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Brand Design + Strategy

SVA Masters in Branding Thesis

Futures of Nearness: Retail


Some of the country’s most important companies were launched during times of adversity- General Electric, P&G, IBM, General Motors, and FedEx were all born in times of economic turbulence. Those who returned from World War II formed "The Greatest Generation." Square, WhatsApp, and Slack were all founded around the the financial crash of 2008. Now, as Covid-19 has spread to every corner of the world, we’re again in the midst of one of these moments of profound upheaval. In this moment, we have both the need and the opportunity to seize it to profoundly reshape the future.

How can we then use branding to reimagine a future where connection to each other and to the world at large, continues to fuel our humanity? What is the future of nearness in retail in the post-Covid world? What should we bring with us through this portal and what should we leave behind?

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

-Arundhati Roy,

 The Pandemic is a Portal 

See the full presentation here.

4. March 2020

1. Introduction

2. The Evolution