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Jul 05, 2023
Olly Lawder
On the Record: July 2023
Welcome back to On the Record – our monthly roundup of all things Purpose
This month we’re highlighting the brands embracing brains! We’ll take a look at some innovation and bold action on neurodiversity, mental health and dementia.
In interior design, inclusivity meets wallpaper
Wallpaper and autism. Talk about an unexpected combo. But it created magic. In celebration of World Autism Acceptance Week, UK-based wallpaper company Hovia released a new wallpaper collection that was not only visually stunning but also served a hugely important purpose: empowering people with autism to feel more in control of their environments.

The brand really took the time to understand their audience. Utilizing research from a 2017 study, Hovia found that overly-stimulating environments cause unnecessary distress. On the flip side, calmer environments that included muted tones and irregular images (as opposed to patterns) reduced heart rates and prevented overstimulation.

They thoughtfully adapted four of their most popular designs to become more hyper-sensitivity friendly, looking through the lens of how people with Autism Spectrum Disorder perceive and respond to environments. The designs are available to purchase for $4.55 per square foot with a portion of the proceeds going to autism acceptance charities. The work is as stunning as it is functional. Colour us impressed.

Find out more here.
In construction, they’re building mental health awareness
Mental health week always sparks powerful work. This year, there was one that really caught our eye. If you were around London’s West End between the 15th and 21st of May you might have seen a massive hi-vis plastered up on Charing Cross Road. The giant artwork was made of 687 high-vis vests representing trade suicides in the UK.

It’s heartbreaking to learn that on average 687 skilled trade workers died by suicide each year between 2019-2021 in the UK. In fact, construction workers are nearly four times as likely to die by suicide compared to other sectors.

Industry giants IronmongeryDirect and ElectricDirect refused to sit in silence about the matter. They joined forces to commission the 12-meter-tall artwork in the hope of visualizing the scale of the issue and raising awareness.

You just can’t help but talk about it. Which is exactly the stunt set out to do. Rebecca Bishop, co-founder of Elite Building, “Tradespeople need to understand that they are never alone. We need some brave people to step up and share, which then might encourage others to do the same.”

The companies partnered with the mental health charity Basildon Mind and donated over £5,000 to its services to support anyone who wants to come forward. 

Find out more here.
At Westminster Abbey, a King is forgotten
We just celebrated the King’s birthday but the Alzheimer’s Society still has our minds on the coronation. Together with New Commercial Art, they created the ‘Unmemorabilia’ campaign. Few of us wouldn’t be shocked to learn that 1 in 3 people born today in the UK will develop dementia. But how many of us were aware?

Many more thanks to this show-stopping creative. Needless to say, it delivered. The final tactical ad featured a Coronation mug with the headline “A day one in three of us won’t be able to tell our grandkids about.” Hits you right in the gut, doesn’t it?

The ad went public ahead of Coronation Day and ran during the bank holiday weekend on press, out-of-home and social media platforms. Hugely successful in raising awareness plus funds for Alzheimer’s Society, it’s a best-in-class example of how a quick tactical ad can have a huge impact.
Find out more here.
Each month we’ll dive into an emerging topic that poses a challenge for purpose-led businesses.

In case you hadn’t heard, Elon Musk’s brain chip called Neuralink has been approved for human trials. What was once the stuff of sci-fi could be a part of everyday life a lot sooner than we think. But this isn’t just about the tech. No, this asks much wider questions about how purpose and innovation come together. Let’s take a look.

Neuralink’s mission statement has a purpose at its absolute core: “create a generalized brain interface to restore autonomy to those with unmet medical needs today and unlock human potential tomorrow”. Who wouldn’t be inspired? The thought that this tech could redefine what’s medically possible is a dream come true. In fact, there was a recent success story for another new device that allowed a paralyzed man to walk for the first time. It re-connected his brain to his spinal cord which enabled him to walk using his thoughts (after extensive training).

This is exactly what innovation should be about.

Read the full article here.
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