10 Branding Predictions from the Branding Pros
Experts agree—mostly—on how branding will evolve in 2012 and into the future.
This consensus of theories revolves around trending methods brands will use to create or maintain their core identities, while strengthening recognition. Like most smart marketing moves, most of these predictions are inter-related and form a solid story for the next year.
Dissension comes into play in the details of engaging customers. The beauty of that is you can still utilize these expert branding predictions while deciding which specifics work best for your brand.
1. Authentic Olympic Alignment
One of the most specific advertising approaches brands will take this year is the traditional cash-in on Olympic fever. Mike Sharrock, BP’s partnership director for London 2012, explains to The Guardian that, “What we have tried to do is make sure that everything we’re doing is credible and authentic.”
2. Digital Humanization
Consumers are fed up with self-serving companies, says Trend Watching, and will be looking for brands that show some humanity. Expect to see brands reaching out, relating and even revealing flaws.
3. Narrow Social Focus
Millennial Branding’s Dan Schawbel points out concerns with the scalability of social media. With the introduction of Twitter and Google+ brand pages, not to mention harnessing the rocketing popularity of Pinterest, social networking costs are certain to rise. Brands will narrow focus on fewer platforms, placing their bets on which ones providing the greatest return on investment (ROI).
4. More Analytics
Companies seeking social branding strategies will naturally be delving deeper into data. According to Business News Daily, eWay Direct’s Neil Rosen says focus will be on “understanding chatter…and understanding how chatter can be used to improve customer relationships and drive sales.”
5. Content is King
“In 2012, many marketers will start with content as a way to engage their best customers and grow their business versus advertising. They will realize the power of content to enhance the brand experience, deliver the brand’s purpose and extend the opportunities for the brand to serve,” predicts Mark Addicks, SVP & CMO of General Mills, in Forbes.
6. But is it Share-worthy?
Antonio Lucio, Global Chief Marketing, Strategy and Development Officer at Visa, explains to Forbes the popular brand’s social content strategy is: “Care enough to share.” This adds another pressing need to understand analytics, in order to understand the customer’s consumption patterns on social sites.
7. Customers Generate Ideas
Crowd sourcing is here to stay and, according to Steven Morris, brands will be looking to customers even more to help guide their story. Networks will be tapped into to get consumer input from conception to product launch.
8. Cause Marketing
Brands will also continue the trend of supporting causes that integrate with their customers’ core values, predicts Morris. They will be able to focus in on what resonates through analytics and direct customer engagement.
9. Going Mobile
Branding expert Michael Neaylon notes that smart phones are now common and consumers are using these to shop. So brands that don’t develop apps or mobile sites will suffer.
10. Bridging Platforms
The ability to seamlessly share across networks–a natural extension of website share buttons—will be the hallmark of successful brands. “Online traffic will be content-driven, not platform-defined,” says Juan Manuel Hernandez, of Millward Brown.
Which of these branding predictions do you agree or disagree with? Why?
Photo credit: Sanjay Acharya/Wikimedia Commons