July in Review
By Carson Schatzman, Senior Copywriter
Each Monday, Athena employees receive a recap of important news stories from the past week. On Thursdays, our morning meeting is dedicated to a quiz testing our ability to retain the information. A free lunch is the reward for the winning team. We’re a competitive group, and the quizzes bring out that spirit. Over time a number of our clients have requested our weekly review as well, so we’ve begun to share a recap at the end of the month. See below for what we’re paying attention to and why.
Corporate Responses to Healthcare Demands
Harvard Business Review points out that, in an employer-sponsored health care system, reproductive healthcare is a workplace issue, not a disconnected political one.
Immediate Responses: Businesses are increasingly expected to respond to social issues such as racial equity, climate change, and sexual orientation, among others. So much so that Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer finds businesses are the primary institution Americans trust to act on social issues.
Opportunity and Operations: The Dobbs v. Jackson decision comes as many women were forced to pause their careers to provide childcare during the pandemic. There are still 2 million fewer women in the workforce than in 2020.
What’s Happening Now: Businesses are actively responding to the repeal of Roe v. Wade, reaffirming an unwavering commitment to employee wellbeing, and adjusting recruitment and professional development models.
More Strange Content, Fewer Estranged Cousins
In response to mounting competition with TikTok, Facebook will be overhauling the design of its homepage to prioritize content from creators over posts from friends and family, according to The Washington Post.
Why Change: TikTok has become the world’s fastest-growing social media platform with a current U.S. user base of 110 million. Meanwhile, Facebook lost daily users for the first time in its history late last year and Apple’s new privacy restrictions also curb the app’s ability to collect user data for targeted advertising.
The Bigger Picture: Facebook’s update reflects a greater shift in the social media market. Developers are trying to appeal to younger audiences by prioritizing immersive bite-sized content rather than personal communication.
Having Mixed Their Labor with the Soil…
Community gardens in Southwest Philadelphia are at risk of being sold and shuttered at a sheriff’s sale auction next month, Axios Philadelphia reports.
Why It Matters: The People’s Kitchen has transformed over 30 abandoned lots into community gardens to revitalize Southwest Philadelphia and provide free produce to those in need. In Southwest Philadelphia, 27% of residents live below the poverty line. Furthermore, 14% of Philadelphians are food insecure, according to a 2019 study, and that figure is likely to have risen significantly during the pandemic.
What’s Next: The People’s Kitchen and other community organizations are searching for a way to protect community gardens and return ownership to the city of Philadelphia ahead of the next auction on August 5th.
Switching the Script to “Here’s How I Can Help You Today
Contrary to popular belief, the importance of physical retail spaces has been highlighted by the rise of e-commerce. Fast Company points out that the value of retail stores is not solely tied to direct financial profit. Brands can make retail locations worth the investment by prioritizing customer impact, a combination of service, store design, and physical layout and features.
By the Numbers:
- 50,000 (5.7%) stores in the U.S. are expected to close by 2026, and online sales are expected to grow by 50%
- 55% of shoppers visit a physical store before making a purchase online
- 71% of shoppers spend $50 or more when shopping in-store, while only 54% of spend the same amount online shopping
- 30% of all products ordered online are returned, compared to 8.89% for brick-and-mortar stores
The Bottom Line: In-person experiences, thoughtfully tailored to a customer base, activate a brand and build loyalty in an irreplaceable way.