Brand and Communication Predictions For 2010 by Johan Ronnestam

This last year, 2009 has been a blast in many ways. Almost every day I’ve received interesting news from friends, other bloggers and my RSS feeds. Even thought we’ve seen one of the most severe economical downturns this year it seems advertising, communication and technology has been the business to be in.
Brands seem to have learned from the history and brand spend has rather gone up than down for a lot of brands. We’ve also seen Twitter and Facebook continue to grown faster than anything else on the planet and social media and open technologies has prospered due to that fact. The iPhone has continued to grow and Android is picking up it’s pace. Google has released lots of new cool products even though the Wave didn’t really become the clean double over head a lot of us expected.
Most brands have been looking for one-offs and as I look back at the 2009 Cannes Lions winners it strikes me that I can’t really remember one single campaign that stood out and changed the world of advertising. We’re slowly moving away from bought space to earned space, this is most certainly the reason why my brain plays these tricks with me.
I’m not gonna spend more of this post summing up 2009. Other people, papers, bloggers and personalities has done a great job doing this already. Instead let’s move on to 2010.

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Here are the Brand and communication predictions for 2010 by Johan Ronnestam


This is more of a change in how we live, consume, work, advertise and communicate. We will of course use all technology available to become more real but we will strive to make things more realistic, true and touchable. As technology, much thanks to notepads, the iPhone and other portable technologies, becomes a part of our everyday life we will in 2010 look for inspiration in the nature and in life.
Brands will think twice about making up false stories about their brands. Product developers cannot trust advertising to sell their products cause transparency will bring you down. When you launch products or services in 2010 you better provide a true and real value – only then will you prosper.
The more we learn to search and compare products online the less room for multiple copies. We will search for the true branch leader and we will find it. Globalization and ease of localization means we’ll choose the best service or product not the locally produced one.

Open Source Win More Ground

Swapping content management systems from proprietary to open source is becoming socially acceptable among IT professionals. And why wouldn’t it. It’s usually better, more cost effective and more up to date.
Creative Commons have extended their program with Science Commons and CC Learn. We’ve already seen sites like Facebook and New York Times being built upon open source code and databases. Still companies seem reluctant to switch to code being written by a community rather than a company. But when the White House switched to Drupal I think we saw the start of a tsunami.
In 2010 Open Source will prosper and hopefully ever after! Sharing is the way forward!

Cloud Computing Will Spread Like Thunder

Most of you probably already got a large part of your digital life in the cloud. Think about it. All those images you’ve put on Facebook or better yet Flickr. That’s the cloud.
Earlier this year we saw the city of Los Angeles switch to Google Apps. There’s probably tons of more examples that I don’t know of but this is definitely one of the first and largest government adoptions of Googles cloud based Microsoft Office competitor.
Evernote, my personal favorite cloud based notebook, reached 2 million users the other day. Another cloud based service that reached 2 million users earlier this year is Dropbox. I’ve been syncing my files with this little sweetie since 2008. Wired, Mashable, MacWorld and PC Mag have all shouted out loud for this wonderful tool. When they launched their iPhone app this summer they completed my home office.
Practically everyone I know working with digital communication uses cloud based tools like Google Apps, Evernote and Dropbox. Once the mainstream users understand that these tools solve every problem a home user and small company has with backup, sync and office we’ll see people moving into the cloud like skydivers free falling from 15000 feet.

Management Consultants Moving Forward Into The Digital Space

If you’re working within digital advertising or communication you might have heard the rumors. Management Consultants like McKinsey and Accenture have put together digital swat teams who’s primary task is to conquer the business from digital agencies like RGA, AKQA, LBI etc.
Clients all over the world have grown tired listening to traditional digital agencies (yep, they’ve become traditional now) who’s employees aren’t senior enough to consider what good the digital world can do for their business. On top of that I’d say that not even 1% of the worlds traditional advertising agencies knows what they’re talking about when the talk future communication but they still got the Marketing Directors by the balls.
This is where the grey suits sees an opportunity. These guys got the CEO’s and Board Members by the ball and that’s worth more than marketing directors and advertising men & women. Will they do a good job? Some might but lots of them still look at the digital world as a single business area. Internet transforms business not distribute them!
Left somewhere in the middle you’ll have the digital agencies of today. They’re not good enough on communication, they don’t understand business processes and the web is about to shift from front-end to back-end.

Web TV Strikes With Full Force

We’ve only seen the beginning of Internet TV. In 2009 most established networks truly made themselves available online and HULU impressed us all by growing faster than you can say disruption. Personally I was privileged to given the assignment to draw up the strategy and design one of Swedens major TV channels, Kanal 5, web TV presence.
As the year passed we slowly saw iPhone apps being approved that let us consume TV however we want whenever we want. In 2010 however we’ll see the next stage. That’s when the TV manufacturers, just like Samsung already has done, start placing network connections into their screens. Suddenly Internet TV will move into our living room again. In the wake of that we’ll see fantastic mashups and recommendation sites that allows us to actually consume internet TV together. Today it’s to much of an ego product. After all, if we have access to everything from everywhere, who get’s to decide what we should look at tonight?
The downside is obvious. People will spend more time again in the sofa. That leads to stupidity. Stupidity leads to lack of innovation. Lack of innovation leads nowhere.
The happy ones are of course the traditional advertisers since the will start filling those internet TV episodes with advertising. The only problem is they cannot get paid what they want yet so we’ll have to live with tons of more ad breaks.

