New insights into the global outlook for luxury brands, mobile phones and corporate social responsibility helped the readers of Market Leader stay ahead of the game this year.
Journalist Mark Tungate has written extensively on the premium goods industry, and identified several relevant trends currently at work around the world, securing the most downloads from Warc users in the process.
"As the economy spiralled into recession, most consumers were forced to cut back on luxuries - accessible or otherwise. But the concept is too alluring to be banished altogether," Tungate said.
However, while the "democratisation" of the category, heralded by the rise of huge conglomerates and the financial crisis, has widened the potential audience, it also threatens to undermine the integrity of high-end brands.
Quality and authenticity should be the watchwords among manufacturers going forward, Tungate suggested, alongside offering aesthetic pleasure and access to influential cliques.
Elsewhere, Simon Silvester, head of planning at Young & Rubicam Europe, Middle East and Africa, presented guidelines for reaching the 3.5bn people that own wireless handsets around the world.
"Half the people on the planet carry a mobile phone with them all the time. Nearly all use them constantly. It is likely that they will become consumers' main computing device of the future," he argued.
The recommendations for marketers seeking to exploit this medium included embracing simplicity, tapping into universal needs and avoiding putting business models before customers.
Finally, Dr Wayne Visser, founder of CSR International, stated that only a few firms have effectively leveraged corporate social responsibility to address critical sustainability issues.
"Ultimately, the purpose of business is to serve society, through the provision of safe, high quality products and services that enhance our wellbeing, without eroding our ecological and community life-support systems," he said.
One company which has acted as a pioneer in this area is Unilever, the FMCG giant, via the Brand Imprint tool.
This provides a 360-degree perspective about the social, economic and environmental impacts attributable to the various aspects of its portfolio.
Data sourced from Warc