"  Circle Culture
NOV 21 – 02


Nike Membership Insights

Our long-standing client Nike trusted us, once again, with deep diving into the very nature, meaning and communication consequences of brand membership. What actually is membership in branding and advertising contexts? How can we best define it? And what are the implications in terms of communication angles, channel management, user experience as well as the handling of data, privacy, and transparency? The objective was to recruit 24 young adults, both Nike members and non-Nike members with an affinity to the brand though, to bring them, in different compositions, to a table and engage with them on the overarching issue of membership. Instead of reproducing known assumptions on these topics, we aimed at the uncompromised views and perspectives of the younger generation. Head over to our work section to learn more.
"  Circle Culture
OCT 21 – 01

Book with regained Momentum

The Art of Gathering

Since our early days back in 2001, there has been a red thread running through our DNA at Circle Culture Consulting. It’s the pivotal meaning that we attach to physical gatherings as a key resource to create meaningful encounters with our clients, partners, and friends, but also as a central tool to generate unparalleled qualitative insights capable of making all the difference for our clients within the biotech, beauty, and lifestyle industries. It is also in this light that the book “The Art of Gathering – How we meet and why it matters” written by the facilitator and MIT graduate Priya Parker has particularly caught our eye. Parker strongly advocates for endowing gatherings of all kinds – whether it be professional or personal meetings – with a specific purpose, carefully selected, unique guests and disruptive, alternative surroundings to create resonating and ideally even transformative experiences. The way in which we define, approach, and perform our proprietary in-depth interviews and workshops with leading minds from our global thinkers network truly resonates with Parker’s inspiring spirit and proposed structure. But also Parker's focus on physical gatherings reflects our plead for offline- as opposed to digital meet-ups: Gathering in the real world with brilliant people around a specific and thoughtful purpose allows us to serve our clients as a kind of cultural seismograph detecting nascent trends with the potential to shape both our present and future thinking. If you wish to learn more about the very art – and maybe even science – of gathering with a purpose, we invite you to take a closer look at Parker’s manifesto.
"  Circle Culture
AUG 21 – 01


How synthetic biology might turn cosmetics truly sustainable

One of the key insights that we have been taken away from the consulting projects that our clients within the biotech industries trust us with is the pivotal role that biotechnologies can play within the production of ingredients – no matter if for textiles, foods or cosmetics and beauty products. Though having long been reluctant to the supposedly detrimental impact of synthetic, that is, lab-grown ingredients, consumers become today increasingly open to the idea that biosynthetic ingredients might provide a viable, more sustainable alternative, especially for products of daily use as it is the case for cosmetics. Namrata Nayyar-Kamdar, founder of “Plenaire”, a London-based beauty platform for young consumers, perceives a growing thirst of Gen Z for the productive usage of technology for the sake of more sustainable product offerings: “The skincare products that women as young as 13 use were created in the 1970’s. (…) Technology and data are relatively unexploited - despite three-quarter of younger consumers saying that they want alternatives and that their needs are not being met”. Biotechnologies offer great potentials particularly from a business and environmental perspective: One the one hand, lab-grown ingredients are far less vulnerable to supply chain volatility than conventionally sourced ingredients. On the other hand, synthetically produced ingredients show a substantially smaller carbon footprint than standard ingredients. There are already some cosmetics brands that explore the manifold promises of biotechnologies. While the conscious biodesign company Geltor offers market-leading brands tailor-made vegan collagen technologies to use as alternatives in skincare applications, the start-up c16 Biosciences synthetically imitate “innovative processes found in nature to brew sustainable alternatives to palm oil” in a mission to prevent labor abuses and our environment from further damage. The increased focus on tech and science as main driving factor for new business to emerge within the beauty sector is also reflected by the “science-first brand” DECIEM. For the latter, every new venture, every new product concept starts in their lab run by a large team of biochemists and not in their marketing department – which is why they proudly call themselves “The abnormal beauty company”. We at Circle Culture Consulting feel that biotechnologies constitute non only a wonderful differentiator in an ever more crowded sustainable beauty market, but especially a sound, responsible and environmentally viable approach to producing ingredients for cosmetic products. Whether biotechnologies will impose as a new standard or even norm will depend though on feasible approaches to scaling up their production.
"  Circle Culture
June 21 – 02


