The Darkside of Beauty with Selita Ebanks

The Darkside of Beauty with Selita Ebanks

New York

FEB
10

Culture Hack Live: Fashion Week Edition

Join us for a conversation with former Victoria’s Secret supermodel Selita Ebanks where she talks about her experiences as an Angel, the lack of diversity in the beauty and fashion industry and her new venture, focused on cleaning up the beauty industry one face at a time.

Featuring: Selita Ebanks
Host: Joseph Anthony
Date: Monday, February 10, 2020
Time: 6pm-8pm EST
Location: Assemblage, Nomad, 114 East 25th Street , New York, NY 10010
Price: FREE

The Darkside of Beauty with Selita Ebanks

New York

FEB
10

Culture Hack Live: Fashion Week Edition

Join us for a conversation with former Victoria’s Secret supermodel Selita Ebanks where she talks about her experiences as an Angel, the lack of diversity in the beauty and fashion industry and her new venture, focused on cleaning up the beauty industry one face at a time.

Featuring: Selita Ebanks
Host: Joseph Anthony
Date: Monday, February 10, 2020
Time: 6pm-8pm EST
Location: Assemblage, Nomad, 114 East 25th Street , New York, NY 10010
Price: FREE


Are the Kids All Right? Gen Z + Mental Health

Hero Health

Health

Are the Kids All Right? Gen Z + Mental Health

A generation defined by their creative spirit, willingness to break rules, and openness to redefining social norms, Gen Z is also the most stressed out generation in decades. Clearly responding to the dangers of their time — in a recent APA survey 75% of 15-17-year-olds said that mass shootings are a significant source of stress — rising suicide rates, climate change, deportation, and sexual harassment are major pressure points for these young consumers.

At a time when healthcare is looking to reconnect with its consumer base, the industry has a chance to embrace this empathy opportunity and authentically rebrand around the idea of mental wellness. Medical providers should look to new modes of communication to connect with this digitally fluid generation, from apps to social media. We are already seeing psychologists turning to Instagram to reach Gen Z with popular handles like @the.holistic.psychologist offering daily advice, inspirational quotes, and instructional videos.

When compared with other generations, Gen Z is the least likely to report good or excellent mental health, and yet they are also the most open about mental wellness topics, giving HCPs the opportunity to start conversations around managing stress and anxiety. In 2017, of the nearly 1 in 5 adults in the US who experienced mental illness, just over 42% received mental health services, numbers that must change as we enter a new decade. Looking for mental wellness solutions from the workplace to social media, look to new apps like Moodnotes and Jour promoting mental wellness through digital journaling.

Building a new social future for healthcare, 80% of consumers 18-24 are likely to share health information through social media, and could help establish a relationship of trust between healthcare professionals and the incoming Gen Z population.

The Shift: Dealing with an unprecedented set of problems, from the climate crisis to school violence and the pressures of social media, Gen Z is hampered by stress and anxiety.

The Takeaway: Removing the stigma around mental health, Gen Z’s “you be you” attitude opens the door for new relationships between medical professionals and young consumers.

Consider: Use digital platforms, from social media to telehealth, to cultivate an open door mentality with a generation in need of guidance and empathy.


2020: The Year of Self - Health

Hero Health

Health

2020: The Year of Self-Health

The wellness industry, worth approximately $4.2 billion in the US this year alone, continues to evolve with a consumer base that has become increasingly interested in self-care. In 2020, we expect to see wellness to merge with preventative medicine to create a new “self-health” movement. From the fast-growing popularity of meditation to a new emphasis on digital wellbeing — according to Google, 1 in 3 Americans took steps to improve their digital wellbeing in 2019 and more than 80% of them said this had a positive impact on their overall sense of wellbeing — wellness will shift toward the medical in the coming year.

