2016 promises a rough ride for international brands
Will the business climate stay as volatile as these first few weeks or prove more predictable? I expect the 5 dimensions of 2016 which will critically impact how international corporations grow include:
- Dollar. On the back of the December 2015 US interest rate hike, there is at least one more increase to come in the first half of the year, making it costlier for foreign companies to do business with the US but more attractive for the Americans to target overseas businesses
- Diplomacy. As mentioned in my Thanksgiving analysis, Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan, Google amongst others will be forced to find more conciliatory, collaborative approaches to engaging US and EU regulators as efforts to date have proven wholly ineffective. While Volkswagen openly admitted to not understanding Americans, it and many other international brands will be more tighly scrutinised than ever before, not least thanks to social media.
- Donald. As Trump aims for the White House (but unlikely to win the Republican nomination), he will continue to attract significant coverage from international media, arousing deep concern from US companies abroad which fear the impact of his divisive rhetoric on Brand USA.
- Devices. Virtual reality, wearables, self-driving cars and other new technologies to gain traction in 2016 open the way for yet more sources and tracking of personal data, which for many consumers is a price worth paying. What is not clear is the security of this data, with more breaches likely due to the poor literacy and low investment of some of those businesses warehousing it.
- Disruption. As yet more business models emerge this year combining commercial, social and political metrics that matter to Millennials, traditional corporates will be further pressed to realign their values with their markets. While this energising proliferation of business models brings shortened business lifecycles, the multinationals with assets to sweat won't be able to keep up.
What are your thoughts on this year's big events that will shape your business? Do let us know...