Issue No.01 — Wellbeing

01 of 04
January 2021

Welcome to our inaugural spotlight: in a world reshaped by covid-19, brands address our longing for connection and solace

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INSIGHT

Awareness of mental wellbeing was increasing before COVID-19. However, since the pandemic began, unparalleled restrictions on socialising and mobility have intensified the focus on mental health alongside our physical wellness.

Public Health England and The American Psychological Association have both noted a significant uptick in psychological distress due to COVID-19. In the US, 78% of adults reported the pandemic as a major source of stress in their lives.

As the mental health implications of the virus become more pronounced, how are brands and businesses addressing our desire for connection and respite, both within and outside our homes?

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Jameela Jamil supporting Child Mind Institute's #WeThriveInside - courtesy of @jameelajamil

STRATEGY

During lockdown, virtual travel experiences boomed as people sought to escape their routine. Fantasy digital renderings such as Paul Milinski’s Dreamscapes, also provided refuge and a sense of calm.

However, after a year of isolation and confinement, the appetite for ‘real’ travel is growing.

Airbnb’s remarkable recovery is evidence of this. CEO Brian Chesky believes that "Travel will be viewed as an antidote to isolation and disconnection."

In our post-pandemic world, brands will position travel as a therapeutic tool beyond pure escapism. As a means to reconnect with loved ones, the natural world or even a higher purpose in order to lift our mental spirits.

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Outdoor Afro, inspiring Black connections and leadership in nature - courtesy of @outdoorafro

DESIGN

With millions of people forced to work and stay at home during lockdowns, many of our everyday human interactions have disappeared.

Designed to recapture some of those lost social moments, Electrolux teamed up with the Umeå Institute of Design to create Fika, a conceptual coffee machine that promotes the ritual of sharing a hot drink. Rather than being a solitary experience at home, an app connects colleagues and friends while coffee is being made to re-create an informal occasion to catch up. While this is a well-intentioned idea, it relies on everyone having the same machine, posing a serious barrier to widespread adoption.

However, as many will continue to work flexibly post-pandemic, technology-inspired ‘new normal’ home concepts that easily enable us to take a break and communicate in more natural and importantly frictionless ways, will flourish.

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Fika - courtesy of Electrolux