Across the wellness industry, from fitness to beauty rituals, new diets and supplements, the shift toward self-health is already underway. This year, the first medical gym opened in London, offering an array of medical and fitness services simultaneously. In beauty and skincare, “I woke up like this” aesthetics have moved beyond the natural to the health-conscious, as ingredients like CBD and honey trend with brands like Cannuka. Plant-based diets, the new sobriety movement, and rising veganism will shape the year ahead, from Beyond Meat partnering with fast food chains to rising environmental pressure on meat consumption.

All told, this consumer shift offers the medical industry an opportunity to connect with consumers around preventative health, joining the conversation of healthier bodies and a healthier planet. More and more health concerns are infiltrating other industries, and exciting collaborations and partnerships could be a compelling result. In the age of the circular economy, no industry is isolated and medical professionals must look to control the conversation.

The Shift: From wellness to self-care to self-love, self-health is the latest shift in the wellness industry, and a prime opportunity for the healthcare space.

The Takeaway: In 2020, expect cross-industry moves toward consumer-driven health awareness, where health will overlap with environmental concerns.

Consider: Restructure reimbursement programs to be more inclusive and rewarding to consumers looking to live healthier lives.


Digital Rx: How Healthcare is Going Digital

Hero Health

Health

Digital Rx: How Healthcare is Going Digital

Digital medicine, from prescription-grade apps to mobile health, social solutions and telemedicine, is revolutionizing the relationship patients have with their doctors. With more and more control in the palm of their hand, digital therapeutics are drastically modernizing the healthcare industry. Social medicine, for example, is already proving successful with hospitals and organizations for chronic or terminal illnesses. Facebook pages for cancer awareness groups have proved critical in building community, while hospitals like Northwestern are destigmatizing illness with playful and empowering Instagram posts. With 3.48 billion people using social media and 2.23 billion active monthly users on Facebook, it’s a powerful communication tool for the medical industry.

Mobile health has also proven to be a powerful digital consumer touch point around health education — last year Apple podcasts passed 50 billion all-time episode downloads and streams — medical information, and services. The number of clinical trials utilizing mHealth through mobile apps more than doubled in the last 3 years, proving how pivotal simple and inexpensive technological solutions are for patients and providers. In the era of information, patients can use mhealth apps to empower themselves to make better decisions about health and wellness, while physicians can guide patients to useful resources.

Now available in all 50 states, the numbers around telehealth continue to grow significantly, with 76% of hospitals fully or partially using telehealth in 2017, and 61% using remote patient monitoring capabilities. Promising 24/7 access, this new mode of connectivity presents an exciting opportunity to redistribute healthcare via video chat, secure email messages, and live service. In addition, remote physical examination is becoming more and more possible as innovation continues around connected home devices. New medical apps like Pear Therapeutics and Akili Interactive round out the array of services consumers can now expect to find beyond a clinician’s office. Remote, digitized interactions may well be the future of basic healthcare, reducing costs and increasing accessibility in the decade to come.

The Shift: Digital innovations and platforms have allowed doctors and patients to discover new modes of connectivity and interaction.

The Takeaway: Convenience continues to drive innovation, and both HCPs and consumers must capitalize on new ways to receive care and reduce costs.

Consider: Meet consumers in remote or online contexts where they feel comfortable and at home, from Facebook to educational podcasts.


The Happy Economy: The Power of Surprise & Delight for Stressed Out Times

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

The Happy Economy: The Power of Surprise & Delight for Stressed Out Times

We have all been there. The joy of a guilty pleasure after a stressful day or week. That sugary rush of a gooey brownie, that perfectly mixed libation, the mindless yet addictive tv show custom-made for binge watching. This need for relaxation and fun is happening at a colossal societal level as we deal with the increasing pressures of modern living and the current political noise. And there you have it: a wide opening for those that deliver glee.

Surprising and delighting customers serves a more powerful strategic and creative role for brands now more than ever before. Consumers are stressed and marketing has not helped. Most brands have largely been focused on chasing consumers down a purchasing funnel with ads they don’t want to see, promotions that overwhelm them and customer service that is at best lackluster and at worst off-putting and disrespectful. And then we wonder why stores are closing.