Scientific evidence for our company philosophy

The idea that both culture and leveraging collective intelligence play a pivotal role in human advancement has been infusing, right from the beginning, not just our company culture, but also our approach to consulting global players at the forefront of the lifestyle and biotech industries. This idea materializes especially in our research tools that help us scan emerging cultural phenomena and dynamics before they even hit the mainstream, but also in our global thinkers network in which we have been pooling the smartest minds of our time, thereby purposely building creative swarm intelligence. We at Circle Culture Consulting are deeply convinced that these two ingredients constitute the central driving forces for building modern brands that wish to truly resonate within their communities. It was hence with great delight that we came across a recent scientific study claiming that mankind is evolving faster than ever before. The reason for survival advantage and accelerated human progress would yet not be mainly ascribed to genetics anymore - as scientists have long maintained - but rather to both mechanisms of shared, circulated culture and processes of collective intelligence. The study’s authors argue that this „cultural evolution“ might affect humanity’s pathway more substantially than natural selection. We somehow feel validated by the study’s findings since it puts into an explicit scientific framing what we have been intuitively living and successfully applying in our consulting activities since almost two decades now. At Circle Culture Consulting, the motivation could not be any greater to further contribute to the advancement of mankind by celebrating cultural knowledge and collective intelligence in everything we do. Source:
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
NOV 21 – 01


The thin line between transparency and information overload

In supporting our clients and food tech companies like Joyn Bio and Unfold Bio on their branding and messaging strategies, we had the pleasure to deep dive into the crucial question of how to best tell their rather tech-loaded stories to the media and (end) consumer. The overarching issue consisted in reconciling the need to explain the somewhat complex technology at work with the attempt to tell an appealing, emotionally resonating, and appetizing story. The challenge of successful food tech communications is currently gaining further momentum as ever more brands try to revolutionize and expand the conventional product offerings within the meat, dairy, and bakery categories by plant- and/or cell-based alternatives. Yet, gaining a foothold in the fiercely competitive consumer market for food is a difficult endeavor – something which the dairy-free ice cream line “Brave Robot” offered by the alternative dairy protein manufacturer Perfect Day needed to learn the hard way. Since they provided misleading information about the ice cream’s ingredients on its packaging, they had to undergo a rebranding (from “animal free dairy” to “for a delicious future”) and react to upset or at least insecure consumers shortly after their initial market launch. As we are currently dealing, for the Danish biotech start-up Chromologics, with the exact issue of how to best frame technological contexts in relation to food, we observe a huge opportunity for these new players to contribute to a radical shift towards uncompromised transparency within their relationship with the end consumers. We are convinced though that only those will persevere who will master the very thin line between truthfulness and an information overload respectively deep emotional resonance. Head over to Food Dive if you wish to further delve into the topic:
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
SEP 21 – 01

Pictures say more than words

The new must-have work environment

We experienced the new spirit and power of BioLabs (= Biological Factories) when we worked with Ginkgo Bioworks and Leaps by Bayer on the brand, messaging and CI development of their synthetic biology venture Joyn Bio in 2018 (in this post you see the imagery from our photo shooting with the Berlin based photographer Gene Glover for the press and communication material and webpage). This is what the young hi-fly talents are drawn and thrilled to - every CEO of a physical goods company should think of adapting BioTech to their business - it will be just a matter of time when the USA will present us the first CBO (Chief Biology Officer). Back in 2018 Ginkgo Bioworks had 3 labs running just installing their 4th one - now they run 6 labs already. In order to know what they do their, just listen to the CEO Jason Kelly talking to Bill Frist in this story (it appears between the photo slideshow if you click on fullscreen).
"  Circle Culture
JULY 21 – 01


