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From Mobile to Music: 6 Brand Marketing Trends for the New Year

We kicked off the year by chatting up our experts around the globe for their marketing predictions—from entertainment, sports and music to mobile, social and content marketing. So skip the gym and pop another bottle, brands and marketers, because we predict an exciting year ahead!

1. Focus on Mobile Entertainment

Overall, we’re going to see mobile continuing to grow into one of the most important entertainment consumption channels. That means artists will need to look for new and innovative ways to engage fans via mobile and brands will need to make mobile a focal point of their marketing plans. I also think that putting a focus on empowering millenials is going to be key next year. Brands and artists will move toward letting millenials participate in the messaging and allow them to customize things based on individual tastes.

And since I’m a music guy, here’s a list of artists I’m going to be watching (and listening to) in 2014: DJ Cassidy, Vance Joy, Chance the Rapper, Jeremy Messersmith, Kid Ink, Twin Forks.

- Casey Gartland, Senior Account Director, Music & Entertainment (Los Angeles)

2. World Cup Mania

In Latin America, we’re all thinking about one thing for this year – the World Cup. (And as an agency, we've been writing and reflecting on the upcoming event since last summer in our World Cup Countdown.) We’re in World Cup semester up through mid-July with the final preparations of host cities, the infrastructure constructions that will (or won’t be) ready for the Cup, and finally, the arrival of the 32 teams and their fans. The whole world will focus its attention toward Brazil. I don’t expect it to be a perfectly organized World Cup, but surely a fun one.

- Celso Schvartzer, Latin American Lead (São Paolo)

3. Expanding Content Strategy

Spurred by Oreo's now-infamous "You can still dunk in the dark" tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl, brands will continue striving to prepare themselves for that perfect real-time moment. I work with brands on their Nascar sponsorships, and I know from experience and research that brands who produce real-time race-day content see social engagement that's exponentially higher than those who don't.

Another major trend for next year goes hand-in-hand with the one above, and that's a blurring of the lines between branded content and true editorial journalism. The Red Bull Stratos jump is the perfect example of real-time content from a brand that was so good, so unique, that it was covered editorially by news outlets all over the world. I think this is a particularly tricky subject, and we'll see even more blurring between native advertising, branded content and true editorial coverage in the coming year.

- Tim McCord, Vice President of Digital Strategy (Milwaukee)

4. Sports & Social Shake-Up

Sport has generally been behind the curve of social and digital innovation, and looks set for a bit of dotcom disruption like music, publishing and news media have all experienced. Look at the gaming industry and the launch of FIFA 2014: Gameplay runs 24/7, and 1 terabyte of game play data is uploaded to EA Sports servers each day. This lets clubs see global 'heat maps' of where gamers are playing as their team. Clubs such as Manchester City have analyzed that data to see if they can learn anything about team selection.

Of course, not all fans are active gamers—but most are on social media. I expect seismic innovation in how brands engage with sports fans via social. Well-engineered channels will allow fans to increasingly become part of the everyday life of their clubs. Indeed most clubs, be it soccer, NFL, baseball, or rugby, were social networks long before the web, and this presents a great opportunity for innovation on these digital networks, particularly with a World Cup in 2014.

- Matthew Mayes, Head of Digital (London)

5. More Brand-Band Partnerships

The music industry has changed so much in recent years, giving bands and artists tons of new opportunities with brand sponsorships. Potentially, a band can make much more money through sponsorships than through music streaming services or other basic content output. On the flip side, comprehensive partnerships let brands utilize the whole power of a band, including their creative talents, their social media following and their overall worldwide appeal.

I expect to see more of these mutually beneficial and lucrative combinations next year and beyond. The trick is to find an artist or band that is a good fit for your brand – and vice versa – a brand that’s a great fit for a particular sound and creativity.

-Pete Joseph, VP Entertainment (Chicago)

6. Jetsons-Style Stadium Experiences

One new thing that's likely to raise the bar on "futuristic” mobile technology is Bluetooth Low Energy in smartphones, which is a much more viable alternative to the NFC (near field communication) we were all talking about a year ago. By leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy, smartphones can enable precise location tracking for iOS7 devices and Android with Bluetooth beacons. They’re much more effective than GPS —and ideal for indoor use. This means huge changes in the mobile engagement game at retail, sporting events and in cities.

In April, MLB will launch Bluetooth experiences in stadiums, and soon every facility featuring a ball, puck, hoop or goal post will be use proximity to enhance the consumer experience and provide value to visitors. Your next visit to a stadium may include a personalized welcome message on your phone, with your food order waiting at the concession stand next to your seats. And forget about taking out your wallet, credit card or phone to complete the transaction, because the beacon knows you are there and enables the charge to your account so you can quickly get back to the game!

- Alan Simkowski, Vice President, Mobile Solutions (Chicago)

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