We’ve seen a steady rise in the interest in all things happy to counterbalance all this gloom. We’re seen it in the resurgence of playful brands such as Lego, which are delivering much needed analog fun in a world of digital. We are also excitedly welcoming play and fun into all aspects of our lives. The Slack collaborative platform is about taking the tediousness out of the workday. And for the home we have interfaces like Alexa and Nest freeing us to do more fun stuff while new companions such as the cute Wonder Dash robot from Apple making family-life more fun and friendly. The popularity of Millennial Pink is the cherry on top of this happiness binging.

New Opportunities

We see the happy economy yielding some big dividends in the next couple of years as increasing fears about digital security, the environment, and geopolitics make us want to escape into dreamland. Areas of growth will include: the new and timeless toy industries, interactive playful experiences, themed destinations, friendly robotics, entertainment-driven malls, mixed run/retail residential spaces. Through all of these categories, there will be a focus on both physically engaging delivery and AI and VR-assisted personalized escapism.

Purveying Fun

While the future will grant us new possibilities to wow, we must deliver glee immediately for it is a matter of survival. For a consumer that expects the worst and is border-line walking around with brand-blinders on, serving good ole fun can help make or break a brand. Here are some ways to do this:

Smile at Your Customer

Deliver a better form of customer service to make your consumers happy. Rethink how you staff and train your sales agents and customer service staff. Take cues from Apple and Disney. Hire lifestyle experts that are engaging, genuinely interested in helping people out and can deliver a contagious feeling about your industry and brand. Deploy some high tech to accompany the high touch. Explore service personalization at scale with chat-bots, targeted marketing, customizable products and services, and more. Magic should be channel agnostic.

Product Innovation & Playfulness

Think of ways to make your entire product experience more fun. Explore customization and playful personalization. Push the boundaries, whenever relevant, in terms of new experiences, fabrics and designs. Look into unexpected collaborations. Reframe the use of your product. Think outside your existing categories.Think of how Apple was able to task something as intimidating and scientific as the personal computer and turn it into a window for self expression and creativity.

Fun as Your Go-To-Market Plans & Media Strategies

In a world of ad-blocks and over-distribution think of your entire marketing strategy and channels as an amusement ride. Surprise vs. disrupt. Open up a fun collaborative conversation and experience with the consumer. Have them choose their own products, promotions, content and marketing experience. Challenge your media partners to deliver less intrusive media/messaging contexts and formats. Look into partnerships with like-minded brands in other, perhaps more fun categories. What can you do in travel, entertainment, etc? Explore the fun side of physical marketing as we return to cities. Turn your promotions into more special “have to go to” events and experiences. How can your brand break through the clutter? Think of entertainment possibilities: live billboards, relieve a day-to-day pressure for city dwellers (free coffee, free wifi, etc.).

Nurture and Amplify Loyalty

Your best customer will always be your strongest asset. Think every single moment about how your brand can make its best customers feel special for being so good to you. Look for ways of giving them access, extra perks, products, experiences. Listen to their feedback to inform all aspects of your initiatives.

In a day and age when consumers feel distrust and annoyance, a brand that tries to put a good old fashioned smile will win. So put your service hat on and get ready to deliver magic.


How Social Media Saved Poetry

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

How Social Media Saved Poetry

It makes sense. With so little time to spare, we look for more powerfully succinct ways of making a point. Yet more importantly, given the stress of modern living, we want emotive codes to make us feel a certain way. And the political noise we are all grappling makes this desire stronger.

This is the conversational and emotive space that social media, in its good and sadly mostly vapid forms has occupied. We want a certain sort of fix which a like, a share, and post delivers for many. At the core is a certain form of brevity which serves as an urgent smoke signal for what we want to say or feel. This is what ushered twitter, the world of hashtags, and more.

While not new (think newspaper headlines, movie trailers, taglines, etc.), it seems like brevity is ruling the conversation, and key aspects of our society. We now, for instance, have a Twitterer in Chief in the most powerful office in the world. But unfortunately, social media’s attention-grabbing ways have sparked a vast anxiety-building underbelly, and many consumers are looking for a more human redemptive space for the medium.

