12 Trends To Grow Your Business

04/29/2015 02:53 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2015

mail_image_previewThe following is a list of technology-driven trends that will require action on your part if you want them to work for you, and not against you as the future unfolds.

1. Brands Seize Mobile Moments

Mobile computing technology has already changed how we order food, chat with friends, and make transactions on the fly. In order to profit from consumer mobile use in 2015, brands will have to focus on seizing mobile moments on apps that already have consumer's attention.

For example, rather than expecting consumers to download your company's own app, it will become increasingly important that your company embed your services in an existing app that has a strong user base. Don't just rely on consumers to seek you out; go to them.

2. The Ecosystem Grows More Interconnected

Businesses will increasingly need to network within an ecosystem of online partners if they expect to reach and retain customers. The days of preaching your company's gospel to consumers and demanding that they stick to one brand and one family of products is rapidly ending. To avoid alienating customers, frustrated by your lack of compatibility, your company will find it increasingly difficult to function as an island unto itself. It has to function and interact with other platforms, services, and sites in order to cater to the widest possible customer base.  For example, Apple has great products, but its interconnected ecosystem from sourcing raw materials to its growing family of products that work best when they are connected to each other, has made it the most valuable company on the planet, and at the same time, difficult for competitors to replicate.

3. Demand for Clean Water and Organic Food Increases

As I noted in a previous post, the changing status of the world's water supply is making clean H2O an increasingly rare and precious commodity. And with the exponential increase in information exchange made possible by the wired and wireless Internet, consumers are becoming much more aware and sensitive about the sources of the food that they buy and the practices that went into manufacturing it. In addition, Baby Boomers, who want quality and health in their sunset years, are increasingly paying attention to what they consume. This means that blue tech and green-conscious companies have a huge opportunity to profit from using emergent technology to give consumers the high-quality, conscientiously-sourced products that they want.

4. Consumers Continue To Rebel Against Facebook

It's undeniable, Facebook is currently a juggernaut of the Internet. And their increasing need to make money has caused them to push the boundaries of privacy and annoyance with its own users time and time again. In turn, this has meant that companies have increasingly had to tailor their advertising and consumer interaction plans to Facebook standards and prices. While it's true that Facebook will probably maintain its dominance for a good time to come, there's plenty that consumers don't like about the site. You can probably find on your own Facebook feed the curious phenomenon of complaints-about-Facebook-on-Facebook, illustrating both the widespread ambivalence of users toward the site and their apparent dependence on it.

An upstart like Ello can seize the spotlight, however briefly, for no other reason than it basically positions itself as the anti-Facebook. And Snapchat, Tumblr, and Twitter are all active contenders in the game to subvert Facebook. Young people just starting out online don't jump on the site with the same enthusiasm (or in anywhere near the same numbers) as they did a half-generation ago. 2015 could be the year that your fresh new idea for social networking begins to turn the tide and take attention away from the titanic, uncomfortably omnipotent blue feed.

5. Good Writing Matters More

Marketers have become increasingly aware that in our video- and image-saturated world, text still matters. Companies that employ top-notch writers to craft their copy, blogs, social media posts, and responses to customers will stand out as leaders. Good writing communicates style, depth, and purpose in a way that even the most glamorous picture can't. It can make the difference between your company looking smart or looking incompetent on the Internet that perhaps matters most -- the Internet of people.

6. Collaborative Culture Blossoms

The Sharing Economy is growing in prominence. Services like AirBnB, Zipcar, and Lyft allow users to share their home and cars for economic benefit. If the last century was all about ownership, this century is all about sharing, access, mobility, and affinity. In 2015, you need to take into account that your customers are more interested in having access to a service when they want it, rather than bearing the burden of ownership. Find new ways to help people share.

7.  Embrace the Digital School

The days of red brick buildings covered in ivy as the centers of learning and innovation are increasingly being challenged by a new way of thinking coupled with technology. Campus-centric approaches to education are running up against new MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) growing in prominence. Deep learning enabled by augmented reality technology and data-sharing with a social element is rapidly becoming the rule. Many of the young and old geniuses of 2015 are learning their skills virtually and for free. You can take advantage of this trend by networking and hiring from within digital learning platforms and eschewing reliance on old networks of school affiliations.

8. Get Down with Conscious Capitalism

The hard numbers show that community-conscious businesses outperform traditional ones in the long run by a wide margin. Truly inspired business models are now motivated by storytelling and Conscious Capitalism, creating value by leveraging social capital. Social capital is the glue that holds societies together. More simply put, it's trust and affinity. Make your company not only innovative but conscientious and amiable, and you'll gather financial capital at the same time that you earn social capital. It's a win-win for 2015 and beyond.

9. Self-Quantification Expands Into the Emotional Realm

Wearable technology and a vast array of apps have already begun to give users unprecedented real-time reports on their health. Consumers are increasingly interested in tech that tracks and quantifies physical factors like metabolic rate and sleep cycle, but entrepreneurs are also branching out into innovations that track and improve mental well-being as well. Soon we're going to begin collecting data on mood disorders, the efficacy of psychiatric medications, and changing trends in emotional states at the population level. As this year unfolds you will see rapid innovations in tech for healthy bodies and healthy minds.

10. Opportunities for "No Data" Brands

As big players like Facebook and Google increasingly harvest consumer data and serve it up to advertisers, a large segment of consumers will be attracted to brands that simply offer brilliant services, while also loudly and proudly rejecting the collection of their customers' personal data. This means that, paradoxically, your company could earn business by not collecting user data in the midst of our big data-driven world.

11. Sustainable is the New Status Symbol

As social and environmental consciousness spreads, the most iconic sustainable products will come to the forefront of desirability. A vehicle like the Tesla Model S will attract customers regardless of the price of oil who want to proclaim how much they care. When resources become scarce, such caring becomes in vogue.

12. Digital Currency Rises

As all business moves onto the mobile Internet and into the cloud, digital currency solutions become more urgent and important. Advances ranging from cryptocurrency like Bitcoin to internet-accessible sales platforms like Square will matter more. We can predict that digital currencies will be a hugely important arena of investment and exchange this year and in the future.

Reading about trends is one thing, taking action on them is another.  What actions will you take today?

Copyright 2015 Burrus Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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