January 31, 2014

Wouldn’t It Be Great If We Could Predict the Year Ahead?

Corey Offers a Glimpse into 2014 and It Looks Amazing

No tea leaves, no crystal ball. Just all of us at Corey making some educated projections about what we’re likely to be thinking about, experiencing, and working with in 2014.

BRANDING

Brands with a Soul
Organizations will increasingly place customer experience at the center of their business model, support a higher purpose, and balance impersonal transactions with credibility and full disclosure. Unabashed socially responsible for-profit corporations will be the big winners in both brand strategy and profits. Brands including Method, Stonyfield Farm and Green Mountain Coffee have already discovered that the combination of sound business strategy and social responsibility is powerful in the marketplace, as well as Wall Street.

The World Cup Runneth Over
Stand back – the World Cup takes place this year and it will hit global brands like a tsunami. With a fanatical following that numbers greater than the world’s top three religions combined, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is a force of nature among brands in every industry, geography, and society. Sports drink, Powerade, just announced its 2014 World Cup-focused campaign will feature Andres Iniesta of Spain whose famous winning goal in the 2010 Cup finals has become legendary.

“Handcrafted” Visuals
From illustrations to photography, and from lens flare to facial hair, creative strategies will leverage authentic, handcrafted, and un-PhotoShop’d imagery. A more relate-able brand identity engenders greater affinity. The design for the Re-Imagine campaign launched by Converse® (Kate Moross, designer) is a vibrant example.

TECHNOLOGY

Edtech Evolution
Digital education and the technologies that enable it (specialized gaming, analytics, ERP, security, and dashboards) is on the move, and will become a high priority sector this year. The Edtech market is expanding at a rate of 13.9% CAGR with an expectation that that rate will only increase as it gains traction in APAC. The conservative estimate for Edtech’s market potential hovers around $60 billion by 2018. Boston-based Panorama recently received $4M from Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education fund, Google Ventures and others. Other products and services you might know include Edmodo (teacher/student collaboration site with built in dashboards and assessment tools), and Myon (interactive digital library and reader).

LIFESTYLE

Is Your Home Smarter than a 5th Grader?
It will be if Google has anything to say about it. Watch throughout the coming year as the Internet giant works to consolidate its position in this early-stage tech-enabled marketplace. According to Google executives, we will see them carve out an ever-greater stake in the internet-enabled home and wearables markets; and where Google goes, others follow. Google’s acquisition of Nest® is just the first public glimpse into what is a broad, global strategy. Nest thermostats and detectors web-enable home environmental controls from anywhere in the world.

Virtual Currency
Like PayPal a decade ago, Bitcoin has captured the imagination and interest of a broader marketplace. It will soon be joined – and the market validated — by Amazon Coins. Smartphone apps such as Bitcoin Wallet (a new Google extension for multiple platforms) are already leveraging the trend; and, if that’s not enough, the fact that bank regulators are swooping in to “keep the peace” should verify that our smartphones will soon replace our wallets too.

Augmented Reality
While virtual reality replaces the real environment with simulation, augmented reality will enhance, engage and the market through sense-and-respond, portable, wearable technology. Google glasses are just the tip of this capability – we envision more sophisticated and seamless applications by year-end. Volkswagen’s VWJuicedUp app allows users to point their mobile devices at a marker on their billboards to watch the car burst through the billboard. Check out the video here.

Are you on the cusp of a trend or innovation that will break in the coming year? If so, let’s talk – Corey thrives on innovation and new ideas.


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