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A Forecast of Near-Future Trends

Contents Welcome 4 Conspicuous Isolation 6 Bulklash 8 Urban Defense 10 Life Framing 12 Gender Untethered 14 The New Main Street 16 Hyper-Experiences 3

Share BNB 20 Game of Drones 22 Automation Nation 24 Agri-Culture 26 Home-ing 28 Beyond the Box 30 Frugeois 32 Augmentality 18

On the Future Š Sterling Brands 2014



Welcome to Sterling Brands’ first annual trends report: On the Future. In this inaugural issue we explore various areas of life—from food packaging and consumption, to social media and wearables—in order to arrive at Sterling futurecasts, or what we believe are future opportunities for brand and product innovation. Each Sterling futurecast designed by our team is based on careful observation of what products are already in market, what’s driving socioeconomic trends and how consumers will adapt to both. It’s how we know what’s to come. Among the Sterling futurecasts, you’ll see the connections we’ve made between urbanization and single-serve products, a new kind of credit for the sharing economy and products that wipe your presence off the grid while you’re still on it. The future is an exciting place for brands and consumers alike. We hope you’ll find the same inspiration we did, and we welcome your thoughts on how Sterling futurecasts might impact your life.

Deedee Gordon President, Innovation Sterling Brands

SUPPORTING DATA By 2015, Americans are expected to consume an average of 15.5 hours of media per person per day. – San Diego Supercomputer Center

As many as 77% of consumers fear their families could be victims of hacking over the next decade. – McAfee

67% of cell owners check their phone for calls, emails, and alerts, even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. – Pew Research

Conspicuous Isolation Finding relief from our culture of continuous monitoring and self-branding. Does turning off your smartphone feel like a combination of torture and vacation? In a world where privacy has become a commodity and one’s public persona requires continuous upkeep, there is a growing desire to find sanctuary from the pressures of social media and omnipotent monitoring.

There is a growing desire to find sanctuary.

Observe the modern lifestyle: our personal data is collected and traded routinely. Privacy breaches are accepted as common. The ins and outs of our lives are exposed to strangers online. Personal space is increasingly scarce with overcrowding. How can brands maneuver in this moment of digital saturation? By helping people get away from it. With little control over these new realities, consumers are finding escape, indulgence and therapeutic relief through activities and moments that occur “off-the-grid.”

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014



“The Privacy Hat” uses a series of infrared and strobing LED’s to generate an invisible interference pattern across the wearer’s face. This pattern makes it impossible to capture one’s likeness with a camera—the wearer’s face shows up distorted and blurred in any photograph or video. Avoid detection by hidden cameras in public. Never get tagged in a photo again! “Invisible Oasis.” These quiet sound fields are built on the site of existing phone booths. They create a peaceful sonic oasis in the bustling cacophony of the urban environment. Use them to make phone calls or to take a brief break from the sound and fury.


Wearable Privacy Portable privacy screens like the Veasyble, drone-evading Stealth Wear privacy hoodies and the radio signal-blocking Jammer Coat provide respite from prying eyes, cameras, and digital tracking.

Go Off-Grid While On-The-Grid Stealth pouches and sleeves like Blokket and OFFPocket instantly shield smart devices from cellular, Wi-Fi, and gps signals for those who do not wish to be contacted or tracked; while signalblocking wallpaper creates entire digitally-secluded spaces to “go offline.”

Antisocial Media In an “always on” world of digital oversharing, a new breed of apps like Confide, Whisper and Secret allow people to indulge in anonymous, temporal sharing; while Cloakroom lets groups virtually “coat check” their phones for uninterrupted time together.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


SUPPORTING DATA The number of people living alone is skyrocketing, increasing 80% between 1995 and 2011. – The Guardian

Single Americans make up more than half of the adult population for the first time since the government began compiling such statistics in 1976. – Bloomberg

The percentage of Millennials marrying by age 40 will fall lower than for any previous generation of Americans. - The Urban Institute

Bulklash Brands rethink products, packaging and portion sizing as global demographics shift in favor of singles. Bulk buying bears bargains—for growing families, anyway. But singles are on the rise, and with more people putting off marriage, choosing not to have kids, divorcing at higher rates and living longer, the number of people living alone will likely continue to snowball for the foreseeable future.

So does this mean the death of economy-sized packaging? Not necessarily. But this growing segment’s preference for smaller serving sizes and easier storage of products that we’re used to seeing in bulk and family-sized quantities means new opportunities for brands to innovate and grab market share.

