Day 4 has come to a close and unfortunately we’re nearly at the end of our week at New York’s Fast Company Innovation Festival. We’ve had a chance to hear about leadership from both Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd and Diane von Furstenberg, get a tour of the Black Girls Code Initiative at Google and hear Jennifer Garner talk about her organic brand “Farm Fresh”.

But the key standouts of the day?

Casper (The Dreamery).

The store design was amazing, with individual rooms each showcasing a seperate Casper mattress. Every touchpoint of the brand is designed to be uniquely delightful.

Whilst we’ve previously heard from Leesa (and the great work they do at the Bowery Mission), today we got a tour of Casper’s flagship store “The Dreamery” in New York and had a chance to speak with co-founder Neil Parik about the Casper brand. Casper see themselves as a “sleep culture” company rather than a typical mattress company. Casper’s underlying goal is to ask how do they get consumers to get to sleep easier, stay asleep and then wake up easier.

Similarly to Leesa, Casper’s is innovating in it’s approach to the mattress industry. Neil and the team originally set to question the current industry norms and improve the mattress buying experience. The physical Dreamery store is designed similarly to the website – nimble and modular, with the added bonus of getting to test inside.

The Dreamery store is an amazing example of customer centric store design and experimental retail. Consumers can try out any of the beds in the store with a quick 45 minute nap before purchasing.

The future of Casper is building out product across other categories (and all the other activities in the bedroom).

Twitter.

It was great to see inside Twitter’s New York office and undertake a session looking at the psychology of one of societies newest generations – Gen Z (those born between 1995 and 2010). Although they’re currently young at the moment with little purchasing power, there’s still some interesting findings you can start to be thinking about for the future. For example Gen Z consumers can have multiple personalities and have changing identities depending on the world / people around them. For example one identity around their friends and another identify around their family. As a result, we’re unlikely to be able to apply traditional branding techniques to them like segmentation and brand books as they’ll be in a state of constant change. And you thought millenial’s were hard work?

Gen Z often have multiple personas; and usually more than 1 social media account to portray these different aspects of their personality (there’s apparently a term for it – Finstagram).

“You Do You” will be the catch phase of Gen Z. Gen Z don’t want to annoy the group or have a strong opinion (and potentially lose followers on social media). Therefore they’re likely to avoid conflict and simply say You Do You!

LiveLike

I wasn’t particularly familiar with LiveLike beforehand, but it’s a VR platform for sports broadcasters. It allows consumers to watch live sports with your family and friends in Virtual Reality. They’re relatively new and already have some pretty impressive partnerships (for example Fox Sports).

Like most virtual reality, it’s very hard to explain the concept to somebody who hasn’t used it – but I got a quick demo and let me say it’s ground breaking tech! Simply put the headset and it’s as if you’re in the stadium with other fans, except you can watch the game from any angle. It’s a great concept and shows an excellent use of VR.

When done right, VR can create a memorable experience. And as retailers, we should be looking at how we can use VR in-store to create future experiences for consumers. Definitely a tech and company you want to keep an eye on for the future.

LiveLike’s VR experience let you select different camera angles, sit in and look around a virtual “suite”, view pre-produced content and more.

We’ll be back tomorrow for a recap of day 5 and a general wrap up of the festival, including what we saw as the main themes over the week. If you missed our recaps of the past 3 days you can read below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3