Spark Readers - Welcome to 2019!

I hope everyone had a relaxing few weeks off as I know I sure did! (So much so we skipped a few of these newsletters... )

As the new year rolls around, I am incredibly excited for what is to come in terms of both Spark and all the other incredible work that seems to be flowing through this community.

A few life updates for everyone...
  • Last Fall I embarked on a new journey working for an incredible company, Latitude. For those who are not familiar, check out the website or, swing on by! (Open coffee and breakfast every Wednesday - Just let me know!)
  • Omni Talk is in full swing as I am lucky enough to partner with Chris, Anne, and team on the weekly podcast and more. (A ton of exciting things to come from this group in 2019.)
  • And finally, a super personal note, Kelley and I are expecting our first little boy into this world in April.

I am beyond lucky and cannot thank you all enough for being such a positive part of this journey. So much more to come in 2019! I hope to see you all very soon.


A New Purpose (Focus) on Brick & Mortar Retail

In the age of ecommerce, the role of the physical store is changing. Retailers across the globe are creating inspirational environments to build shopper confidence and create an emotional connection, with the experience they offer being as important as the good they sell. By injecting theater, storytelling and uniqueness into the physical footprints, the store is positioned as a marketing channel as much as a place to buy.

Below are a few key examples from New York’s Retail Innovation Week as the brands highlighted below are simply the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of a larger trend brewing in retail.


The CAMP toy store has been designed as a ‘family experience store’ that combines merchandise, play, and media to recreate the feeling of going to summer camp. Each section of the space is dedicated to a different camp activity, such as arts and crafts or the mess hall, with a curated selection of merchandise. The store hosts events and activities several times a day and aims to serve as a gathering place for families to play and explore together.

🧸 Learn More

Gentle Monster

The New York flagship store of Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster is designed to be an immersive experience that evokes the feeling of interstellar travel. A massive media wall entices passersby to look inside, while a series of kinetic sculptures and installations created in collaboration with artists encourage shoppers to engage with the gallery-like space.

🤓Learn More

What is next?

It is an incredibly exciting time to be retail specialists as more brands look to the physical space not just for moving goods but for creating the immersive experiences that the shoppers of today are craving. As this evolution continues we will quickly find that no category is off limits as new and emerging brands all look to shift dollars from traditional channels into this new space.

Text and research sourced from PSFK.

An Earworm for Bike Safety

  • Bike for Brussels, a Belgian public body dedicated to encouraging cycling in the city, is using catchy pop songs to promote road safety.
  • The organization reminded cyclists not to wear headphones while riding by partnering with local radio station Bruzz to broadcast a daily segment called The Earworm of the Day, which exclusively played unforgettable and repetitive pop songs.
  • The idea was that the irritatingly catchy songs would get stuck in the heads of cyclists, negating the need to listen to music through headphones, which can reduce riders’ awareness of their surroundings.
Why this matters —
This example shows how traditional media platforms, like radio, can be combined with creativity to still create breakthrough. This point was specifically important in this scenario as safety warnings, especially heard on repeat, are shown to be ignored. This campaign looked to add a new and unique twist on this common message in hopes that riders would notice and abide by the warnings.

🚲 Learn More | See a video + listen to the tracks.
Text and research sourced from CIO..

Urgently - An Uber for roadside assistance.

  • Urgently, the roadside assistance startup that connects car owners who need help with tow trucks and other services, has raised $21 million in a Series B round that includes the venture arms of BMW, Porsche and Jaguar Land Rover.
  • Differentiator? The company doesn’t charge annual membership fees like AAA or other auto clubs.
  • The app works a lot like Uber + Lyft. Users can request help like getting a jump start, a tow or tire change via the app, which connects them with available services nearby.
  • Fees and costs are transparent as all payments are handled within the app.
  • The potential for Urgently goes beyond connecting with traditional car owners. The platform is scalable, making it attractive for companies that have large fleets too.
  • As more electric vehicles come to market, there may be more demand for roadside assistance services like mobile charging.

“The old model of roadside assistance must make way for a modern, more digital approach,” Kasper Sage, a partner at BMW i Ventures said. “ will allow OEMs around the world to provide their customers the kind of real-time and connected digital experience they now expect in everything from food delivery to ride-sharing.”

🚕 Learn More | Sign Up | See a video.
Text and research sourced from TechCrunch..

The Leftovers - Random & Interesting 

$500/night for this igloo?
A pilates studio in London is merging exercise and design for a new kind of therapy.
Satellite startup companies are now tracking… everything. (NYT)
Fyre Festival documentaries shine
an too-close-to-home light on the problems of ‘influencer culture’.
Ditch the hotel… Private travel clubs are coming back. 

The Next Step
Customized research, presentations, training and formal reports are available upon request. Please reply to this email or send me a note to get in touch.

Thank you for giving the first few rounds of "Spark" a shot.
Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.
What is Spark all about?
Consumer Connections - Beyond stereotypical social and e-commerce platforms, we look to focus in on new and emerging ways consumers are connecting with each other and brands. These stories are then summarized and paired with actionable next steps for marketers, brand leaders and really, all who are curious.​

We write these pretty fast so please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. We're trying.
Topics this week were quoted or directly sources from a variety of sources.

Copyright © 2019 CJC, LLC.

The information listed within has been sourced from the noted publisher.

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