British American Business – UK General Elections: Outlook and Predictions
At the end of January, we attended an event that was hosted by British American Business, the leading transatlantic business organisation. The event sought to predict the UK’s general election results on May 7. Panellists answered questions about a possible future coalition government, what issues would be key in the campaign, and the role of regionalism.
Philip Stephens, Associate Editor, Financial Times, said that while Labour is leading the polls, most voters favour Cameron as PM. But coalition building, which is becoming the new norm in British politics, will favour Labour. He also stressed that this years’ elections will be characterised by the populists: Farage, Boris, and Salmond.
Simon Wells, Chief UK Economist, HSBC, commented on the role the economy would play. He said that the current economic situation would favour the Conservatives. The public finances are back in balance, unemployment is down, and the fiscal deficit has shrunk by 50 per cent. But in 2010 the Tories had promised a surplus by 2015. Labour, on their part, will argue that real term wages have stagnated even though employment is kept relatively low.
Merryn Somerset, Editor-in-Chief, MoneyWeek, argued that even though British politics have become more regionalist, not enough attention is given to the SNP, for instance, whose membership has multiplied by five. The SNP will take many seats from Labour in Scotland, but they will also be more open to a Labour coalition.
British American Business – Tech Trends in 2015
At a recent event, we were able to get a closer look at the technology trends expected to drive activity this year.
Paul Lee, Head of Global TMT Research at Deloitte – who has authored Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications UK Predictions 2015 report – outlined the main trends, which were largely supported by the second speaker, Chris Duncan, CMO at News UK.
From a media and communications perspective, it was interesting to see data confirming the fact that people today are still spending a lot on media content; we appear to value different media sources and are prepared to pay to collect them. Organisations will also need to ensure that content is optimised for mobile, given the growth in smartphones.
Elsewhere, the rise of so-called “vloggers” has been reported widely by the media, suggesting that there could be a role for businesses in redirecting their broadcast efforts away from traditional mediums. However, the reality is that while short-form video content should certainly be utilised – given the ability to syndicate relatively low-cost content quickly and to a large audience – it is certainly not going to replace television.
Other technological developments, such as drones and the Internet of Things, will continue to generate interest among media and consumers alike, but their impact will largely be superficial.
From a communications perspective, organisations will need to go beyond the basics to understand how technology is continually changing audiences’ behaviours and the touch points available to them, and act accordingly.