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Humanising tech: How brands are ‘shifting the dialogue’

There is no denying that technology is not an integral aspect to our lives. Moving forward, more tech brands will do their best to blend in, said a recent report by  JWT Intelligence titled The Future 100 on 2019 report.

According to the report, tech brands are now “shifting the dialogue” towards services that are made to smoothly and reassuringly reconcile themselves to the user. As such, tech brands will be share information in a  “playful, non-threatening” manner.

The report also added that brands which leverage tech are rebranding, vying for an identity that is approachable, friendly and contemporary. In September 2018, Uber launched a refreshed logo and a bespoke set of fonts which embrace a rounded sans serif. Dating app Grindr created a new initiative called Kindr for fall 2018, in an effort to “foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment on Grindr and elsewhere within the queer community,” according to its press release.

Meanwhile in Singapore, couple of brands that unveiled its brand refresh include foodpanda undergoing a global brand revamp last year, following its acquisition by Delivery Hero. According to the company, the new logo aims to be more memorable. Also, foodpanda’s font has also been updated to be more contemporary, which is in line with the brand’s new direction.

The JWT report highlighted that big tech brands are increasingly favoring an impeccably designed visual language that celebrates imperfection and tactility.

The overall aesthetic is human, soft, fun and refined. Rather than using primary colors, it relies on a
more muted digital palette.

Furthermore in the report, it was said that the premise of what a tech brand should look and feel like is being reconsidered. One such area is the audio and speaker industry.

The report showed that the  speaker industry is going through a redesign, using color and curved designs for products that blend in with home decor. Ikea entered the tech market in 2018 with its Eneby Bluetooth speaker, which can be hung up or carried by the handle, and comes with a gray-flecked fabric cover. Audio expert Sonos teamed up with Danish design brand Hay to launch in September. Most recently, Google launched its Pixel Buds and pebble-shaped Home Mini speaker, both in curved forms and with woven textile covers and cables.

“The year ahead will see a tipping point for a number of consumer trends. Brand experiences, once novel and designed exclusively (or cynically) for Instagram are getting push back. Big tech, which has extended its tentacles into every aspect of our lives, not to mention politics, is also facing a reckoning. Expect more questions about the ethics of these companies and the rising presence of China tech in competition,” Lucie Greene, Worldwide director of JWT’s innovation group, said of the report.

Tech to become more intuitive

Meanwhile with consumers calling for protection and ownership of their personal data, tech brands are starting to put control into users’ hands. Tech brands are differentiating by presenting a positive alternative to the commercial internet- and cloud-based services, aiming to protect personal information and letting consumers decide how and when their data is used.

Technology is also now becoming more intuitive than ever, with new products and devices that can instantly adapt to their surroundings.

In August this year, Reebok released a shape-shifting sports bra that adapts to wearers’ movement. The material incorporates a thickening fluid which changes texture in response to movement and is also used in NASA spacesuits and bulletproof vests. The substance allows the bra to adapt support for different levels of activity, stiffening to provide more support while moving, and softening while the wearer is at rest.

Meanwhile, Puma partnered with the MIT Design Lab to create adaptive shoes that respond to the wearer’s fatigue, which were revealed at the 2018 Milan Salone del Mobile design week. The Deep Learning Insoles use bacteria that responds to sweat to collect biological information about the wearer. A layer of electronic circuits then detects any changes in this biological information and transmits that data, to help prevent fatigue and improve performance.

Advances in technology are imbuing devices and materials with biological capabilities, turning them into an extension of the wearer’s body.

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