When it comes to branding, consumers and B2B buyers have high expectations of what a brand ought to be and what should it stand for. Although visual branding and messaging is critical to a brand’s success, yet intangible values of "what makes a brand?" are becoming increasingly important and should permeate all that you do as a business. Nowadays, consumers not only want to have a relationship with your brand, they want to be a part of it. They want to be associated with brands that reflects their own tastes and personalities -that reflects them.
Below you will find the top 5 trends that are shaping the field of branding, and that could help you turn your brand into a true lovemark:
1- Authenticity & Transparency
In the age of abundance (information), customers now more than ever want to know who you are, what do you do, how do you do it and most importantly why do you do it. Customers nowadays are looking for more than just a product or a service, they are looking for the people behind the brand and investigating the rationale behind the brand's existence.
It is vital that customers find meaning in the products that they are purchasing. Customers want to trust and believe in you. According to the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, “90% of consumers would switch brands to one associated with a good cause and 84% seek out responsible products whenever possible.” That's why, it is paramount that you look into your brand's essence and values, and accordingly, evaluate your internal culture. Integrity and transparency must be at the core of your business--at the core of your brand.
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2- Age of Collaboration
According to a wise GOT character Tyrion Lannister "We make peace with our enemies, not our friends". Truth cannot be far from it. Who said we cannot collaborate and even innovate by teaming up with our competitors? So long are the days in which the secret of the trade had to be guarded vigilantly and handed down from generation to generation. We now live in an age where collaborating and sharing knowledge with like-minded people and entities can yield great results and help us venture into untrodden paths. There's something brilliant and memorable about co-branded products; they are mostly fun and unexpected. That's why, strategic partnerships can be a highly effective way to break into new markets, discover new ways to solve problems, appeal to customers, and boost your brand awareness. It is a win-win situation because on such projects the success of one brand will only bring success to its partner brand, too.
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ALEXANDER WANG - H&M
BMW - UBER
3- Video Usage and Live Streaming
According to Cisco, consumer internet video traffic will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, which marks a 64% increase since 2014.
Owing to apps like Boomerang, Snapchat and Periscope video usage has boosted significantly and in a short period of time. Videos make it easy for consumers to share natural, relevant and interactive content and summarize entire experiences in a two-minute video. The rise of the video has challenged consumers to tell their stories in concise and creative manner, by adopting storytelling techniques. It has also provided an opportunity to bring influencers on board to help brands reach their customers and consumers in a more engaging way.
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The rise of digital led to a clutter of data that is bombarding consumers everywhere. It is harder than ever for people to absorb, process information and make a decision. That is why brands must follow the golden rule: "Less is more!" Iconic brands have always adopted such a motto when it came to designing products, services, or experiences by offering to fulfil their consumers' needs quickly. For example: Apple products are “beautiful” and “intuitive.” Google’s homepage is “clean” and "crisp." Amazon and Zappos have both perfected streamlined discovery, purchase, and delivery in a "simple" and "seamless" journey.
In fact, "63% of consumers are willing to pay more for a simpler experience, and 69% are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences" (HBR, Margaret Molloy). Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer, at Siegel+Gale mentioned that, “Brands that offer simpler customer experiences are rewarded with passionate customer loyalty, more innovative employees and greater revenue". That's why, embracing simplicity can strengthen your brand and help protect it from industry disrupters who continuously serve as a reminder that even brands with the highest simplicity scores cannot stop innovating, otherwise, you might risk losing their place in the market.
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5- Engagement over Awareness
With the pervasiveness of digital touchpoints, engagement is of much higher worth to a brand than higher-funnel metrics such as awareness. Earlier this year, Instagram has announced a proposed change to how its photo feeds will be filtered and viewed. With their new algorithm, Instagram will stop arranging photos in the feed in simple reverse chronological order, instead sorting them algorithmically based on users' behavior. That is why, to ensure followers always get to see a brand's content. brands and Social Media Influencers are challenged to post content that is more engaging and relevant to their followers in order to have their posts appear on users news feed and must compete to catch their followers' attention.
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LATI FASHION - #StoryofMyLife #قصةـحياتي (Sharing Awkward / Funny Moments that could happen to women during an important event)