New York Public Library’s Insta-Novels.

That is why, of the various forms of artistic expression, that it comes as no surprise that poetry is having a powerful, social-media fueled renaissance. Poetry is helping to give us a time out and a refuge to refuel.

In markets like the U.S. and the U.K. poetry has posted significant gains. This commercial boom is coming from mostly young women. In poetry they find a powerful medium for discovery, identity-affirmation, and very important in this social media age, an accessory form of social-friendly content.

The poster child of poetry’s renaissance is 26 year old Canadian poet and illustrator Rupi Kaur who espouses an assertive new form of feminism. Her posts and illustration inspire close to four million followers, a medium-like strength unlike anything past rising poets ever experienced.

Rupi Kaur

Poetry’s brevity is having an influential effect on the rest of communications as well. Besides the huge popularity of motivational manifestos, for instance, we’re seeing a literary form of brevity play out in branded content. A recent witty and literate example has been the New York Public Library, making a slew of literary classics available in short, Instagram-friendly formats. Poetry is also heavily responsible for the rise of fashion’s message t-shirts and sweaters, giving brands an open canvas for expression and consumers a manifesto to brand themselves. In a world seeking meaning, brands can learn a thing or two about the power of poetry.

Gist. Poetry, in its artistic brevity, captures our current need for meaningful experiences. It’s very timely in terms of the degree of uncertainty many consumers are feeling, and for its increasingly younger female fans, it offers a timely creative form of expression around a time of new opportunities.

Explore. Explore the power of meaningful brevity for your brand. Is there an artistic/human quality to your content approach? What other forms of human expression can you brand adopt?


The Rise of ShapeShifters

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

The Rise of ShapeShifters

We are living in the age of precision. We have been spoiled rotten with technology that brings predictability to all aspects of our lives. From the time we are scheduled to arrive at our destination to friendly recommendations from AI-powered services that deliver familiarity, we have gladly outsourced life planning. For the most part this has made our lives easier, saving us time, making us feel smarter, and with a bit more bandwidth to discover things we crave.

In the meantime, the comfort zone brought on by this predictability also threatens to make us duller and less divergent and creative in our thinking and ways. And this could be the symbolic downfall of the human wandering spirit, a vital quality that will become more valuable in the upcoming robotic era when an increasing number of tasks will be automated.

And so, we must rethink what it means to be human as we both embrace and compete with AI and robotic systems. This is by no means an apology for technology. It’s quite the opposite: the rise of smart systems will push humans to be a better version of themselves. This is no easy task, at both the personal and collective level, for it will mean pushing us beyond comfort zones to rethink and expand on our roles as creators and builders.

Deprogramming Your Mind

If we do not want to be replaced by robots, we must begin by making sure we’re not thinking and acting like them. AI systems and robots, accelerating faster than at Morse’s law speed, excel in taking in copious amounts of information, gathering data and finding patterns of predictability.  These systems are fueled by rote iteration. Where AI still fails is in the art of the subtext, passions and feelings that drive ideas that move people, cultural movements, markets and economies.

In a future when technology creates efficient platforms, it will be creative and innovative human catalysts in the form of outliers, those who defy the expectations of predictive models that will thrive. The following is a primer for escaping the robotic trap.

Explore the art of the unexpected.

Embrace uncertainty and nurture fluidity. Technology will seek to rule out information gaps, but new gaps will prevail in surprising folds. Modern day creators will thrive in seeing emerging patterns and future expressions in current tensions and the uncertainty of changing times. For instance, in fashion no algorhythmn could have predicted the eccentric boho chic movement unleashed by Alessandro Michelle at Gucci. However, if you observe closely and connect the societal and design dots, you can see how his return to a vintage romanticism is a natural response to today’s frenzied, tech-infused world.

