The Concepts

We created the Brand Futures concepts to explore how some of today’s well-known brands might evolve in the long-term and how they might interact with and enhance customer lifestyles, business and the environment. We explore closed-loop business models, circular economy principles and novel ways that brands can meet consumer needs. The concepts are entirely our own, independent view – not involving the brands we show as examples - intended to provoke discussion and illustrate opportunities.

The concepts demonstrate that today’s brands have the potential to develop in ways that are both commercially beneficial and supportive of sustainable lifestyles, without diluting their uniqueness and core values. They also help us to imagine the scale of change necessary to adapt to macro-shifts such as a low-carbon economy, resource constraints, demographic changes and technological development – and importantly, to imagine this adaptation as a beneficial evolution for a brand and its business model, not a series of sacrificial steps to comply and retro-fit.

The Methodology

Brand Futures is a methodology for creating short to mid-term brand and innovation strategy, by defining a long-term roadmap for success.

The process involves a combination of brand auditing, insight and foresight to establish a set of long-term visions for the future of the brand(s) in question. We then work with our clients to establish the implications of each of these visions for short- and medium-term brand and innovation strategy. We craft these with customers to refine and prioritise activities and then create a roadmap for making it happen.

The methodology flexes to suit the brand, the client and the challenges. We use a basic approach to create a suite of potential outputs:

  • A future-fit brand purpose / positioning
  • A future-focused brand strategy
  • A future-ready brand or product architecture
  • An innovation roadmap that spans the short- medium- and long-term
  • Innovation concepts for new business models

We work with brand, marketing, innovation and sustainability teams. This type of work benefits from cross-team collaboration, wherever possible, pulling in insights, creativity and expertise from across organisations.

Our 20 years of brand, insight, strategy and sustainability experience, coupled with foresight and futures expertise drives this work – always ensuring the brand values stay centre stage, enhanced and renewed by foresight and customer insight.

To find out more and hear how your brand could benefit from this approach, get in touch.

Argos: Lease it. Love it. Argos it.

Argos offers an affordable leasing service for all its products. No longer just silos for collection, the stores are now hubs of activity for thousands of Argos employees leasing, upgrading and repairing household products, ready for a new lease of life.

Homeowners and tenants enjoy affordable monthly costs and a quality guarantee. With access to the Argos network of local technicians, repair, upgrade and collection services, managing their household appliances has never been so easy.

When a product reaches its end of life, it remains the property of Argos, which can then easily ensure its remanufacture: Argos owns the product during its entire lifecycle. The model is built around convenience for the consumer – gone are the days of waiting in for an expensive technician.

Manufacturers are required to design for repair, durability and ultimately disassembly, to facilitate the smooth running of the business model.

Once Argos had transitioned to durable, repairable products, it was also able to extend its brand to new groups of quality conscious consumers.

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Bupa: One step ahead of healthcare

Bupa is the global preventative healthcare specialist, helping you live a longer, healthier and happier life with visits to the doctor kept to a minimum. Bupa’s OpenHealth platform helps users manage their lifestyle, self-diagnose minor illnesses and access the most efficient route to healthcare assistance if needed.

OpenHealth implants alert you when you are ill and your digital assistant proposes action, monitors compliance and provides real-time information should you need to access healthcare. The platform uses enjoyable incentives to optimise healthy living.

Because Bupa believes preventative healthcare should be available to all, its OpenHealth platform is freely accessible globally, until the point of access to healthcare. Ever since the launch of its Well World initiative back in 2011, Bupa has been evolving to meet its commitment to keeping people well while supporting a healthy planet, which translated naturally into a core focus on active lifestyles and preventative health.

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easyJet: Hi-comfort, jet speed rail travel

easyJet has pioneered the way we choose, use and experience European rail travel. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, revolutionary jet speed trains provide affordable, cool and hyper-efficient journeys across continents, delivering us to our end destinations in comfort, with ease.

Using its unparalleled capacity to manage passenger yield and influence bookings and price in real-time, easyJet has revolutionized rail travel for the better. Integrating its easy and affordable philosophy into all areas of train travel, which used to be undesirable and, at times, unbearable. It won over sceptics and turned the rail experience into part of the trip, not just a means to reach a destination.

Connected to the EU’s smart grid, easyJet’s fares react to projected excess capacity and its trains supply back to the grid via an advanced kinetic energy recovery system.

European travel for pleasure is a delight of entertaining options from film to spa, while businessmen and women can use their time on board as a tailored, remote office experience.

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Morrisons: Keeping local, local

Morrisons is helping the high street to be the best it can be. Its ‘Market Street’ of fresh produce has been moved out into local stores. Fresh produce is provided through partnerships with the local greengrocer, butcher and baker. Grocery and household items are available in Morrisons neighbourhood stores. Consumers experience a more intimate, personal shopping experience, with consistent quality, local sourcing and great value, through the support and advice that shopkeepers receive from Morrisons. As a result, many UK high streets are buzzing networks of collaborative consumption and traditional trade activity made up of local growers, producers and online distributers.

This has been a considerable transition for Morrisons’ business model, but still reflects the high street culture and commitment to fresh produce that its ‘Market Street’ superstore format always offered. Collaborating with communities and decentralising its stores has reinforced the family feel, closeness to customers and freshness, which characterises the brand.

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Primark: Subscribe to style

Primark’s style-subscribers buy in to the latest fashions through a flexible, affordable wardrobe. Choosing items from monthly collections and keeping them for as long as they want, users have the best of both worlds: as many new items as they please and the ability to return used items for reconditioning and remanufacturing.

Through both virtual and high street stores, style-subscribers can influence collections, create and share their own styles and tune in to the latest collections via regular catwalk shows.

Even though the business model behind Subscribe to Style has evolved from the original, what Primark's consumers love and relish about the brand has not changed. As a Primark subscriber, your wardrobe is more flexible and exciting than ever before.

But behind the scenes investment in R&D has changed fabrics irrevocably; intelligent design for durability and disassembly has given items multiple life-cycles, and the thriving UK remanufacturing industry employs thousands.

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Rio Tinto - Discover better

Rio Tinto is the global leader in sourcing, grading, re-purposing and processing the world's used metals, plastics and minerals. It takes used materials fit for re-purpose and ensures that materials it has leased return to them at the end of use.

As a result, the amount of useful materials being sent to landfill has decreased by 85%.

Mining of old landfill sites is one of the best sources of raw materials, and Rio Tinto has pioneered the adaptation of traditional and automated mining techniques for application to landfill mines.

Its products help fulfil vital customer and consumer needs and improve living standards.

Rio Tinto’s 2030 business model and network of intermediaries provides employment across the globe.

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