A new year is coming, what might it bring?

We’re going to summarise some thoughts and instincts around what we think 2016 may bring to our clients and ourselves.

Prediction #1

The employer/employee matching dynamic has an opportunity to become even smarter. Someone will take the step.

I regularly pose a question in seminars/workshops – hopefully in a reasonably balanced way (so as not to encourage a particular response, however this is a raised hand survey). The question:

“If your perfect job exists, and it is a 90-minute commute away, would you accept that role over an 80% perfect job is a 20-minute commute away. Both jobs pay the same for arguments sake.”

I’ve found this is the sort of ratio that can split an audience. To my mind, there is still no ‘real’ killer app or web site for job search. There’s still no “Talent Tinder” (and yes I can hear you all shuddering). There’s a major behavioural difference to actively searching for a job as opposed to being made aware of ‘your perfect job’, and you could enjoy one of those activities passively (as opposed to being spammed for near misses).

The technology platforms for this are more accessible than ever, and less restricted by software licensing and development.

Prediction #2

And on apps – expect some NAFA.

NAFA? Not another F***ing App. Yep. We’re entering the app ice age. The Google and Apple app stores carry amazing products, yet they are also graveyards to thousands of non-scaleable and poor ideas. The crossover between device app and web app can still confuse the mainstream user. The apps that exist without a simple browser-based way to get at your data are betting on something dangerous. Analysts meanwhile have continued to predict the death of the mobile-browser since 2010 – but the browser is still here while NAFA is becoming mainstream.

I look at apps in classical terms (think of Michael E Porter) – the act of downloading the app locks the user into your experience (a moat around the product) in return for better usability. However, users love freedom – needing a complex drawbridge, which they have to download and commit to engage with…is bonkers. Give me platform choice. For example – please let me change my restaurant booking on a website if my phone battery is flat. Please.

We are looking forward to seeing what the new Apple TV offers in this regard.

Prediction #3

Privacy and information protection & security.

Too much has happened in 2015 for this not to be a key focus for brands this year. Hacked databases, identity theft, privacy leaks, copyright ownership, the list goes on. Any data breach in brand terms is a breach of confidence. Target found this out to their cost in 2013, and they have had to live with it in subsequent media exposure and lawsuits since. Users are going to become more demanding, after they become more educated, and providers will need to lift their game and heavily invest in trust-building.

Prediction #4

A race for disruption – 2016 will continue acquisitions or see major brand casualties.

Competitive advantage is becoming even more precious because the barriers (Porter again) are tumbling. The journey to owning a disruptive killer idea can now be proposed, crowdsourced, prototyped and financially backed on a few of web sites within…two weeks? (Think Indie Gogo, Kickstarter, GoFundMe). Companies that lack agility will be continuously ‘chipped’ by fast-acting entrepreneurs, and I think we’ll see the next big wave of early-stage acquisitions of ideas, the likes of which we’ve never seen before by brands attempting to protect market share.

Companies that can develop their fast acting innovation practices now have the opportunity to be rewarded if they bite the bullet. I think there is a big opportunity to integrate innovation from brand lovers and supporters into the early stage of the product planning mix if companies can work out how to reward this.

Prediction #5

Full time before 25 and past 50 is not the only option.

Millennials have made the running for the past 5 years defining how and when they will work. The boom in owner operator of small businesses and charities amongst millennials has shaped much of the employment landscape since 2009.  From 25 years of age to 50 we’ll all choose who we work with, to provide purpose and stable income, but past age that flexibility is more important.


From all of us at eBrands, enjoy the break!


Comments? Thoughts?