The Shift Toward The East and South: In addition to China in the East and India in South-East Asia, he referred to the Germany-Poland-Russian cluster in Eastern Europe, observing that as long oil stays above $100 a barrel Russia will continue to be a formidable economic power. The Southern axis of opportunity points to Latin America and Brazil, which will host the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Other significant areas would be the Middle East and Africa, and in particular South Africa.
Disintermediation: The web has, and will continue to create new business models and an attractive destination for consumers.
Shrinking capacity in Human Capital: In most categories there is still a significant supply overcapacity because of the growth of South Korean, Chinese, Indian and Brazilian manufacturing. While there seems to be no shortage in capacity, human capital is becoming scarcer. Aging populations, even in countries like Pakistan and Mexico which have a majority of teens at the present time, will make it harder 20 years from now for companies to find, incentivize, and motivate talent.
Greater Retail Power: As Wal-Mart, Tesco, and Carrefour continue to face a tough, competitive environment, they are likely to lean harder on manufacturers, especially Consumer Packaged Goods [CPG] companies which, in turn, are likely to apply more pressure on their suppliers.
Growing Importance of Internal Communications: Every CEO is now focused on internal communications, which is seen see as a key challenge and opportunity to make sure that people understand and live “the brand,” as well as the vision and strategy of the company.
Eliminating Regional Structure: Companies are centralizing power in tandem with the increase of local influence. With the increase of central and local operations he foresees regional management becoming intermediated, and technology will expedite this trend.
The Rise of Finance: The collapse ofLehman Bros. in 2008 impacted corporate behavior more than it affected consumer behavior. Sorrell predicts that companies are likely to maintain a cautious financial stance for the foreseeable future, and sees finance and procurement as playing a more active role than marketing.
Big Government Is Here To Stay: The financial crisis has brought about a bigger role for government in many countries, with increased oversight and regulations. This development is not likely to be reversed in the near future, in Sorrell’s opinion.
Sustainability Has Been Adopted As A Good Business Practice: This is front and center issue for every CEO. No CEO can risk greenwashing, and sustainability is now at the heart of corporate business strategy.
Client-Agency Relations: Another salient point made was that agency consolidations are driven primarily by compensation pressure, and the relationships and the advertising industry’s structure are determined by that pressure.