The number of people living alone will likely continue to snowball for the foreseeable future.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014



“Spreadable Strips.” No more cumbersome jars and cans cluttering your pantry. From condiments to cooking sauces, spreadable strips help you maximize kitchen space while making meal prep easy and fun. Just pull, peel and spread! Store a huge variety in a small space. “Fresh-n-Clean” gloves help you create spotless, germ-free surfaces with a single hand gesture. The Fresh-n-Clean features an “under glove” embedded with UV electroluminescent pads, which are layered under a perforated microfiber hand sheath. The removable microfiber cover attracts dust and debris, while the under glove uses UV light to disinfect as you go— no cleaning fluids required. Never spend money on cleaners again!


More Convenient Portions

Single-Serve Grocery and Meal Prep

Flash-Frozen Gourmet

Even “regular” sized packages of food, beverage and household goods can be too big and too much for the solo consumer, particularly for perishable and occasionaluse items. Products like Stack Wine give single and casual drinkers a way to enjoy wine without the burden of having to finish off the entire bottle.

Consumers can now cook for one or two without having to purchase wasteful quantities of food and ingredients. Services like Plated and Blue Apron deliver recipe kits with fresh meal components pre-measured and appropriately portioned.

Could flash-freezing solve for food waste among singles? The inventory at grocery stores Picard and Babeth’s Feast is made up entirely of frozen premium foods—gourmet dinners, organic vegetables, and chef collaborations— all ready to cook and packed with the nutrients and flavor of fresh ingredients.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


SUPPORTING DATA 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. That number is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. – United Nations

On December 6, 2013, Shanghai reached the highest level on the air pollution scale, leading to a 30% increase in patients visiting respiratory departments. – Public Radio International 20% of urban dwellers have a 40% higher risk of developing mood and anxiety disorders. – LSE Cities

Urban Defense

The paradigm of “health and wellness” is shifting as cities grow into megacities with new environmental challenges. Want to visit the Big City? If you wait long enough, it may come to you. 25 years ago, there were just ten megacities with a population of ten million or more on the planet. By 2030, connections between megacities will create over 40 mega-corridors, spanning national and state boundaries.

Will this transition be seamless? The consensus is, almost certainly not. As more people flock to densely populated areas, there will be a growing demand for smart design solutions that help citizens manage their health and wellness, giving them the tools they need to thrive in this physically and environmentally stressful world.

As more people flock to densely populated areas, there will be a growing demand for smart design solutions

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014



With the “Stroll-free” phone case you no longer need to risk bumping into tourists or getting hit by a cab while dealing with more important things like checking emails or FaceTiming with your mom. The urban defense phone case’s front-facing camera and sensors constantly monitor your surroundings, and broadcast the view on a peripheral second screen. Sensors also trigger lights and haptic alerts to warn you of impending collisions, much like your car’s rear-view camera. “925 NanoPockets.” Can’t get that city street grime off your hands? Afraid of catching the latest flu virus on the subway? Just slide your hands into a pair of 925s! Designed to fit into any size pocket, 925 NanoPockets are embedded with a powerful, silver-based antimicrobial nanotextile that sanitizes your hands on contact. Stay clean and healthy without breaking your stride!


Personal Care & Beauty Products

Fashion Meets Function

Products in the personal care and beauty space such as City Skin by Simple are being formulated specifically to protect against pollution, free radicals and other effects of the urban environment.

A new take on urban pollution masks, the Scough provides stylish warmth and air purification to its wearer.

Quality Check A little reassurance can go a long way when you don’t know where your food comes from, or how urban effluents affects your living space. Scanning technology like SCiO and TellSpec provide an unprecedented ability to verify the quality and composition of food, air, and plants in the palm of your hand.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


SUPPORTING DATA On Facebook, photos attract 53% more “likes” than text-only posts and links. – Inc

29% of both Millennials and older generations ranked experiences including travel, restaurants, and hobbies higher than a meaningful job, dream home or high-end possessions. – Zipcar

82% of Americans take pictures on their cell phones. – Pew Research Center

Life Framing Photos become more important than reality as the arms race for social capital and self-branding heats up. What’s the difference between a consumer and a user? These days, the user is the cool one: recent surveys confirm that nearly a third of American adults value experiences over luxury goods.

People strive to cultivate memorable moments to impress their network.