Defy AI Suggestions

Stand out from a rote world by embracing your personality. Every now and then push back on recommended playlists and movies. Go out of your way to discover new things. Tap into different influencer circles. Read different publications. Hardwire your brain to think outside comfort zones. For it will it be in exposure to different things that you will learn to jump into lateral thinking and find ways to connect all the dots. This will make your processing input richer and your fodder for storytelling and experience stronger as well.

Make Davinci Your Model

Leonardo Davinci thrived at the intersection of science and applied creativity. In the precision of science he found a transcendental form of design as well as a definite backdrop to channel his creativity.  He explored this convergent yet often times conflict border space, testing new techniques. His famous sfumato technique for instance, was all about the blurriness in areas of motion and transition. Learn from all of this and explore both your design and tech-centric side as well as your more tempestuous, inquisitive creative side. Learn programming, understand AI systems, and then ponder on the contradictions, writing, and crafting design experiences inspired by those findings.

Amplify Your Human Side

As we process inputs from technology, it will be the human conversation framing it, designing it, programming it, and most importantly interpreting it and creating from it that will lead the way. Dial up your human side by doing a better job at listening, exploring, collaborating, mentoring and empowering to then posit human solutions to real problems and opportunities. And continue evolving as you do this, as robots learn fast.


THEY ARE ALREADY SMARTER THAN ALL OF US Keeping Up With Gen Z, Marketers Next Big Challenge!

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

THEY ARE ALREADY SMARTER THAN ALL OF US Keeping Up With Gen Z, Marketers Next Big Challenge!

We are a product of our times. Each generation has its markers, those shared moments that shape how we see the world and guide our actions. For instance, boomers ushered counter-culture as a response to social and political uncertainties while millenials, the first digitally native generation, today challenges all forms of clunky intermediaries. These societal milestones are the tipping points for change. Speaking of change, a big one is brewing…

Z = Huge

While editors have fawned over millennials, it is Generation Z, the over 70 million Americans born mostly in the 90s and early aughts, which will rock many an industry and company.  Raised amidst the big recession while witnessing the increasingly isolating power of technology, Generation Z embodies a skeptical and pragmatic take on the world.  They’ve witnessed first hand what the power structures and shifts of the 90s did to their generation X parents (unemployment, debt levels, dissatisfaction) and have chosen a different route.

The Pragmatic Economy

As generation Z bubbles up to be the biggest consumer segment, their sense of pragmatism will have powerful impact on creative, business and engagement models. I predict their need to make more with less, will further challenge the concept of ownership, fuel the sharing economy, and put greater pressures on brands to deliver relevant, multi-faceted experiences while serving up trust and loyalty to a greater degree.

Ways in which we’re seeing Gen Z pragmatism rise:

  • More so than millennials, generation Z is keen on savings. This will put greater pressure for brands and companies to pack more value around the goods and services they provide. This also presents and opportunity for financial services companies to speak to this consumer earlier. Other opportunities include: next gen loyalty programs, innovations in payment models, as well as continued novelties in business models such as subscription services.
  • Around the premise of value, they will demand more depth of meaning and functionality from the products and brands they endorse. Think of multi-use products that incorporate elements such as sustainability, weather adaptive uses, genderless offerings, among other qualities that will allow reuse, sharing, barter, etc.
  • Afraid of uncertainty, generation z is more openly loyal to companies and brands they perceive as authentically caring and relevant. In return for this loyalty, they will demand transparency, flexibility and a total life form of experience.
  • This is the generation that grew up with YouTube stars and other influencers. They do not subscribe to the traditional Hollywood model and as such they will further force companies to build a more authentic network of influencers to spread the word about their brands and services. This generation also takes its cue from micro-influencers to craft their own versions of DIY expressions, taking full advantage of a new spate of digital creative tools.
  • Barter and cash-me will be a way of life. The search for authenticity, uniqueness and collaboration coupled with the need to save will continue to drive business models such as Poshmark, Grailed and its reselling of sneakers, and other direct to consumer exchanges, not to mention, informal peer-to-peer, community driven barter
  • Afraid of the uncertainties their parents faced, they will put a greater premium on smaller, more meaningful and trustworthy circles of friends and colleagues. Shared values, causes and collaborations will fuel this sense of agency and community. Opportunities: passion tribes and circles, next generation loyalty programs; dialing up security; transparency and engagement around block-chain.

