With just 8 days left until Christmas, the round-up lists and top tens are coming in thick and fast. Whilst some of them may be dross, others can provide a fairly in-depth overview of what’s happened in the past 12 months, and how things have moved on. One such example is the 2013 Most Contagious report, published by Contagious Magazine a few days ago. Providing a retrospective of some of the developments and innovations that have happened in the world of marketing communications, consumer culture and technology, it’s a comprehensive snapshot of what caused a stir in 2013. Here are a few of our highlights in our End of Year Report:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the role of technology and its increasing ability to make our lives easier, faster, and more connected was a major feature of 2013. As 4G continued to be rolled out across the UK, tech companies started putting their resources towards making internet access a global norm. Google Loon was one such example, with the technology giant pledging to send hundreds of balloons into the skies to help bring internet access to remote areas. More here.

With increasing amounts of data being collected by various sources, the opportunity for brands to be talking to the right people, in the right place, at the right time became easier to calculate. As technology and analytics have allowed us to map trends and behaviour more closely, brands can become more relevant, more of the time. Kleenex’s ‘Achoo’ campaign used that data to find areas of the UK that were suffering from flu outbreaks, then targeted them with relevant advertising. More here.

Crowdsourcing, collaborative consumption and user-generated content also hit its stride, as covered in ourĀ user-generated generation article. As the social web has grown, so too have the opportunities for brands to get closer to their customers by asking their opinions, getting them to contribute ideas, and in the case of DHL’s ‘MyWays’ initiative, asking them to work for them. More here.

That social aspect has also given way to an expectation that brands should be more socially responsible. A Nielsen survey cited by our Head of Planning in his opinion piece on social responsibility found that more than half of global consumers are willing to reward companies that give something back to society. Whilst many major brands have always included CSR in their business models, this year saw companies such as Unilever embedding social impact into their marketing activity, as with their extremely successful ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ campaign for Dove. More here.

From both our point of view, and from the view of the industry as a whole, it’s been a fascinating year. Whilst many of the concepts and ideas that dominated it were not brand new, it’s been interesting to watch them develop on. To have a read of the report in full, head over to the Most Contagious website, and here’s to seeing what 2014 brings!