A Nudge in the right direction for the new year

Megan Hotson


As we stand at the threshold of a new year, the role of brands in our lives has evolved beyond acting as portals to consumption. 

Modern consumers increasingly view their favourite brands as life partners—entities they can rely on not just for quality products but for positive influence and change.

Brands can act as catalysts for personal development and societal well-being, tapping into intentional design in a bid to subtly nudge consumers in the right direction.

Brands as Life Partners

In the contemporary landscape, brands play a crucial role in shaping our lifestyles and influencing our choices. 

No longer confined to transactional relationships, brands are becoming active partners in the pursuit of personal and societal betterment.

IKEA's 'Hiding in Plain Sight Gym Equipment'

Almost half (44%) of consumers now prefer to exercise at home for convenience (65 per cent), value for money (50%) and ease (48%), with over a third (38%) feeling it's easy to access different apps, workouts and motivation at home (Sky, 2023).

Enter DAJLIEN, IKEA’s new 19-item home training collection. Ikea’s new range signal the brand’s recognition of the opportunity and demand for gym equipment which seamlessly blends with home décor, given the increasing amount of people that now work out at home. 

Each item has a minimalist and soothing feel, designed to seamlessly blur into your domestic space. The equipment is easily hidden in plain sight and even doubles as other functional pieces. 

These aesthetically pleasing yet functional pieces serve as a subtle reminder to prioritise physical activity without the overt presence of traditional gym equipment. 

By integrating wellness into everyday life, IKEA has positioned itself as a brand that cares about the holistic well-being of its customers.

Helan's Springy Park Benches

In 2024, the over-65 age group in Europe will climb above the under-15 population, representative of a broader global shift (WHO, 2023).

There is a growing need for more accessible preventative care as people transition from middle, to old age. It turns out play could be our powerful ally.

Screenshot 2023-12-14 at 11.35.42
Belgian Health Insurer Helan has designed park benches to get Adults moving, strategically placed in public spaces. 

These benches encourage playfulness and movement, targeting individuals transitioning from middle to old age who may be grappling with signs of muscle loss. 

By promoting an active lifestyle in a playful manner, Helan fosters a community and play-centric approach to health.

Brands should look to encourage moments of play in day-to-day life, helping consumers prevent some the negative impacts of ageing. 

Alongside Helan, other innovations promoting play to help inspire ageing consumers, include Singapore University’s multilingual game that helps to fend off dementia – as well as  Nestlé’s recipe book that turns cooking into arthritis therapy.

Brands as Agents of Change

In an era where trust in governments and political powers may fluctuate, brands have the opportunity to step up and become reliable agents of positive change.

 Consumers are increasingly turning to their favourite brands not just for products but for inspiration, guidance, and a sense of purpose.

Brands can no longer afford to be mere facilitators of transactions. They must evolve into entities that actively contribute to the well-being of their consumers. 

This could involve creating products that align with sustainable living, promoting mental health initiatives, or championing social causes.

Key takeaways 

-    As we embark on a new year, the relationship between brands and consumers is undergoing a profound transformation. Brands are no longer passive players in the realm of consumption; they are dynamic partners in the journey towards personal and societal betterment. 

-    By embracing intentional design and subtle nudges, brands can inspire positive change, becoming more than just purveyors of products but true allies in the pursuit of a brighter future. 

-    As consumers increasingly rely on their favourite brands to guide them in the right direction, which playful interventions could your brand insert into daily life? 

Read Next