Across the board generation Z presents a need for a realness test for brands. This will mean a scrappier, creatively intuitive approach that reflects the harder times they grew up. This could be a new boom for creativity, as the saying beckons, necessity is the mother of invention.


Imperfection Is Design’s Secret Weapon

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Imperfection Is Design’s Secret Weapon

Our growing obsession with social media and its endless set of distractions have hampered our ability to finish things.  We are living in a messy state of intermittent craving and explorations triggered by ongoing streams of shifting stimuli. But before we go all doomsday on this seemingly unfocused predicament, we shall stop and explore why this might be a good thing. And the reason is that we are no longer held captive to the notion and pressure of delivering something immutable.

Whereas Guttenbeg and his printing press in the 1500s ushered a then-new revolution around the spread of ideas, some of them dogmatic; today’s digital revolution unleashes the power of experimenting. This new moment favors extreme reiteration, unfinished formats and open-source collaborations instead of a finite product.  This embracement of imperfection has great repercussions in terms of how we come up with new ideas and how we collaborate. It’s also bound to give us the courage to fail fantastically on the way to awesomeness.

Glossiers Skin First Make Up Second Campaign

After a timeless obsession with traditional perfection and beauty, we are opening up to the freedom of imperfection. The concept is appealing for a different set of reasons. First of all, because it reflects our natural, changing selves. We see this ushering of “imperfection” in the embracement of body positivity, owning what we previously called flaws as now powerfully unique attributes of our individuality. This is expressed, for instance, in the woke-inspired criticism of beauty narratives of yore, including modern vestiges such as photo-shopped beauty images. Imperfection’s strength in this case lies in its direct challenge to traditional beauty norms.

Imperfection’s modern appeal also taps into a post-digital desire for things as they exist naturally, pre any form of digital alteration. We see this in the rise of the “ugly” food movement, with its rescue of slightly damaged, but otherwise perfectly fine and delicious produce. We are also seen in the increasingly popular Japanese design form of wabi sabi, centered on the idea of transience and imperfection. In a more nostalgic vein, we are seeing the rise of low-fi, pixelated early 90s aesthetics.

Again, the idea of the past as ideally less complex is something that speaks to our cyber-harried selves. Imperfection expressed in the form of disruptive and slightly dystopian aesthetic also strikes a particular chord today, especially with incoming consumers questioning the establishment. At a time when Facebook gives you emoticon options to show your mood; what stronger statement than your sartorial choices putting your values front and center?

Ugly fruit and produce are a new form of sustainability.

We are seeing the rise of “ugly” fashion by both edgier, elevated street-wear brands such as Supreme as well as by luxury marquee brands such as Gucci and its creative director Alessandro Michelle’s penchant for unmatched, granny-chic aesthetics. We also see this anti-norm appetite in the rise of modern-day tribes such as the new feminist witch movement and the surging return of a modern version of rebel punk. In these examples the message is unapologetically urgent and direct.

Gucci’s Maximalist Mash-Ups

It is this directness that also gives imperfection added equity and punch. In an era when the truth is questioned, imperfection delivers arresting honesty and transparency. It’s powerfully human in its display of flaws, delivering empathy, connectivity, and serves as the perfect antidote to the anxiety we feel around perfection’s evasiveness.