Twitter Spreads Beyond Early Adopters

This wonderful social networking ‘tool’ is loved by more than 18 million people today. And yet we’re all early adopters. One of the main problem is if course who the hell do you explain such a stupid tool as Twitter to someone? They have to try for themselves. It strikes me that none of my childhood friends that I regularly meet still today have used Twitter. Heck, most of them haven’t even started using Facebook. (did I mention their in the finance business).
But just like Facebook this microblog network will spread beyond early adopters and it’s all about invitations. So far Twitter hasn’t bothered to much about making you invite people. Once the make it simple for us users to invite more people as our followers/friends we’ll see Twitter spread like wildfire. Dare I say 100 million people on Twitter once 2010 is over?

Back End Computing Is The New Front End

Business moving their business online calls for enterprise resource planning software integration. And since those guys from the management side of the internet will start telling brands what to do we can definitely expect more complex websites in terms of how they’re built and integrated into the heart of businesses.
In 2010 we’ll see more companies like SnapLogic solving this by providing middleware. We’ll see less digital agencies earning the trust to build these kind of sites. Building a brand presence in 2010 will be about connecting data not creating cool interfaces.

An Augmented World

Layar, Wikitude, Sekai Camera, Twittaround, Avatars augmented promotion toys, Google Goggles, Mini Print Ads and much more.

Many were the augmented initiatives that started to spread via mobile apps and online campaign sites. So far however we’ve only seen the start of it all. As more people start using these technologies we’ll see widespread uses of augmented technology in 2010. It’s actually so obvious so I thought of not including it. Some of you might say it happened in 2009 but to me we’ve only seen the start of it all.

Apple Launch Their Tablet (iSlate?)

I’ve written about this before. But the amount of rumors circulating the web right now is quite enough to say that something must come soon. Not much more to say than if the rumors turn out to be true then I’ll change my media consumption pattern forever in 2010.

3D Printing Get Noticed By The Masses

During this last year I’ve done more than 50 speaking appearances. I often speak about democratization of technology, content and distribution. One part of that section usually is about 3D printing. You heard it right – 3D printing.

Stuff printed at Shapeways by gifted students The Royal High School of Edinburgh
3D printing is a technology that still is a little bit to expensive to be used at home but the awareness of it will surely spread in 2010. As more people become aware about this we’ll see more innovation. Say 2012. That’s when you’ll download Lego from Pirate Bay.

Mobile Handset Explosion Based On Interests

Android is being spread into more handsets every week. Inside that Open Source platform sits the app store that allows you to basically build whatever apps you like. Cost of technology is falling fast. Platforms like Bugbase and Arduino shows technology is no longer exclusive to large multinational corporations.
In 2010 I think, and hope, that we’ll see the first mobile phone brands that focus on segments. Surf brands, sailing brands, wildlife and so on. The opportunities are fantastic for any strong brand with a tribal-like fan base that would die to get their hands on a mobile hand set that positions themselves alongside their ‘star’.
In 2010 a brand, maybe Nike, will build a phone filled with sweet free apps based on the Android platform.

We’ll Form Social Clusters

Some say Facebook might reach 1 billion users in 2010. What that means for digital branding and communication is hard to say. But one effect of us all moving online is overflow of social information. I love my friends online but when you get swarmed with too much content you start to think about clustering. I’ll keep my snowboarding friends in my snowboarding community. I’ll keep my close friends on Facebook. I’ll keep my social media/communication friends on Twitter. Like that we’ll suddenly see people creating social clusters and brands will have a VERY hard time penetrating those clusters.
Personal recommendations will be higher valued than ever and sadly we’ll also see protectionism much like the one already happening when the early social networkers seem pissed about the fact that other people find these tools.
In 2010 we’ll build walls around our social networks. The days of sharing outside our true followers/friends might be over. I sure hope not! But I’m not optimistic.

A New Global Car Brand Focused On Alternative Fuel

I know. This one might sound pretty stupid. But think again. It’s perfect timing for someone with money, ideas and a great industrial network to launch a brand focused solely on cars driven by alternative fuels. The traditional car brands have spent the last 70 years on perfecting fossil fuel driven cars. Their engines are state of the art and it would be practically impossible for you to compete with that industry…unless…all that competence suddenly isn’t worth jack shit.
Today if you’ve got the right connections you can shop all the technology you want on the market. That engine can be replaced with a huge battery. Wind tunnels are digital. You find 10 industrial designers worth the money on every car mechanic. And the world is craving for innovation. This could of course be done by Tata or any of the Chinese car manufacturers. But I think there’s tons of advantages to start ‘clean’. Please let us drive something new in 2010!

Swedens First Digital Election

And to put this post to an end. In Sweden we have our election coming up in 2010. Damn – the net will be swarmed with Barack Obama wannabees. And I’m not sure they will benefit from it. One tip to all you political parties – read my first prediction – STAY REAL!

Well. Then there’s really nothing left for me but to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR! See you in 2010!