Meanwhile on Instagram, the competition for “experience status” rages on as people strive to cultivate memorable moments to impress their network. Where do products and brands fit in this de-materialized world? Right at the center. There is a huge and growing demand for ever more sophisticated tools to help people better “frame” their daily lives and create the perfect visual artifact.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014



“ChefCam” is for the home chef. It’s a system of cookware, tools and accessories equipped with waterproof, shockproof and heatproof cameras that allow the home cooking enthusiast to record and share their prowess with unprecedented point of view opportunities.


Camera Trumps Commodity

Pics for Product

Consumers’ desire to portray the best image of an experience has changed the way products and services are delivered. In the culinary world, blogs like the Ulterior Epicure have prompted chefs to focus on the plating and visual aesthetic of their dishes to help diners take more compelling photographs of their food.

Brands are also exploring interesting marketing ideas that capitalize on this need to life-frame. NYC yogurt shop 16 Handles encourages people to send snapworthy photos of themselves enjoying their frozen yogurt to the company’s Snapchat account in exchange for coupons and freebies.

Fake Instagram Content Service We see black hat sites and tools creating “fake” social media content and followers popping-up. The tongue-in-cheek site Instasham provides photos of vacation scenery, wild parties and other memorable experiences that users can capture and pass along as their own; while and Gramliker sell followers to promote the illusion of popularity and influence on their customers’ social feeds.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


Gender Untethered SUPPORTING DATA Facebook has 56 different gender categories to choose from. – Slate

33% of packaging professionals expect to see an increase in genderneutral packaging. – Labels & Labeling

Gender Fluid: the gender identity of those not confined by restrictive boundaries of stereotypical expectations, where individuals may feel more female on some days, more male on others or neither. – Genderdiversity

How gender identity is being bent, blurred, reversed and mashed-up—and what it means for brands. As gender roles become less defined, the lives of marketers have become more complicated. In many categories, businesses can no longer rely upon traditional notions of the needs of women vs. men; it’s now understood that products marketed explicitly by gender can put up to half of potential sales at risk.

How can brands get their bearings in such a fluid landscape? Although it presents many challenges, this change in consumer attitudes presents businesses with new opportunities to expand categorization and tap into deeper, more attitudinal or personality-based constructs of identity and belonging, less gendered and more human.

Products marketed explicitly by gender can put up to half of potential sales at risk.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014



“S(h)e Doll” a gender neutral toy that lets kids experiment with identity via a selection of clothing, hair and accessories without any gender bias.


Gender-Neutral Shopping

“Female” Products & Services Target Men

Gender-Flipping Roles in the Media

Retailers are taking notice of consumers’ changing views on gender. In Stockholm, Toys “R” Us made a decision to eliminate gender-based coding in its aisles, adverts and house brands—placing baby strollers aside blaster guns and challenging shoppers’ assumptions of products colored pink or blue.

Offerings usually positioned towards women are now taking on a masculine spin to attract new consumers. We now see items like Brogurt (yogurt designed for the nutritional needs of men); Broga (yoga taught from a man’s pov); and mani-pedi salons like Hammer & Nails, which targets guys through “man cave”-like retail spaces adorned with large leather recliners, whiskey and premium sports broadcasts.

In the world of entertainment, brands are challenging conventions of gender in story and myth. Marvel Comics announced that Thor, the Norse god of thunder, will be reinvented as a woman; and the shape-shifting god Loki will become gender-fluid. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures is contemplating rebooting the Ghostbusters franchise with a female cast of characters.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


SUPPORTING DATA Sneakers resold by collectors topped $1 billion in the last 12 months. – Campless

My Subscription Addiction has seen the number of subscription boxes grow since 2012. At that time, fewer than 30 companies were offering boxes, now there are more than 500 from the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia. – Phoenix Business Journal

Instead of joining the pack, would-be small business owners should look for a niche and fill it. – USA Today

Over $144 million has been commited to Fundable, a crowdfunding platform for small businesses. – Fundable

The New Main Street When traditional services adapt and hyper-specialize toward high-affinity products and other cultural phenomena. What happens when a niche becomes a new business platform? By anticipating demand and adapting business models to promising trends and products previously considered too specialized to cater to, traditional services in danger of becoming outdated have developed new, hyper-specialized products.

The result is a “long tail” of revenue that propels their businesses and brands forward. From luxury to urban footwear, the potential of these new markets has yet to be fully explored.

