The Branding Journal defines branding as ‘the process of giving meaning to a specific organization, company, products, or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds.’ Branding can be seen as the relationships and expectations which inform a consumer’s decision to buy one service or product over a competitor. While typography, customer service and product quality are elements of a brand, there’s a far more emotional side to branding. It defines the company’s personality and story reflected in everything it is and does. As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos puts it, ‘ your brand is what people will say about you when you are not in the room.’ Each year branding strategies and trends develop, and businesses need to remain current when it comes to branding.
1 . Personalization
This year, companies are ensuring that their branding is personalized, aiming to achieve improved emotional ties with their target market. Shutterfly is one great example of a company that is nailing personalized branding. The app and website allows users to create calendars, photo books, canvases, and other items with photos printed onto them. If you permit the app to access your photo library, the application places various photos of you and your friends onto the items available on the online store. Amazon were way ahead of the game in terms of personalized branding; they’ve been offering personalized product recommendations since back in 2013.
- Socially conscious branding
According to a study cited in Forbes, ‘more than six in ten younger consumers closely consider a company’s ethical values before buying their products.’ Whether it’s green and sustainable practices or campaigning for social justice, ethical branding is a huge 202 trend. Companies such as ‘Tom Shoes’ are a great example of socially conscious branding. The company was founded back in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie. Blake had recently visited Argentina, witnessing the impoverished lifestyles of many who live there, without access to basic essentials such as shoes. Since the company began, Tom’s has donated millions of pairs of shoes to those children who need them the most. There are plenty of other companies who have adopted socially conscious branding including Dove, Starbucks, Netflix and Ford.
- Influencer marketing
The influencer marketing trend is well and truly here to stay, so if you haven’t hopped on it yet, now’s the time. Ad-blocking software has increased in popularity over the last couple of years, making it harder for brands to get noticed. Influencer marketing well and truly bridges the gap. Brands can connect with their target audience by a seemingly authentic association with an appropriate influencer. BigCommerce reported that ‘ 89% [of businesses] say that ROI from influencer marketing is comparable or better than other marketing channels. Creating a marketing campaign with the right influencer allows businesses to increase their brand awareness and shape their persona. When it comes to your influencer marketing campaigns, allow influencers to craft creative content. Pushing scripts that are too restrictive and ‘salesy’, could compromise the effectiveness of the campaign. You can use sites like Buzzsumo and Tribe to search for influencers.
- Improve the visual
The visual details of your branding are essential to create the right impression on your consumer. The image of your brand encompasses all the visual aspects of your company, from your logo and graphics to the exterior appearance of your commercial property. Everything about you creates a perspective in the minds of your potential consumers and clients.
A survey in Retail Customer Experience found that ‘95 % of consumers consider a store’s exterior appearance an important factor when deciding upon a place to shop. More than half will avoid a store if the exterior appears to be poorly maintained.’ You may not have retail premises, but if your commercial building is poorly maintained, you’ll make this same bad impression on your B2B clients and passers-by. Seek to improve the exterior and interior areas of your business, use Commercial Pressure Washing services, revamp your signage, and decorate in your brand colors. Improve your logo and graphics, using the trends informing 2020. Brands are focusing on adaptable logos, creating different logos depending on the usage i.e., website, document, or social media. Adaptable logos are designed to fit the requirements of various media and applications.
- Augmented reality
Many businesses have adopted augmented reality as part of their branding strategies, giving them all the trendy tech-appeal they could ask for! AOS created a virtual reality catwalk as part of its latest brand campaign. When shopping on the app, consumers can click the augmented reality button while pointing at their phone at a flat surface. The model then virtually appears, providing users with a unique way of viewing the clothing. Gucci offers its customers the chance to try on shoes virtually. You simply aim your smartphone camera towards your feet and then swipe left and right to try various pairs of sneakers. Users can then snap pictures and share them on socials with their friends.
- Video marketing
Video marketing has taken the world by storm; many companies are using it to improve the quality of their branding and increase their brand awareness. According to Biteable, ‘6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television.’ Bitetable sources also report that Youtube is the second most popular website after Google. When you use video marketing right, you can use it to present your brand’s personality to your audience and engage consumers with shared values. Live video streaming is becoming increasingly popular to boost brand awareness. Webinars are an excellent way to connect and chat with your community, to build meaningful connections. There are plenty of sites to stream live content, including Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, or Vimeo. Zoom also has a handy feature for hosting webinars.
Above all, remain responsive to trends as they emerge this year. In the eyes of many consumers, the brands who are the most current and cutting edge, are those who continue to stand out. Besides this, an emphasis on brand storytelling continues to dominate modern branding strategies.