Where Is Business Going in 2014?

Business trends of 2014, robotics, video, social business, KaizenBizAs one year ends, it is always interesting to see what people anticipate coming in the next year. On LinkedIn, there is an interesting group of posts from business thinkers and leaders giving their suggestions about what we might see. As you might expect, some of the trends are built on technology or ideas started in earlier years while others are potentially new ways of engaging with the world. The interesting thing to discover over 2014 will whether these trends are more like an unfolding or truly transformative.

What is coming next?

On our Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz and elsewhere, there has been so much talk about the uncertainty and rapid change which has made many business owners and executives reluctant to invest, hire or embark on growth projects. There is always that optimism that somehow things will be more understandable or predictable in a new year. It may be that 2014 might be an interesting year as people and companies decide to take action because sitting still will leave them too far behind.

Here are some of the trends and ideas that could gain traction in 2014:

  • 3D Printing- This one seems pretty obvious since there is a great deal of excitement around 3D printing. Mike Michalowicz, CEO of the Provendus Group writes in OPEN Forum that these printers will come down in price and make it easier for companies to produce on demand. There are some thinkers who believe that this will change manufacturing and even allow for greater customizing of products.
  • Robotics- This has been an interesting area over the years and as Verne Harnish writes on CNN Money that more widespread use of robots will reduce headcount in manufacturing and increase productivity.
  • Video- This trend seemed to emerge in 2013 but is becoming more favored. Interesting statistics about how and what people view. Google and search engines appear to be giving more weight to video content
  • Emerging markets- While the BRIC nations and other emerging markets are slowing, an EY report and Barron’s suggest that these might be places of growth later in 2014. In fact, there is some discussion that people should watch Indonesia and Africa.
  • Social business- With the IPO of Twitter in late 2013 and the ongoing public performance of Facebook, social business has shown it can be more than a fad. According to Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay and author of The Facebook Era, social business will cement itself as a tool that all companies use and support the relational trend in marketing and sales.

 Where do you think business is going in 2014?

Whether you agree with the writers of the LinkedIn 2014 predictions or the other posts cited here, it is always interesting to stop and see what is emerging (or even lurking) in the months ahead. And there are lots more predictions about the future of marketing, leadership, the workplace, the global economy and many other aspects of business.

What do you see staying the same? Changing? Or simply being brand new? Join us this Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz as we peer into the future of 2014.

What trends of 2013 surprised you?

What didn’t happen in 2013?

Which 2014 business trends are expanding on ideas or trends from 2013?

What is the most unusual 2014 business trend that you have heard?

What business trends for 2014 do you see gaining traction?

 

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Multi-Directional Expressive Capability-Gold Dust For Organisations?

This post is by guest blogger, John Twohig, co-founder of the Ahain Group , a social business consultancy based in Ireland. Please join us to explore MDEC: Multi-Directional Expressive Capability with John Twohig this Friday, July 13th, at 12pm ET/5pm BST/9am PT on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz

Through-out history, humans have possessed the ability to express themselves by speech, body language, song, and the written word. Historically this meant we had to physically gather together in groups, large or small, for multi-directional expression to take place. By this I mean more than two people are involved in conversation and people expressing themselves freely and in different ways.

With the advent of Online Social Media Platforms that has all changed. Just logging onto your chosen platform allows you to instantly enter a “Mutli-Directional” conversation or dialogue. This allows you to exercise your “Expressive Capability”. For a Social Business Strategy to have success, it is my opinion that MDEC activity is the gold dust, one of key drivers and measurement of ROI.

This Multi-Directional Expressive Capability is spooking business and traditional marketers. They feel they have no control over the conversation’s direction after they put their message out onto the online space.

It is this very MDEC communication model that gives Social its power. Originally the marketing message direction was one way (what is referred to as broadcasting or push marketing). As in, then-a TV adverts tells you about a companies product/service; a one way conversation. Now, thanks to Social Platforms the messages are:

  1. Business 2 Consumer(B2C)
  2. Consumer 2 Business(C2B)
  3. Consumer 2 Consumer about Business (C2CaB)

Businesses and organisations feel they cannot control the C2CaB aspect of the conversation. In the C2CaB aspect of the conversation, consumers can and will discuss, review and /or rate your product or service in an honest open discussion.

Old Model

Broadcasting your marketing message is not the correct model for online marketing. Content has to motivate the online community. There has to be an edu-tainment value to inspire the community to express why they are happy or unhappy with your business/organisation. Coca-Cola is now measuring their success by the total amount of “Expressions” rather then the old metric of “Impressions”.

What are Impressions

Impressions are created when somebody clicks on a landing page containing a promotion. The numbers of clicks/impressions the advert receives indicates the ability of the company to drive traffic to that advert. The problem is I could really like an advertisement and not take action.  In fact, I could like the advertisement so much that I click on that page numerous times and never buy the product.

Expressions

Expressions are different…and the best way to measure your online success. If you take action and express an opinion about the business or organisation, you are contributing to that online community and online profile.

  • Commenting on their blog
  • Posting on their Facebook wall
  • Commenting on their posts on Facebook
  • Sharing their content with your community
  • RTing Tweets which you find interesting
  • Sharing your content with their community

Above are just six of the ways you can take action. This expression of interest in a business or organisation is the metric that Coca-Cola is now using to measure its online marketing success. There are many more methods of expression but the list above contains some of the most popular.

The Benefit

“Social Proof” and “Peer to Peer” recommendations are the gold dust to online marketing. These expressions are what all businesses and organisations should be pursuing to grow their market share and increase their profile in today’s popular culture. This Nielsen Report should provide some food for thought.

Real engagement matters

MDEC will help business, organisations and communities gain exposure in the online space. In a new model such as todays’ social platforms, which are only 7 years old, it will take time for people to adjust. People are driving this change as they are intolerant of businesses and organisations that are not authentic. They are intolerant of companies’ management do not engage and they are certainly intolerant of businesses and organisations that do not make an effort to edu-tain them.

How can the MDEC model help biz/orgs leverage “The Wisdom of Crowds” to achieve innovation and efficiencies?

What would be the most important area to focus a Social Business Strategy

If  impressions do not measure engagement, what role do they play in MDEC?

How would you describe the ideal model for marketing to consumers?

About the author: John Twohig is Co-Founder at the Ahain Group, Social Business Strategist and Blogger. He is the first person to name the new communication model that online social platforms facilitate, Multi-Directional Expressive Capability (MDEC) and its benefits to business and organisations.

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