Services in danger of becoming outdated have developed new, hyper-specialized products.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014



“McShapey’s.” The corner service bureau gets a modern makeover. McShapey’s prints 3D parts for your entire automotive, appliance and hardware repair needs. Just find your part file online or from the McShapey’s ever-growing parts library, upload it and come pick up your fresh parts today!


Premium Services for Sneakers

Services Adapted for Cyclists

Collectible sneakers are a cultural phenomenon that has sparked businesses like Jason Markk’s sneaker dry cleaning service and Sneaker Pawn, a pawn shop for high-end sneakers.

The number of bicyclists are reaching a critical mass in urban communities around the world, prompting cafes like The Velokafi to create bike-up bars, and bike valets in cities like San Francisco and Chicago.

Reinventing Storage Garde Robe offers wardrobe storage, care, delivery, and clothing selection, expanding the idea of public storage to the realm of ever-changing fashion closets and seasonal outfit curation.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


SUPPORTING DATA New immersive experiences at Universal Studios like Diagon Alley and the Harry Potter ride, which engage all five senses, have increased the park’s attendance by 50% to 15 Million annual visitors, increasing revenue by 40%. – Indiana Gazette

By 2017, more than 2.5 Billion augmented reality apps will be downloaded annually, generating more than $1.5 billion in revenue. – Inc

Customers are ready to pay 10-15% more for a product in a scented store compared to a non-scented one.


– Seemoreinteractive

Everyday undertakings re-imagined as experiences that break the rules of participation, place and tangibility. Welcome to the hyper-experience revolution, where the next generation of immersive platforms launch users into entertainment, education and media activities that take engagement further than ever before. Leveraging new technologies as well as existing ones, this approach amplifies all five senses, circumnavigates physical and spatial limitations

of interaction and challenges our assumptions of tangibility and participation to create a new kind of fully pervasive experience. How can brands begin their participation in this new paradigm? By harnessing creativity and technology to draw users into new worlds, sensorial environments and extra-dimensional “experience playgrounds” bounded only by our own imaginations.

Take engagement further than ever before.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014



“Sensory Immersion Theater” is a living room-sized space with tightly integrated sensory controls. A dedicated cpu synchronizes a cinematic audio-video system with environmental effects like temperature, humidity, motion and ambient lighting and sound to expand the sensorial limits of modern entertainment. A food service area completes the experience with themed snacks and drinks. This space creates a powerfully immersive entertainment toolkit that can be repurposed for dining and education as well.


Second-Screening Cinema

Sensory Laddering

Phones in movie theaters have become part of the cinema experience, not annoying distractions, as digital audio watermarking and area-specific cell broadcast technologies provide content and interactions for viewers. Screenwriters for the Dutch film App delivered synchronized content that was unfolded during the movie to create deeper levels of engagement and storytelling.

Smart brands are creating elevated sensory experiences without clunky hardware or expensive technology. Products like the AROMAFORK™ exploit our ability to recognize trillions of scents (as opposed to five types of tastes), emitting aroma combinations that enhance food flavors in leaps and bounds.

Transcending Physical Boundaries New technologies are bridging the gap between form, presence and digital media. The InFORM surface, for example, is a shape rendering display that mediates physical interactions in real-time from remote locations— adding new levels of tangibility to the experience.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


SUPPORTING DATA Airbnb has recently been valued at $10 billion, growing from 120,000 listings in 2012 to over 800,000 today. – Airbnb

It is projected that car-sharing revenues in North America alone will hit $3.3 billion by 2016. Peer-to-peer renting, the process of an individual renting an owned good, service, or property to another individual will become a $26 billion sector. – Fast Company

Share BNB

Trust and reputation become the new social capital as people push the limits of what they are willing to lend, borrow and monetize on sharing platforms. Depending on the kindness (and integrity) of strangers has gone from being a dubious proposition of last resort, into a revolutionary business model that’s taking the world by storm. The sharing economy—now valued at $26 billion globally—is stretching the conventions of intimacy, and collapsing the norms of what can and should be rented out.

Those who once leased a limited amount of specific objects can now borrow just about anything: food, clothing, shelter, even family. In a system emphatically outside of the traditional new product cycle, how can brands participate? From creating specialized sharing platforms to reputation management and entirely new online services, opportunities are expanding as rapidly as the playing field itself.

The sharing economy is stretching the conventions of intimacy, and collapsing the norms of what can and should be rented out.

