FEATURE27 December 2013

2014 Preview: Most likely to succeed

Prediction-making is a precarious business, but who can resist a bit of crystal ball gazing at the turn of the year? Certainly not our 2014 Preview panellists.

In all, we asked 32 researchers to name the companies or brands most likely to succeed in the coming year. Some picked specific companies; others chose to talk in general terms about the types of businesses likely to thrive.

Below are a selection of their responses:

Stuart Knapman, MD of The Sound UK: “I think we’ll start to see a clearer divergence happening. Bigger agencies will succeed because they’ll have the brains and the deep pockets required to really make sense of all the data that modern connected life generates. They’ll stop asking people what they do, because they’ll already know. Smaller and more dynamic agencies will succeed because they’ll give all of this a human face, they’ll explore the motives and the emotions and the needs and the contradictions that explain the data.
But those stuck in the middle will struggle.”

Andrew Wiseman, MD, ICM: “My tip for 2014 is a mobile payment solution called MCX – the organisation hasn’t made it to the UK yet, but it has some heavyweight support across the pond, with a whole host of retailers signing up as partners. At ICM, we’re pretty sure that mCommerce will be a key battleground for the coming years, and MCX have arguably developed a solution that is more joined up than anything that is currently available in Europe.”

Lenny Murphy, editor, GreenBook Blog: “Who will succeed? Anyone who stays keenly attuned to the dual priorities of technology adoption and delivering vale to consumers on their terms. I pay particular attention to Google: they truly are a fearless company and do get consumer value.”

Felix Koch, Director, Promise Communispace: “Brands that deliver on the promise of knowing the customer well – and that deliver well against that knowledge: British Airways has the potential to do well here.”

Alex Gordon, CEO, Sign Salad: “Those that create partnerships will do well. The giant brands will increasingly need to partner with the smaller, more nimble players. Expect to see some unlikely cross-category tie-ups as a result.”

Ken Parker, chairman, Discovery Research: “Any estate agent in London. And Currys PCWorld: the only electrical retailer where you can touch, feel and play.”

Giles Lury, executive chairman, The Value Engineers: “The companies that will do well and stand out from their competitors in 2014 will be those that realise it’s no longer enough to be single-minded in their marketing. While successful brands will continue to hold an unchanging philosophy and personality close to their heart, the multiplicity of channels and consumer targets across markets will require a new model of branding that enables marketers to flex their propositions accordingly.”

Crispin Beale, CEO, Chime Insight & Engagement: “We’ve undertaken extensive research into the brands that are performing well in terms of ‘good’ business practice and we can predict who will shine in 2014. John Lewis and Waitrose continue to lead the pack, a position that is underscored by what will no doubt be an award-winning Christmas advertising campaign. Other brands that are excelling in terms of positive consumer perceptions are Yeo Valley, VW, PayPal and Virgin Atlantic, who should continue with their current strategy because they are hitting the spot with the public.”

Lida Walsh, senior consultant, Harris Interactive: “There will be serious winners and losers. Retailers will have to start offering more added value rather than just cheap prices. Charities will have great opportunities to get even bigger bite on the increasing donation pot – but they will have to be clever to get that good bite. Automotive industry will revive but they have to react quickly in order to be successful. In retail, John Lewis and Waitrose will do well; in technology Samsung Nexus will do well; in cars, Ford might do well preparing to re-launch the Mustang brand.”

Chloe Fowler, co-founder, Razor: “I think we need more ‘joined up’ brands. I think more brands that act as portals and curators of what we’re buying, choosing and using. I heard several people talk about wanting to centralise Christmas shopping online, for example. Being able to scour all web experiences and bring them together in one easy place.”

Check back next week for the buzzwords of 2014