z isn’t just looking to passively relay their opinions, they want to co-create with brands. That’s what makes this move so smart. American Eagle identified natural Gen Z ambassadors for their brand by tracking posts on social media. Rather than ask for their feedback, they handed over the reins to their customers to give their campaign the authenticity that best resonates with Gen Z. [Adweek]

3. I spy…a loophole in FaceTime that allows people to spy on each other

This week, Apple announced it had identified a fix for a bug in their operating system which enabled people to listen to someone they called on FaceTime, even if the recipient declined the call. Why should you care? Of course, there are the obvious reasons around privacy. However, from a broader perspective, this is just another step on the continuing fall from grace for the formerly “golden children” major tech companies. We know from research over this past year, in spite of all of the privacy breaches, etc., people aren’t abandoning these technologies outright. They are just too ingrained in our daily lives and there are many positive functions they perform. However, we do know that after each of these bombshells, behaviors change and consumers trust these platforms/companies a little less. So far, this has led individuals to police their behavior more and use their devices or social media platforms less. This is likely what will result from this misstep. However, we’ve also seen companies reintroduce simpler smart phones, so it’s also possible we’ll see groups of consumers going back to basic models if their trust runs out.  [The Atlantic]

4. Thrift store renaissance

Thrift stores around the country are being inundated with donations which they are attributing to a recent addition to the Netflix repertoire, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Why should you care?  Luckily, the “Marie Kondo Effect” bears no resemblance to the other recent Netflix-induced phenomenon and rather than encourage people to do ridiculous stunts while blindfolded, people are getting rid of things that “no longer bring them joy.” This standard criteria was established by Marie Kondo in her 2011 bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, because she believed that ridding yourself of things that don’t bring you joy is the first step towards finding inner peace. With the resurging popularity of KonMaring, we can conclude two things. First, in 2019 people are desperately seeking some form of inner peace. Brands that can authentically help their customers do that will be in good shape. Second, brands should monitor Netflix for risks and opportunities because Netflix has clearly become a force of nature in driving cultural phenomenon. [CityLab]

5. To share or not to share?

This week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that changes in 2017 to reduce the number of stories they published via Facebook has since “tripled their following.” Why should you care? Supported by an initiative through the Knight Foundation, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel captured data over the past couple of years to identify which stories they should share on social media to maximize engagement. While brands may be tempted to share everything on social media, these results make a good case not only for a “less is more” approach, but a strategic one led by metrics and perfected through trial and error. [Poynter]

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