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“LifeCred” is the reputation and credibility rewards program that represents one’s level of “reputation status.” You gain LifeCred units by being a good, trusted participant on various sharing networks (Airbnb, Uber, eBay, etc.). More LifeCred gains you access to better discounts on goods and services, as well as access to exclusive events.


Monetizing Idle Resources

Pushing the Limits

Encouraging Responsible Sharing

Any unused possession now has the opportunity to be considered an asset, as apps connect those who have with those who need. FlightCar gives drivers free airport parking in exchange for offering their vehicles as discount-priced rentals to visitors.

The concept of sharing isn’t only limited to objects, and people are finding new things to be shared. Services like Airpnp let people rent their toilet to strangers when other options are scarce, while Find a Grandparent connects interested seniors with families looking for surrogate grandparents.

Cohort-based models are bringing transparency and trust to sharing. jFloat, an auto insurance initiative in the UK, allows groups of people to pool together for a single policy and share the risks & rewards of insurance coverage with like-minded individuals; while Lyft Line and Uber Pool let multiple passengers split the cost of a ride along the same route.

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SUPPORTING DATA Projections for commercial drones estimate creating $13.6 billion in economic benefit and 70,000 new jobs. – Voice of America

Agricultural drones equipped with cameras, advanced sensors and imaging capabilities for less than $1,000 are giving farmers new ways to increase yields and reduce crop damage. – MIT Technology Review

Game of Drones

The Air Force has 65,00070,000 people working to process all of the data and footage it’s currently collecting from drones. – Forbes

How commercial drone technology is elevating our expectations of instant gratification, convenience and automation. Need something delivered fast? How about a quick aerial shot of your rock climbing prowess? Do you know of a remote community in need of internet access? The solution to all of these questions will soon be, “just drone it.”

The solution to all of these questions will soon be, “just drone it.”

In September 2015, when the faa finalizes commercial drone regulations, nearly 7500 unmanned aerial vehicles will fill the skies within five years. As the word “drone” makes its way from being a noun to a verb, this exciting new platform has already sparked the imaginations of solo entrepreneurs and major companies all over the world, who are keeping themselves busy prepping the next generation of drone applications for launch.

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The “NannyDrone” takes helicopter parenting to the next level. Never miss a moment of your child’s life with this all-seeing companion drone. Equipped with long-range optics and heat-sensing cameras, the NannyDrone will visually monitor one’s child, while providing valuable realtime feedback (i.e., body temperature) for multiple levels of safety and security.


Photography & Surveillance With the ability to scale to incredible heights and reach out-of-the-way locations, drones have significant potential in the arts, particularly photography, which can include everything from sweeping aerial shots to the delivery of wedding rings.

National Geographic recently held its first drone photography contest, receiving submissions that could never have been achieved through traditional techniques.

Hospitality & Leisure

Delivery & Convenience

Parties and social gatherings can be livened up with the services of specialized drones in the role of traditional services. For example, the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas has poolside bottle service via drones to add a level of excitement for guests.

Drones have already begun delivering some of our most personal and essential items in the form of medicine. By operating at relatively low heights, the drone service QuiQui promises legal pharmacy delivery in the San Francisco area.

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Automation Nation SUPPORTING DATA There is one vending machine for every 23 people in Japan and one for every 55 in the UK.

Vending machines evolve beyond purchase and product, delivering sophisticated automated experiences that entice and delight at just a fraction of the usual investment.

– The Guardian

Micro Markets, free-standing, self-serve and cashless convenience stores, are the fastest growing segment of the vending industry today, experiencing 78% more usage than vending machines. – Healthy Vending

Annual sales for the vending machine industry are estimated between $19 and $29 billion. – Houston Chronicle

A new wave of automation is creating small islands of cool in malls and gas stations across America. Yes, this is a real thing. Recent advancements in intelligent interfaces, cashless payment, and inventory storage and preservation have elevated vending well beyond the basic dispensing of merchandise.

Where to go from here? Positioned to grow by two million units by 2016, the next generation of vending machines level the retail playing field and offer branded experiences on-par with retail and pop-up environments, while minimizing the traditional overhead of real estate, labor and inventory.

The next generation of vending machines level the retail playing field.

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“Contour Sheets Machine.” A vending machine that scans your face, analyzes your features and skin tone, then creates a week’s supply of laser cut facial makeup sheets containing your personalized contour mask pattern. Simply apply the mask, peel off and blend to achieve a professional quality “contouring” application.