How the beauty industry explores untapped growth potential in diversity

While the concept of the market niche had long been holding a particular allure within the beauty industry, we have recently been observing the dynamics of a shift from niche to underserved markets. Whereas the niche does not necessarily cater to socially, culturally, or economically marginalized groups, but appears to attract especially wealthy consumer that want to distinguish themselves from the mainstream, the idea of underserved rather builds on ever more pressing requests for racial justice and equity. Consequently, “inclusive beauty” is no longer simply an industry buzzword that gained substantial traction with Fenty Beauty’s launch in 2017, but also describes an increasing focus on financially backing brands that target and serve, for instance, consumers of color or Gen Zers who do not believe anymore in binary perceptions of gender. The necessary reframing from niche to underserved is also reflected by a massive buying power that these newly discovered segments demonstrate. To name but two examples of brands that have been early jumping on the bandwagon. The clean haircare brand “Ceremonia” was launched in 2020 in New York and caters to the special haircare needs of the Latin woman. The direct-to-consumer business was founded by Babba Rivera, a former UBER executive who had long run her own marketing agency in New York. Although seeming like a small, potentially irrelevant target group at first glance, market data tells another story about Latin people: In the US, Hispanics represent the biggest minority that spends 46% more on haircare products than non-Hispanics, and that, being one of the youngest demographics in the US, shows a steadily rising purchasing power. In addition to the business perspective, the desire to truly represent the target group currently drives this trend. “Plenaire” is a community-based beauty brand for Gen Z that wants to be and act truly inclusive by showing diverse faces and people with disabilities or in highly vulnerable positions. Their approach is broader than that of Ceremonia, claiming that a beauty brand is only throughout inclusive if those who have long been excluded from consumption and usage can finally join the norm, that is, the current consumer base. We at Circle Culture Consulting are convinced that all those beauty brands will thrive in the future that show genuine interest and sensitivity toward these hitherto underserved communities while being as broadly inclusive as possible.
"  Circle Culture
June 21 – 01


Origin Bio’s mission to harness nature exponentially

After having worked with the global leading synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks on their venture Joyn Bio which they entered into with Leaps by Bayer in 2018, we are proud to be on board with Origin Bio, the first promising synthetic biology company from Germany. Leveraging millions of years of evolution, Origin Bio wants to fuel “the convergence of engineering with biology, using DNA as the programming language”, as reads the press release on the occasion of the start-up’s latest successful funding round. Origin Bio’s target segment constitutes existing original equipment manufacturers (OEM) for whom the company wants to produce – thanks to computing, automation and machine learning – entirely new organisms that free those manufacturers from petrochemical dependency. We joined forces with Origin Bio to help develop their visual expression including logo, accompany them in building the messaging for their pitch desk as well as conceptualize, design and code their webpage. Through several in-depth interviews with key stakeholders from both Origin Bio and BlueYard, a Berlin-based impact capital firm that has substantially invested into Origin Bio, we could build common ground and align both teams towards united visions and goals. To achieve a differentiating visual expression of the logo, we opted for a bright and gradient color perspective in green and blue. Since there is today a trend towards foregoing an elaborate figurative mark, we decided in favor of a simple typo logo equipped yet with a meaningful twist thanks to the superscript “Bio”. The latter serves not only as a kind of imprint, but also refers to Origin Bio’s raison d’être that lies in the purpose of growing biotechnologies exponentially (“scaling to the power of biology”) in order to harness – instead of exploiting – nature. We finally crafted a dynamic webpage telling in one strand the proprietary story of Origin Bio. One striking feature of the webpage reprsents an iconic mark that we developed out of the company’s new logo and that provides orientation within the site’s menu. Go check to explore Origin Bio’s exciting storyline.