Last year we predicted big things for brands like Nintendo, Netflix and Uber and there’s no doubt they had a stellar year (despite the state of the world as a whole…) but with a new year now safely started, it’s time to look forward to 2017. The world of digital continues to grow, with advancement in technology and investment in digital spaces increasing every day, but who’s going to be dominating the space this year? Here are our brands to watch out for in 2017...
Who would have thought that Teen Vogue would be one of the major sources of journalistic integrity following Trump’s election? With a new editor-in-chief at the helm, they’re already proving that media by and for teenagers definitely shouldn’t be dismissed this year, with some scathing investigative journalism and stellar think-pieces under their belts.
The digital sphere has long been thought of as a young person’s space, and whilst that’s not necessarily always the case, Teen Vogue is proving that teenagers hold some serious sway - and that the content they produce has the power to make waves across the Internet. It’s a strategy that worked well for Rookie before them - a publication that was only possible because of digital and social media - and I think we’ll only see more teenage trailblazers hitting our screens as the year progresses.
Apple vs. Microsoft
In previous years, at Engage we’ve always favoured Apple products. The general ecosystem was sleek, they look great in the office and the build quality has always been top notch so we’ve been able to forgive the relatively underpowered hardware. Recently, however, the company seems determined to remove useful and powerful features in favour of a more casual, consumer friendly approach. Along with the increase in price and decrease in hardware power, this has unfortunately put us digital professionals out in the cold.
However, with every misstep that Apple makes, Microsoft seems to be taking another in the right direction. Their new hardware is turning heads and, while Windows 10 does have its flaws, I’d argue that macOS has more fundamental issues at this point. If they can simplify their ecosystem and generally make their online presence a little more human-friendly I could see them and their hardware partners stealing more and more of a previously Apple dominated market.
Last year, Google finally released their own phone, in the form of the Google Pixel, to positive critical reviews alongside strong sales. They’ve also updated their VR headset; so long cardboard and hello Daydream View! Even when only available for a few months of last year, they managed to sell over half a million. We also expect to see an update to their Pixel Chromebook with support for Android apps, combining their app ecosystems.
There’s no doubt that 2017 is going to be big for Google, especially when combined with Apple delivering a 2016 full of awkward product launches, with seemingly every new gadget being coupled with disappointment rather than exciting (that headphone jack, anyone?).
Tesla have obviously been a brand to watch for some time now, but this year in particular could be the start of a backlash against climate change deniers, especially in lieu of the Trump administration.
Tesla are a company fronted by Elon Musk, the man behind the exceptionally inventive business ventures PayPal and SpaceX. Like Steve Jobs was at Apple, Musk’s forward thinking and determination make him a brand unto himself. The exploration into battery power and the magnificent Gigafactory aim to drive the cost of the technology down, hopefully before competitors (such as Chinese EV batteries) can spell trouble for the brand. Along with the introduction of their Powerwall and the Model 3, I'd be willing to bet that Tesla are one to keep an eye on.
Nvidia has been producing graphics cards for computers and gaming for years; however, recently they’ve made some interesting moves and their chips are now powering the emergence of driverless car technology and artificial intelligence applications. Processing power is shifting from the CPU to GPUs, and Nvidia are certainly the market leader in this field. Not only that, but they have entered the consumer market with products such as the Nvidia Shield - a sort of 4k gaming streaming device. 2017 may yet see more surprises from them!
Monzo (or Mondo before it had to change) is one of the new breed of “challenger banks”. It currently exists only as a prepaid debit card linked to an app; however, they have been approved for full bank status, which is due to launch in 2017. Monzo gives real time feedback on spending, no usage fees abroad and free transfers to other users. In essence, there really is nothing revolutionary here, just things big banks should already be doing; as Monzo quite rightly say, why does it take days to update your account status? I believe 2017 and beyond will see more people move towards companies such as Monzo who genuinely seem to put the customer experience first. Shoutout to Bulb Energy on that point as well!
In 2016 Netflix expanded its Netflix Original content massively and cut ties with some film distributors. This was seen as a big gamble at the time but has paid off for the company with huge growth in subscriptions at the close of 2016. In 2017 we can expect to see the Netflix Original brand becoming a more common household name with even more big shows bolstering a very healthy library. Netflix Original is quickly becoming a mark of quality, and long may it continue!