Premium Products Efficiently Delivered The new generation of vending creates a new way to sell upscale goods without the overhead. The Essie Color Boutique brings 48 shades of nail polish to airports and malls, the Farmer’s Fridge dispenses organic salads and snacks, and other machines offer goods such as wine, caviar, truffles and escargot with mother-of-pearl silverware.

New Ways to Interact

Pop-Up Manufacturing

Basic “insert money, push button” experiences are a thing of the past as smart vending creates opportunities for rich engagement that’s closer to—or even better than—retail stores. MedCentre machines in Canada are a full pharmacyin-a-box with 24-hour live access to pharmacists via video chat, while Nike’s vending machines let customers cash in FuelBand points for athletic gear.

Vending machines now deliver made-to-order products instantly, without traditional facilities and manpower. Let’s Pizza has all the fresh dough, topping ingredients and baking equipment to serve up pizza from scratch; and MooBella’s Ice Creamery Machine can produce nearly a hundred ready-made variations of cool treats in just 40 seconds.

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SUPPORTING DATA More than half of Food e-Vangelists (54%) want ingredient information about a product (including source, processing, production techniques, farm or supplier name, etc.) on product labels.– Ketchum

800 million people worldwide practice urban agriculture. – Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

A 3,400% increase in sales in 24 years makes organic the fastest-growing consumer food and lifestyle trend in modern history. – Academics Review

Agri-Culture A new culture of transparency and shared knowledge in farming and food production is sparking innovation on both sides of the plate. You’ve heard about farm to table—how about farm to yoga? Or rooftop to plate? Or farm to feet? We could go on, but you get the idea.

to grow it themselves—yet less than a third of them feel that there is enough transparency from food producers.

Educated, enabled and inspired by technology and changing cultural attitudes, consumers worldwide are becoming passionately interested in their food— everything from who grows it, to figuring out how

Is this fertile grounds for innovation? We sure think so. As the foodie, farm-to-fork, slow food movements, etc. gain traction among the mainstream, brands are working to forge transparent systems and groundbreaking product offerings across the spectrum of agronomy, food supply and processing.

Consumers worldwide are becoming passionately interested in their food.

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The “Farmer’s Market Fridge” is dedicated to those who have a passion for whole and natural foods. The doublesided fridge has specialized drawers, shelves, hangers and temperature/ humidity controls to accommodate and preserve the freshness of almost any kind of produce. It even has a special flash-freezer drawer, so nothing ever goes to waste!


Bringing Food & Agriculture Closer to Cities

Reviving Extinct Grains and Species

From animal slaughter to honey harvesting, we’re not only becoming more educated about the processes behind food, we’re gaining access as well. The Back to the Roots AquaFarm is a self-cleaning fish tank kit that grows food in a closed cycle; while mobile slaughter units bring once rural services to urban areas.

Shopping lists and dining menus are about to be radically overhauled, as the revivial of extinct plants and animals has become a reality. Resources like The Long Now Foundation connect genetic conservation scientists, food archaeologists and institutions to bring back departed species, from ancient grains and produce to passenger pigeons and wooly mammoths.

Going Beyond the Plate The next stage of farm-to-plate has arrived: modern farming’s transparent sourcing, processing and delivery practices are branching out into other products and services in our lives. Farm to Feet, for example, works with sheep ranchers and local wool artisans to produce 100% domestic socks and hosiery, a product that consumers can be proud to purchase.

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SUPPORTING DATA By 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2% of the total workforce. – International Data Corporation

Small coffee shops, such as Coffee Bar, have seen sales increase 15-20% by offering express tables with 30-minute time limits, reserved for non-computer users, when faced with the increased use of Wi-Fi at the shop. – San Francisco Chronicle

About one fifth of the U.S. workforce is working from hotels—a third place where business gets done.


– Steelcase

The line between the personal and the public loses its clarity as the experiences and amenities of the home bleed into public spaces. It’s official: “going out” is the new “staying in.” Don’t believe us? Just ask your loved ones, if you can catch up with them—a typical on-thego American family now spends about half an hour together, daily.

When the notion of “home” becomes a mindset rather than a location, how can brands fill the gap?

When the notion of “home” becomes a mindset rather than a location, how can brands fill the gap? By delivering the experience of “home” to you, wherever in the world you may be. To accommodate today’s always-on-the-go culture, businesses are building even more innovative services and spaces to provide the comfort and amenities of home in workplaces, retail locations, public places and beyond.

