Complex Made Simple

Digital-driven innovation set to lead business and media in 2014

Wearable fundraising, smart wigs, e-government and ambient Bluetooth consumer messaging will trend next year, according to Mindshare

Digital technology will continue to provide new connections, revenue streams and communications channels for brands, consumers, charities and businesses, according to leading global media agency network, Mindshare.

Norm Johnston, chief digital officer at Mindshare Worldwide, is an expert in marketing and believes that next year will see a number of unexpected developments.

“At Mindshare, we believe that everything begins and ends with media, and that is underlined by the hugely ambitious projects global organisations are working on to launch in the next 12 months. Companies have to get more and more creative in order to capture the attention of consumers. That means they will try to find new touchpoints, technology and strategies to capture the imagination of increasingly discerning audiences,” he says.

Here are the top trends that Mindshare claims will dominate in 2014:

1.            The rise of the sharing ephemeral

Next year we will see an increase in the popularity of apps, such as Snapchat and Wickr, that enable users to establish multimedia conversations that erase themselves after a given period of time. The flirtatious and secretive nature of these apps is driving adoption and you can expect plenty more companies to take advantage of this technology.

2.            Adaptive government

Governments and political parties are beginning to switch on to the fact that they need to embrace technology to remain relevant. In 2014, we’re going to see more tech-led initiatives to engage with voters everywhere in the world. Already in the UK, prime minister David Cameron and some of his cabinet announce new initiatives over Twitter and in Germany the police use an app that detects Neo-Nazi lyrics in music.

3.            The internet of weird things

Wearable technologies – particularly health-related devices – have finally become affordable, accurate and accessible, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Sony has filed a patent for the ‘smart wig’, which will be able to process data and communicate wirelessly with other external devices, while Microsoft has developed a ‘smart bra’ with sensors that monitor heart and skin activity to provide an indication of mood levels. Expect 2014 to be the year when the internet of things gets pretty weird.

4.            Sound takes centre stage

In 2014, we will see companies rediscovering the power of sound, and not just through radio. Consumers will receive more messages by BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) with companies, as Sonic Notify and Apple are already leveraging ambient sound to reach consumers at the key purchase decision-making times. Meanwhile, Mindshare and Shazam have also launched AUDIO+ – a partnership to allow brands to leverage their investment in sound.

5.            Fitness + Charity + Technology + Fashion = Money

Charities will also benefit from technology, with apps such as Charity Miles, where consumers earn money for their favourite causes by tracking their fitness. Consumers like something for nothing, so interacting with brands and getting a value in return will become important – and a great way for charities to raise cash.

6.            Google, Facebook and Twitter…beware

There’s no doubt that 2013 was the year of the social and search giants, record revenues, IPOs and future predictions of huge growth. Watch out, as 2014 will be the year of the guys who actually sell stuff. Amazon and Alibaba lead the field, and e-commerce in China alone is worth $1.4 trillion. Alibaba, fuelled by Taobao and T-Mall, has become the world’s largest online retailer, selling more than $170 billion in goods in 2012, which is more than eBay and Amazon combined. These guys will look at leveraging their huge scale and reaching into the world of digital advertising – and when they get it right, Google better watch out.