Category Archives: Marketing

Next Gen Hydroponics and Brand Mascot Hotels

Hey there! We are back! This time, Nora Young talks about "aeroponics": a sort of next gen hydroponics where the plant roots are just dangling out in the air, nourished by nutrient-rich misters (via Modern Farmer). You can even "plant" them vertically. Whole new potential for a plant wall! Nora also mentions the fine folks at Normative Design in Toronto, and their smart and engaging series on Design + AI. Cathi Bond talks about this PSFK article exploring how brands are starting to use cartoon characters and mascots in real world physical experiences, such as hotels and cafes; examples include a Toy Story hotel, and a Hello Kitty cafe. The aesthetic is colourful, childlike and plastic-y. What's up with that? We have some theories!   [iframe style="border:none" src="//" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

“Nice” Online Communities and Data-Driven Shopping

In this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about the Adobe Experience Manager, which uses aggregated data to give retailers the inside track on what a customer might be interested in. Read more at PSFK. Nora Young talks about Imzy, a new online community (currently in private beta) that has strategies to try to make sure it is a "nice" place (via Ars Technica). Is bad behaviour something that can be solved by strategies and design, or are some people always going to be bad actors? [iframe style="border:none" src="" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Micro-Influencers and Focus at School

In this podcast, Nora Young talks about this study suggesting that the more popular an "influencer" is on Instagram, the less likely her or his posts are to generate engagement such as likes or comments. It points to the potential, instead, for "micro-influencers" (via Digiday) Cathi Bond talks about the use of ADHD medication to increase focus for a generation having trouble focusing at school, thanks to the constant task-switching of digital media. She points to these tips for improved study habits. Nora says she really notices her focus and attention slipping. Do you? Leave a comment! Thanks to everyone who has rated us. If you like the podcast, please consider doing so! [iframe style="border:none" src="" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Ditching Power Cords and Beyond Demographics

On today's podcast, Cathi Bond talks about WallJax wireless electronics chargers. There are two versions, the Float and the EZ, that free you from the tyranny of power cables (via Gizmag) She also talks about FurniQi, furniture with embedded chargers (via Gizmag). How about you? Have you seen cool wireless charger solutions? Let us know in the comments. Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions the recent trend report at Trendwatching. It talks about life beyond demographics, where people increasingly create their own narratives and can be marketed to as individuals. The down side? All that data that's known about us. [iframe style="border:none" src="" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

The Future of Shopping: Online AND In Person

As holiday season approaches, we've got a shopping special! Nora Young points to this article in Technology Review by Avi Goldfarb about the death of the "death of distance" - why local still matters in the ecommerce era. Nora explores this story in an interview with Avi over at Spark. Cathi Bond looks at shopping habits of Generation Z, in an era of social shopping (via Marketing Week). She mentions Wanelo as a cool example of the trend in action. Nora wonders if more of us aren't going to the online/offline social shopping model, and if Gen Z are just early adopters. What do you think? How are your shopping habits changing?

The Sniffer, August 6, 2013: Trends in Memory, Economy, and Marketing

Happy Summer! This time around, Cathi Bond talks about an intriguing opinion piece by Shawn Parr, arguing that someone should bring Kickstarter-style narrative and bootstrapping to the US debt problem (via PSFK) Nora Young mentions this Technology Review profile of neuroscientist Daniela Schiller, about the nature of memory, and how alternatives to drugs may be used to change the way we experience our memories. Does this square with how you think about your own memories? Let us know! In lighter news, Cathi points to chef Robert Ruiz's use of edible QR codes on his sushi (via PSFK). Gimmick? Smart? The Sniffer is off until after Labour Day. Have a great rest of the summer, and see you for season - ack! - NINE in the fall! Nora and Cathi

The Sniffer, June 21st, 2013: Trends in Retail and Books

This time around, Cathi Bond looks at the rise of high-end automated kiosks for selling a wide range of products (meat, for instance!). The idea is to make sales, drive traffic to the fewer remaining bricks and mortar stores. Logical, but another sign of the automation of people's jobs. Nora Young looks at Qantas Airlines plans to launch a line of books. The length of the book varies by how long your flight is (via Springwise). Death of literature or simply a reaction to our time-crunched times? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

The Sniffer, Dec 20th, 2012: Trends in Shopping and Colour

This time, trendwatchers, a look at trends in shopping. Cathi Bond and Nora Young riff on some of PSFK's fascinating retail trends. Get a look at their whole report here. Nora refers to Daniel Pink's new book along the way, which will be featured in an upcoming episode of her show Spark. What do you think of the trend towards 'social commerce' and towards consumers being rewarded for exposing their social media contacts to recommendations and ads? Nora and Cathi also talk about the news that Pantone's colour for 2013 is Emerald. What does it mean? Anything? From both of us, have a wonderful holiday, and thanks so much for listening to The Sniffer. More in 2013. Woo hoo! And now, for the holidays, please enjoy...

The Sniffer, Dec 10, 2012: Trends in Customization and…Cocoons

This time, trendspotters, Cathi Bond talks about one of the more surprising trends she's seen: cocoons. See them here, here, and here. (Via Gizmag). Any theories as to why cocoons, why now? Is it the search for security in difficult times, or something else? Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about CustomMade, a service that brings craftspeople and buyers together in a marketplace for customized manufacture (via Core77)Nora also tells the story of Bemz, a site that makes new covers of just about all the chairs and sofas IKEA has made. With all this disintermediated customization going on, are major retailers going to need to be a lot more flexible? UPDATE: Bemz apparently delivers internationally, not just in North America.

The Sniffer, Oct 10th, 2012: Trends in Customization and Personal Devices

In today's podcast for trendwatchers, Nora Young talks about Indochino, a service that provides custom-made suits by getting the customer to do their own measurements. Cathi Bond and Nora think it furthers the trend toward mass customization, and using the internet to create personalized experiences for lower prices. It continues a trend they've talked about before, in products such as Styku. Meanwhile, Cathi Bond discusses this PSFK interview with Digital Art Director Dhani Sutanto, who has created the Oyster Ring - wearable tech that he can use to access the London Tube. Cathi and Nora discuss whether the app-loaded cell phone has taken the wind out of the sails of wearable tech, or if there will be new life in good looking wearable gear. UPDATE: Bit of a problem with the podcast for a day. Should be fine now. Thanks Encaffeinated ONE