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The “PersonalBox” is a hospitality service that allows you to define all of the products, clothes, food and other items that make your travel accomodations feel like home. Whenever you travel, your Box is there to greet you and bring a consistent familiarity to your surroundings, no matter where you are!


Home-Cooked Meals Away from Home The intimacy of a home-cooked meal with family members, once seen as irreplaceable, is now available to anyone with access to a smartphone. Dinner-party sharing apps like Feastly and EatWith allow hosts to offer a seat at their own dining room tables to other locals eager to eat and interact.

Once Cold Destinations Now Comfy

Taking the “Fast” Out Of Fast Food Environments

The car-buying experience has been modernized with Intersect by Lexus, a showroom with a relaxing, luxurious space with cultural exhibitions, a café and libraries where shoppers can comfortably experience Lexus.

Even the fast food industry is experimenting with creating a more home-like atmosphere. For example: KFC in China now offers a store that features areas designed to feel like various parts of the home, giving patrons the opportunity to eat in relaxing, familiar environments.

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SUPPORTING DATA 63% of consumers identified reusable and repurposeable as an important quality for food packaging. – LOHAS

64% of consumers try a product because the packaging caught their eye. – MS Packaging

The amount of YouTube clips with “unboxing” (the act of unpacking a new product, capturing the process on video and uploading to the internet.) in the headline has increased by 871% since 2010. – CNN

Beyond the Box Packaging and structure designs that complement—even supersede—the product experience. Thinking about trying something new with your packaging? Consider this: nearly two-thirds of consumers would purchase an unfamiliar product based solely on the appeal of its package design.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers would purchase an unfamiliar product based solely on the appeal of its package design.

As competitors strive for differentiation, how can a brand stand out on the shelf? Clearly, exceptional graphic design is the starting point. But to take it to the next level, packaging that gives consumers a new kind of product “experience” creates the kind of meaningful moments that have real impact, in the store and all the way through usage. Enhanced interactions, fresh aesthetics and innovative functionalities are a few of the tools creative companies deploy to create packaging that delights consumers as it satisfies their needs.

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Replace the six-pack with the “Hexapack!” This packaging concept has six lightweight plastic cups molded together with a handle. Packaged with a variety of favorite beers or sodas, it gets split up and shared out by thirsty revelers. Start an instant party!


Secondary Purpose Don’t discard that package: from big-screen TV packing materials that transform into TV stands, to Coca-Cola bottles in Asia that become functional desktop accessories and toys, product packaging is finding new opportunities for engagement well beyond its primary purpose.

Zero-Waste Materials

Multifunctional Design

New materials and technologies are bringing us closer to packaging that keeps its contents fresh and protected, with minimal waste and use of substances such as pet plastic. Wikifoods, for example, has created systems of edible and fully biodegradable food packaging inspired by the skins and peels of fruits and vegetables.

Functionality built into packaging is helping consumers to store, carry, dispose and even prepare products for consumption. Structural systems like Gogol-Mogol protect eggs in lined paperboard that, when activated, will hard boil the egg in two minutes without heat or power.

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SUPPORTING DATA U.S. Millennials expect their values to be reflected in the brands they purchase. – Boston Consulting Group

The average college graduate now enters the job market owing about $30,000—just under the $34,500 average salary that someone with an undergraduate degree makes right out of college. – Bloomberg Businessweek

In developed markets most consumers are not seeing a pick-up in the economy and they are increasingly value- conscious. – WARC


[Froo –ZHwa]

Consumers are reframing frugal living as a smart, stylish and sensible alternative to mindless consumption. Cheaper. Smarter. A little bit harder. In a complicated world with an uncertain economic future, the simplicity and challenges offered by limiting one’s purchasing and lifestyle options has a new appeal.

A value-conscious mindset has taken over as more and more champion frugality over excessive consumption.

It’s been a long road to recovery from the global economic recession, with over half of American consumers still feeling its sting. A value-conscious mindset has taken over as more and more champion frugality over excessive consumption— seeking to do more with less in novel and clever ways. How can brands turn this restraint to their advantage? Like the frugal-minded consumers they are catering to, agile new businesses are exploring notions of creative re-use and new models of commerce to cater to this growing demographic.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014




The “PersonalRecycler” is a desktop appliance that turns plastic scraps into usable household objects. Just put your used plastic water bottles, soda bottles, cups and broken plastic scraps into the hopper, and minutes later get plastic knives, spoons and forks you can use and reuse to save money, save waste and save the planet!