Embracing Imperfection for Change

  • Explore the world of uncertainty and instability in your product category. What are those ongoing shifts? Design systems that openly embrace the change. Think of mutable design and open source mechanisms that allow for iterative betterment.
  • A work in progress. Modern day consumers and key audiences want to be vested in a brand experience. Do not feel the pressure to show a finished product. Whenever possible, allow them in the behind the scenes, unveil the creative chaos. This is great for true product development, but also for deeper consumer engagement.
  • Give consumers the unexpected. A curated, creatively messy experience can surprise consumers. Think of unexpected lifestyle-centered adjacencies in-store, for instance, to create a more magical sense of discovery.
  • Embrace your brand’s imperfections. No company or brand has it all figured out. Look for ways to strategically convey how you’re working on your shortcomings or addressing new challenges. Enlist the help of experts, partners and the consumer at large.

Areas to explore include next-gen corporate social responsibility and marketing, arenas where popular sentiment and an outside perspective are critical.

But most importantly, embrace your own comfort level with change, with messiness, with pitching ideas that seem unfinished to those that can help shape them and take them to a better place. This new economy is not for the hyper-polished, but for the innovatively imperfect.  So go ahead and let those flaws roam.


Cultural Mic Drop : When Purpose & Surprise Collide

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Cultural Mic Drop : When Purpose & Surprise Collide

It takes precise intuition to own a conversation these days. In a sea of retweets and short-lived news cycles, there is a power in making a clear, definitively timed statement. The art of when is more important than ever as consumers: time poor and experience hungry, are looking for things that meaningfully stand out. For brands that want to truly engage it means becoming more creatively intuitive, elusive and time-sensitive, and relevantly bold in everything they do.

Stellar cultural voices and brands that own the conversation today know when to bring an idea to life. For instance, during a time when town criers warn of a retail apocalypse, streetwear brand Supreme has cool kids lined up waiting outside its stores for the latest timed drop or seeking out Supreme-branded metro cards and newspapers. Supreme’s subversive school of marketing delivers on two powerful elements of when: the ability to change the conversation through surprise, and in an era of ongoing duplication and manipulation, by delivering something coveted for a limited amount of time.

The artful mastery of when also happens when a cultural catalyst pays close attention to the underlying shifts in the zeitgeist. Apple did this in the eighties by extolling the power of thinking differently during the rise of corporate-driven personal computers and at a time of a nascent sense of individual creativity. The brand has continued owning the conversation by adopting a secretive, drop-like mentality around its design and product launches.

A recent branded mic drop was Nike’s ads supporting Colin Kapernick. The brand, confident in its rebel (albeit its behemoth corporate status) history and DNA, lived up to its “Just do it” tagline and went all in to make a statement supporting Kapernick’s social stance. Stealth-like in its approach, Nike simply posted the ad with no further explanation. In doing so, Nike brand managers knew that they would offend many, yet powerfully recalibrate a more meaningful relationship with a younger, more socially-focused consumer.

Besides having something powerful to stay, the mic drop and its brethren, the drop, challenge social media’s frantic always-on culture. When Beyoncé secretly launches a visual album like Lemonade overnight, she is rewriting the rule book, favoring elusiveness versus a Kardashian-like school of overexposure. Mic drops like Beyoncé’s favor statements so clear and relevant that they hijack all other conversations. There is an aura of boldness around the act that elicits desire.

For a generation used to consuming things on their own terms, the drop also creates a sense of urgency around access: being the first ones to experience something while it’s taking place. We see this in the popularity of festivals, wanderlust-fueled travel, capsule collections or the appeal of ephemerally-timed Snapchat stories.

The drop can also serve as a break or edit from the sensory overload around products and branding messages. Subscription boxes like Blue Apron and Birchbox thrive by both giving individuals a monthly surprise while canceling out the noise of overtly merchandised retail. They also give consumers welcomed predictability in an increasingly uncertain world.

The power of the drop is ultimately around creating a system of extreme fluidity around cultural conversations. The potential is vastly expanding in this realm as AI technologies now allow us to go wider and deeper in terms of canvassing popular sentiment. For brand leaders, adopting a “drop” mentality means fluidly weaving the power of the high tech with good ole human intuition to design brand experiences so relevant and timely that they build powerful emotional and cultural equity for the brand. And in an era of constant disruption, being hardwired to intelligent disrupt through emotions is the most powerful of drops.