JWT’s 100 things to watch in 2014—with 2013 list expert comments

Traditionally, at the end of each year the research firm JWT Intelligence releases the list of Top 100 Things to Watch for the coming 12 months. While in 2013 the most trending topics were the rise of «appcessories,» peer-to-peer partnerships, detoxification and mindful living, in 2014 we might witness the boom of haptic technology, so-called heads-up movement and development of edible packaging. Among major global events to watch, JWT analysts name the Winter Olympics in Russia, FIFA World Cup in Brazil,  and the first-ever commercial space flight served by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Overall, most items from the 100 Things To Watch list are technology-centric, like Internet safety tools, boom of robots or techno-paranoia. Other trends revolve around innovations in food and drinks industry, new social and ethical regulation (in regard to online privacy, use of Google Glass etc), as well as new techno-behaviors, such as contemplative computing or digital grieving.

The hottest topic of the past consecutive years has been 3D printing for commercial, medical, educational or entertainment purposes. See the the remaining 99 things to watch in 2014 below, while we recollect what the industry people thought would be trending in the year of 2013 and why.

Darren Foley, Managing Director, Pearlfisher, London

Thing to Watch #68: Online groceries

«The most powerful brands of the future will stop thinking physical first and take an informed approach to a borderless world – creating brand design which sits seamlessly within an integrated world, that is equally as strong online—at 20 pixels—as it is on-shelf. This direction could maximize differentiation and strengthen the totality of the offer for uninspiring, sedentary categories—like frozen food— potentially enabling radical transformation.»

Thing to Watch #33: Fitness beyond the gym

«Humans are starting to push themselves—and their bodies—to new limits through extreme and outdoor sport and adrenalin initiatives. Already we are seeing a rise in activities such as the Polar Circle Marathon and training regimes such as Tough Mudder—as much about mental toughness as physical exercise…and this will prompt the creation of a new brand aesthetic that reflects our desire to optimize ourselves and our lives.»

Greg Taylor, Director of Brand Provocation, Elmwood, London

Thing to Watch #41: Handwriting = Hieroglyphics = Death of creative eloquence

«Maybe the writing isn’t on the wall for handwriting. Talk to the best creative designers and they all start generating great ideas by ‘pencil thinking’. None of them jump straight onto the keyboard. Why? Not surprisingly when you pick up a pencil and doodle the motor skills needed slow us down compared to typing. This enables us to make stronger visual connections between pencil, paper and brain. And so new and surprising links are made, then boom—the big idea! Now try doing that with qwerty.»

Kate Waddell, Director of insight and innovation, Dragon Rouge London

Thing to Watch #50: JOMO

«JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) will shake things up for brands with a hitherto often myopic obsession with digital.

Just as the handwritten letter became ‘cool with kids’ and ‘meeting up’ the ‘new’ social thing to do, JOMO could be where it’s at.

Throw into the mix an increasingly concerned parental generation feeling the shockwaves of being ‘digitally open all hours’—both from the kids’ and parents’ angle and you’ve got a practical and ethical storm brewing that could see us relearning how to connect.»

Brendan Abbott, business development at Ikano Financial Services

Thing to Watch #72: Personal data ownership

“Consumers recognise that they want to be rewarded for sharing their personal data and their loyalty, and they want their reward to be convenient to them. We’re already enabling retailers to do this by helping them to make sure that customers don’t forget their traditional reward tokens. We are doing this by providing mobile rewards to make sure that customers are always connected and always engaged with the value of their business.”

Gavin Wheeler, CEO at WDMP

Thing to Watch #72: Personal data ownership

«As well as consumers becoming increasingly savvy around the value of their data to brands, they are also becoming curious about how they can make the most of their personal data to make their lives better—‘data myning’. In 2013 they will favour those brands that use data to proactively offer customers help and advice on how to improve their behaviour.

Manilla and Movenbank are great examples of how this has been leveraged—aggregating data into one personalised lifestyle dashboard.»

 Simon Wright, Managing Director at Greenwich Design, London

Thing to Watch #50: JOMO

«I think that we are in real danger of suffering information overload. Nobody seems to ask themselves first, ‘is this information I need or want to know’. Is it that innate characteristic in human beings just to search on the off chance of bumping into something that hits the mark?

It’s as though the TV channel surfer, who spent the night drifting from one channel to the next, has moved on to web surfing. Putting aside complex tasks to indulge in Social Media is appealing to us all.

Having said that, I love to find an App that makes a difference, that makes life easier. Radio Cloud is brilliant. It’s a radio, nothing more, but the interface is great.»