Rent Instead of Own

Upgrade What You’ve Got

Pley is a monthly subscription service that allows consumers to queue up and rent different LEGO model sets, avoiding the expense and waste of having to purchase individual sets and LEGO pieces.

Why buy a new bike and discard the old one when you can upgrade it instead? Flykly and Copenhagen Wheel offer electric hubs that fit on just about any bicycle, converting it instantly into an eBike.

Gamify Frugality Video games like Playmoolah and Green$treets teach kids about money management and financial responsibility in an engaging and fun setting; while smartphone and web apps like and challenge users to make positive financial choices.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


SUPPORTING DATA 59% of Americans feel technology advancements will lead to a future in which people’s lives are mostly better. 26% of Americans say they would get a brain implant to improve their memory or mental capacity. – Pew Research Center

The brain training game Lumosity has 60 million users and growing. – The Washington Post

1.3 million people have participated in Tough Mudder, the endurance event testing mental and physical strength through a military-style obstacle course since 2010. – Tough Mudder

Augmentality Humans evolve into super-humans by upgrading, enhancing and optimizing their minds and bodies. Attention users: the quest for a higher quality of life has been upgraded. With twice the number of tech optimists as there are pessimists, the integration of technology and biology is becoming increasingly mainstream as people attempt to augment, “smartify” and optimize themselves closer to perfection.

The integration of technology and biology is becoming increasingly mainstream.

In an age of sweeping technological advances, how can brands keep up, much less figure out which tech trends will rise to the top? From medical necessity to fashion choice, the demand for embedded high-tech products that enhance people’s lives is growing at breakneck speed, creating totally new product types, markets and business models.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014



The “LifeSense” patch collects data on the user’s blood and turns it into actionable information for improving nutrition, performance and overall health. Microsensors and low-power storage devices enable this adhesive patch to work for up to a week— allowing the wearer to use their smartphone to monitor their blood composition and act accordingly.


Functional Body Mods

Brain Hacking

Smart Supplements

Man or machine? From smart skins to high-tech implants, “biohacks” combine physiology and functionality, enabling people to achieve higher plateaus of physical performance, sensory feedback and superpower-like capabilities. Vivalink’s digital tattoos, for example, enable wearers to instantly unlock their smartphones with a simple tap on the skin.

For some enterprising experimenters, details as small as our neurons can be programmed and manipulated to positive effect. Devices like the Holosync® and Muse allow users to play back recordings of their own brainwaves in a way that allows one to achieve deep meditative states.

Mental supplements are now being “stacked,” combining a shelf’s worth of neutropic benefits into a single pill. New services like Nootrobox allow people to subscribe to a curated selection of these cognitive enhancers, which are then delivered directly to their homes.

On the Future © Sterling Brands 2014


Supporting Data

Link-ography Conspicious Isolation

Life Framing


Automation Nation

Beyond the Box

San Diego Supercomputer Center


Indiana Gazette

The Guardian





Healthy Vending

MS Packaging

Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center


Houston Chronicle



Gender Untetherd

Share BNB



The Guardian




Boston Consulting Group


Labels & Labeling

Fast Company

Urban League


Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Urban Defense

The New Main Street

United Nations


Game of Drones

Academics Review

Voice of America



MIT Technology Review Forbes

Bloomberg Businessweek

Pew Research Center International Data Corporation

The Washington Post Tough Mudder

Public Radio International

Phoenix Business Journal

LSE Cities

USA Today

San Francisco Chronicle



On the Future Š Sterling Brands 2014


About Sterling Established in 1992, Sterling Brands is a leading brand consultancy headquartered in New York City, with offices in Chicago, Cincinnati, London, Los Angeles and San Francisco. At Sterling, we focus on three distinct, but related core services around brand development: brand strategy, brand innovation and brand design. Our expertise across all of these disciplines gives us a unique and holistic view of brands that enables us to be a stronger and more valuable partner to our clients. We are part of the Omnicom Group of companies. For more information, please visit

Profile for The Dieline

On The Future: A Forecast of Near-Future Trends  

Imagine a world where urbanization and a desire for healthy living result in next-­‐level products like pockets embedded with a silver-­‐bas...

On The Future: A Forecast of Near-Future Trends  

Imagine a world where urbanization and a desire for healthy living result in next-­‐level products like pockets embedded with a silver-­‐bas...