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[Trends 2015] 15 global trends for 2015

From the Sharing Economy to Virtual Reality Marketing, a Tactile Internet and Thought Control, these are some of the trends which will influence business and brands for years to come.
While there are very specific trends for 2015 in consumer insight for the South African and African market, we can't ignore the mega-trends and shifts in the marketing landscape internationally.

This is our list of some of the most interesting trends ahead, curated from top marketing, branding, advertising and tech brands and media, internationally, with all the relevant links for further information and sharing:

1. The sharing economy

As the internet enables the efficient sharing of information with unprecedented ease, the idea of a sharing economy is potentially huge, says Ericsson Consumer Lab in its annual mobile consumer 2015 trends report. It basically enables consumers to enjoy the benefits of use without the hassle of ownership in areas beyond that of transportation only. "In our research we found that more than half of smartphone owners are already open to renting other people's leisure equipment, rooms and household appliances. 46% could even imagine using a smartphone app to book a dinner in someone else's home." Download 'Hot consumer Trends 2015' by Ericsson Consumer Lab.

[Trends 2015] 15 global trends for 2015

2. Maker movement

One of the mega-trends to note is the Maker Movement which has been credited with the rise of the Maker Economy - a more collaborative, creative economic model for the future. 'Maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture, including art, crafts and creativity. 'Maker culture' emphasises learning-through-doing (constructivism) in a social environment. The rise of the maker culture is closely associated with the rise of hacker spaces, Fab Labs and other maker spaces, of which there are now many around the world, including over 100 each in Germany and the United States. Hackerspaces allow like-minded individuals to share ideas, tools, and skillsets.' (Source: Wikipedia). Mainstream business publications like Time and Forbes, as well as marketing and technology media, are now starting to follow the Maker Movement and highlight this burgeoning substrata of mainstream business and culture.

3. Internet of Things

With wearables going mainstream and the internet connecting our devices to everything else, there is the need for "deep knowledge" of smart devices and the "rise of DevOps" in advertising agencies, along with the acquisition of new talent in the form of hardware engineers to get involved in the development of product design and 3D printing and "prototyping products so that a creative idea may now be given some physical form," reports AdAge in its trend report for 2015.

4. Predictive marketing

JWTIntelligence's Future 100 report for 2015, reports that big data is enabling extreme personalisation and also predictive marketing and retail, to track "serendipitous discovery" which resonates with consumers and is what marketers need to unlock. "There's a tension between the convenience and opportunity offered by predictive retail and advertising, and rising recognition of the importance of randomness, chance and surprise. Innovators and technologists will increasingly focus on incorporating chance discovery to complement prediction and automation."

5. Visual content marketing

Visual content marketing is more successful than any other form of communication, says Reuters. Marketers who embrace visual content reap the rewards of higher returns - in terms of more fans, followers, readers, leads, clients and, of course, revenue. "Visual content drives engagement. Neuromarketing science confirms it."

6. Wearables

Ad Age reports that wearables will change how agencies operate, as wearables and smart devices will produce a lot of data and agencies need to know how those devices work and mine that data for insights. "Most importantly, wearables will provide marketers and agencies with data that has more situational context than adland has previously seen."

7. Tactical Internet

JWT Future 100 describes the 'Tactile Internet' as a "Sufficiently responsive, reliable network connectivity which will enable [haptic technology, robots and the Internet of Things] to deliver physical, tactile experiences remotely." They refer to the Tactile Internet as a "true paradigm shift" which will be able to interconnect with the traditional wired internet, the mobile internet and the Internet of Things- thereby forming an internet of entirely new dimensions and capabilities." Watch.

[Trends 2015] 15 global trends for 2015

8. Virtual reality marketing

Virtual reality is one of the trends from CES 2015 that could change advertising forever. While still mainly part of the 'trade show' floor, Virtual Reality Marketing got a shot in the arm with the cheap cardboard headset released by Google which could put it in reach of the consumer. It is envisioned that virtual reality "experiences" for consumers will contain advertising units, much like in video games and television advertising, reports Portada-Online.

9. Cognitive technology

It's not quite AI (Artificial Intelligence), but cognitive technology is about systems that "learn over time to predict and intuit human desires that are being integrated into consumer devices. With the advent of intelligent personal assistants like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Google Now, we're moving toward a future in which mobile devices harness AI and the rich data contained in a phone - calendar, search history, payment history and social media activity - to anticipate their owners' needs, JWTIntelligence highlights in Future 100.

10. Third-way commerce

"Charity and profitability have traditionally been viewed as mutually exclusive, but a new wave of business models is establishing a 'third-way' that combines social good with sales and marketing-and it's proving popular with ethically minded Millennials."
JWTIntelligence advises brands that rather than focus their efforts on self-serving content, brands should increasingly use innovation and social initiatives with genuine merit to tell their stories, and let social media do the rest.

11. Culture of enrichment

This year will also be the year that people seek to get the very best from themselves and the most from their lives, reports Added Value. "They will be increasingly aware that they only live once - and want to squeeze every last drop. They will want to be actively involved, deeply enriched and want to seize every single day."

12. Post-demographic consumerism

People - of all ages and in many markets - are constructing their own identities more freely than ever and post-demographic consumerism is one of's top trends for 2015. The outcome is that consumption patterns are no longer defined by 'traditional' demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and more. "Successful products, services and brands will transcend their initial demographics almost instantaneously. Never stop scanning all demographics for relevant new innovations."

13. Behavioural economics

There needs to be a new research model that looks at the problem of why people have stopped buying your client's product. The Guardian reports that advertising and marketing are a little too fixated with changing the way we think about brands, rather than changing the way we buy and urges that behavioural insights could help agencies and brands stand out in a crowded category.

14. Collaborative creativity

People will seek genuine inspired collaboration - and the chance to bring together the best minds, ideas and opportunities, predicts Added Value. "The connections people make will aim to give new perspectives, new insights, new stories, even new skills. They will be deep, rich and enlightening."

15. Thought control

A vast majority of consumers think we will be able to use our thoughts to control domestic appliances by 2020. Ericsson Consumer Lab found that over a third of consumers are interested in using a smart watch that conveys touch gestures or their pulse to others. Interestingly, 40% of smartphone users would like to use a wearable device to communicate with others directly through thoughts - and more than two-thirds believe this form of communication will be commonplace by 2020. 72% of those surveyed think we will also use our thoughts to control household appliances by 2020. Download 'Hot consumer Trends 2015' by Ericsson Consumer Lab.

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TRENDAFRiCA is a trend watching portal on consumer insight, research and trends from South Africa and further afield on the continent of Africa. It includes DAiLY trends headlines from around the world, influential Trendspotter columnists and in-depth reports on industry segments. Louise Marsland is the founder and editor.
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