From traffic growth and alluring blog building, to improved customer experiences and increased sales, branding has become the very soul of each successful business over the last few years, and we shouldn’t expect anything to change any time soon. Being a strategy that communicates value and builds long-lasting relationships with customers, branding has never been more important than today – now that we’ve understood that the modern world circles around the customer and that we’ve made the market bursting with competition, creating a powerful and captivating brand image seems like a crucial differentiator.
The following list includes 5 unavoidable branding trends established in 2016 that experts anticipate to be the key to triumph in years to come.
1. Compelling Journeys & Irresistible Experiences
There’s no doubt that the era of the customer is already here; their expectations have never been bigger and their purchasing behavior was never less certain. Still, what we can count on is their ever-growing need for pleasurable journeys and storytelling behind products and services, all of which implies the generation of flawless customer experience. As predicted by Deanna Laufer last year, “In 2016, [customer experience] will be among the top 10 critical success factors determining who will win and who will fail in the age of the customer.”
So far, these prognosis have been proven as correct, and companies that are looking for a competitive advantage in 2017 will have to continue to actively promote a positive experiential interaction with customers, instead of solely focusing on projecting a particular brand image.
2. Custom Tailoring for All
Still, not every customer wants the same exact treatment, journey, and experience, since not every customer perceives your brand image in the same way. An emotional connection is one of the main aspects of branding strategies, which is why it needs to be made as personal and as unique as possible.
However engaging, customer experience has to be slightly altered and customized for each individual customer. Consider it in Coca-Cola terms – by imprinting different surnames on every can, this business empire has, in a sense, tailored their product for every customer, thus offering a personal touch that the receiving end finds flattering and engaging.
3. Emotional Connections & Relatability
If a swimsuit commercial doesn’t evoke that irresistible feeling of enjoying a margarita on a sun-drenched beach full of young and beautiful people, customers will most certainly go to another company that does. Both branding strategies and marketing campaigns draw little attention to a company’s products and services if not based on relatability and emotions.
When it comes to decisions, be they purchasing or not, memories and sentiments are scientifically proven to be the greatest triggers, which is why branding should always be emotion-driven. Although old news, this trend has rarely been properly established and delivered in previous years, but great market leaders like Apple and Nike are explaining its importance with each new campaign, which is why following the example of these pioneers is the most secure way to the top.
4. Approach & Engage
Because of the saturated market in which every second company follows the same set of branding guidelines, conveying a powerful branding message is no longer sufficient. Instead of being present and raising awareness, successful companies now need to be active and insist on engagement. Customer relationships are being built in an online environment that requires a fine balance between professionalism and spontaneity, and based on the brand’s potential to interactively include customers and make them a part of their experience.
By doing so, social media campaigns are the last word of fashion in both branding and marketing, and are expected to become even more diverse, entertaining and alluring in the future.
5. Uniqueness Beats Competition
Each of the previous trends are being developed to defy market overflow and leverage modern customer behavior in order to beat the competition. Custom-tailored and a highly personalized customer experience, as well as emotion-driven and engaging campaigns, all lead up to one crucial competitive factor that guarantees success – authenticity.
It’s been noted before that most companies rely on the same branding advice, which is why having a unique approach is paramount for standing out from the crowd. In other words, the key to success has been found and offered to modern businesses, and it’s now up to each of them to think of the most original way to use it.
Along with contextual omnipresence and intriguing, but a professional public image, these trends are shaping the future of branding as we speak. Colorful logos and presentable ads are no longer enough – in the years to come, branding will remain the most intermediate connection between a company and its customers, but it will become the strongest advantage in a brand-saturated market.
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