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The Drum's New Year Honours: Top trendsetters and phenomena of 2015

The Drum's annual New Year Honours list recognises the brands, campaigns, innovations and agencies that made a mark in 2015.

With the full list teased out over the Christmas period, here we publish the final instalment, highlighting why Airbnb, live streaming, Apple Pay and one touch order buttons caught our attention. We also highlight our biggest annoyance of 2015.

The New Year Honours list is published in full in our first issue of 2016 on 13 January.

Trendsetter: Airbnb

It’s through peer-to-peer pioneers like Airbnb that conversation around the sharing economy really ramped up this year. As consumers become more aware of the clear benefits of the sharing economy, more transparent models based on trust are now shaking up established ways of doing business.

The company also led the way in its approach to content in 2015, with a short film about the challenges faced by gay travellers cementing its #HostWithPride stance. As the need to share a viewpoint on issues of equality becomes more pressing, companies will look to Airbnb as an example of how to be part of the conversation in an authentic way.

Phenomenon of the year: Live video streaming

Rewind 12 months and the words ‘meerkat’ and ‘periscope’ had very different meanings from today ­- they're now two of the biggest livestreaming video apps battling for supremacy.

Promising endless possibilities, from journalists streaming breaking news to musicians sharing intimate performances, livestreaming offers a window into another world. Launched at SXSW at the end of February, Meerkat’s reign was short-lived as the Twitter-owned Periscope arrived on the market but days later.

In the months that followed both apps have grown exponentially with Periscope surpassing the 10 million user milestone in August. Never one to miss a trick Facebook introduced Facebook Live – for celebrities only – during the summer before finally offering it to the wider public at the tail-end of 2015.

Gimmick or game changer? One touch order buttons

Wi-Fi connected buttons are here to stay. Internet of things devices will break into the mainstream in 2016, with brands such as Amazon and Domino’s harnessing the technology in an attempt to popularise it the public. Amazon’s branded Dash buttons were designed to quickly replenish household stock with the tap of a button. Piloted in the US, the feature may hint at an upcoming trend from retailers keen on disconnecting consumers from the price of their goods, all in the name of convenience, of course.

Meanwhile, Domino’s buttons received a limited UK release helping consumers order their favourite pizza via Wi-Fi. While mostly a marketing gimmick, the move also highlighted the brand's digital ambitions.

Most annoying thing of the year: Vloggers/Zoella

Zoella and her vlogger colleagues may have featured on last year’s New Year Honours list when they were the new kids on the block, but these ‘influencers’ have been all over YouTube, partnering with brands left, right and centre, and we're left wondering whether the influencer space is becoming saturated.

Due to the rising popularity of figures such as Zoella, 2015 was the year innumerable marketing opportunities emerged from brands keen for (sometimes undeclared) associations with influencers, but surely audiences can only be interested in what Zoe Sugg’s snapped up from Primark for so long?

Event of the year: Apple Pay/TFL

Apple’s mobile payment feature finally came to the UK this summer after launching in the US last October. It’s worth remembering that there were plenty of mobile payment options around before Apple arrived on the scene. What is true, however, is that none of those existing systems saw real mainstream adoption. That scale is evidenced by its growing use on the Transport for London’s (TfL) bus, tube and rail network. And once Apple Pay gains real traction in terms of scale and merchants see the benefit of the lower costs related to fraud, more opportunities will open up to monetise the service. But even if Apple Pay never becomes a major profit driver, it will lift the value of the iPhone and the Watch.