On Thursday, the Future Foundation and partner The Liminal Space took a small group of clients on our first consumer safari, a curated foray into the experiential side of insight gathering. To stimulate new ways of thinking, we touched on three very different trend narratives – emotive consumption, ethical consumerism and contemporary connoisseurship.
First stop – the Victoria Miró contemporary art gallery in Islington, currently exhibiting works by Grayson Perry and Sarah Sze. Elke Seebauer, our guide and senior sales representative, explored some of the guiding principles behind working with ultra-high-net-worth individuals. What came through was that for many sectors, the consumption journey can be a deeply emotive and personal experience. Art collectors are passionate consumers, trading loyalty for exclusivity, trust for authenticity.
The artwork also reinforced the fact that as communicators, we sometimes need to look at things in totally different ways. Grayson Perry’s tapestries for example, detailed his own consumer safari as he travelled among the taste tribes of Britain, literally weaving the characters he met into a fabric narrative.
Next stop was FARM:, an ethical and environmental outpost in the unlikely urban landscape of Dalston, Hackney. Co-founder Paul Smyth took us on a journey, starting with a derelict East End shop that was renovated with the help of the local community, via a prototype closed loop agriculture system that harvests fish manure to cultivate soft leaf crops and ending with a vision to bring farming to the urban environment. FARM: taught the group about innovation, passion for an inspirational mission and grassroots campaigning. Not to mention how to grow mushrooms out of cappuccino waste!
The final stop of the day was Borough Market, where we met food artist/ fanatic, Caroline Hobkinson. We’d been promised a futuristic feast from 2062 – ice cream, Stichelton cheese, salmon injected with peaty whisky, locally produced brownies and mint-wrapped edamame beans featured highly. Caroline’s retrofuturistic method of projecting us into 2062 to look back on 2012’s attitudes to food chimes with our own innovation methods, drawing inspiration by looking backwards from the future.
Thanks to The Liminal Space for providing such an entertaining, inspiring and educational experience. If you are interested in future consumer safaris, let us know!