The future of branding: how to get your strategy right

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In a nutshell, your branding sells your product or service, but what if your brand is becoming obsolete without you even knowing it?

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Years ago the purpose of a brand was simple, it provided a mark of trust and quality that would ensure your customers that they were getting the real-deal.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a product or service, we all trust and know the brands we would choose, and this deciding factor is exactly the key that makes it essential to your company’s representation in the big wide world.

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The importance of branding is nothing new. In fact, during post-war Britain when products were scarce due to rationing no-one could afford to waste any of their precious money on disreputable products. So an array of household names asked the nation to put their trust in them, making them a trusted regular on the shopping list. Stability was what they needed, and that’s exactly what these bands gave them.

branding-strategy

But decades later, we are now faced with a plethora of brands that line the shelves all vying for adoption into our lives.

Thanks to the vast consumerism that has penetrated into society, and the constant need for bigger and better products, we’ve become overwhelmed with the brands that now face us.

And as we’re spoilt for choice no matter where we turn, it’s become even harder as a brand to separate yourself from the competition.

Thanks to the revolution of digital marketing and the introduction of wearable technology, we’re now more informed than ever before about what the consumer wants from a brand.

Born from an era of information overload, the future of branding is being shaped by these key areas;

Social purpose

Consumers and customers alike want your brand to care.

If you think your brand philosophy ‘doesn’t matter’, then you may as well throw in the towel.

Social purpose has become the lynch pin for businesses to separate themselves in today’s saturated market, and without it you become just another company.

You should be able to sum up your social purpose in a sentence, and this core message should resonate through every part of your company, from logo, marketing campaigns, to the communication your staff have with clients.

For example, Microsoft’s social purpose set out by CEO Satya Nadella, is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

Admittedly this is a large claim because of their product offering, but if you can provide your potential customers or clients with a clear idea of your vision, they will be more likely to engage with your business.

De-branding

We want authenticity from brands, not tricks.

You may or may not have realised, but brands have been trying hard to infiltrate themselves into our lives without us being conscious to it.

I’m sure we can all recall a time when we’ve sung a jingle or picked up a branded product without really realising that we are doing it.

But this strategy has become a little sneakier, with many now publishing stories or resources that seem journalistic, but are in fact branded content.

As branding is fundamentally a form of communication, this has worked well for many in marketing their products and putting things in our hands that we perhaps wouldn’t have opted for should we have made a conscious decision.

However, as a society we are starting to pick up on these new forms of personalised branding, and we’re starting to feel suffocated by it.

Consumption has become a way of life, but too much consumption and your customers can start to feel negative towards your brand.

“The brand that screams the loudest no longer commands the most attention; the one that offers something genuinely useful does”, comments Jasmine De Bruckyer, Creative Designer and Strategist at Base Design.

Image

In our visually enticing world filled with Instagram, GIFs and infographics, imagery now has a firm role in how your brand is perceived.

From the data we now have available, we know the colours, shapes and signs that resonate with our target audience, and we’re now able to completely transform our brands to make them emotionally resonate without having to go into detail or explanation.

There is compelling evidence to suggest that emotions play a crucial role in consumer buying journeys, and add this to the impact that visual media has on engaging online, and you have a strong combination that will encourage positive feelings towards your brand.

“It’s crucial that your brand has a vital story-telling element that engages with customers with the evolution of your brand. Colour is one of the single most crucial indicators of this, and will play a major role in how others perceive this story”, comments Richard LeCount at USBMakers.

Put simply, if you’re going to convey a message it’s important to select the right colour palette and that the style fits with your brands vision.

Picture a red can or perhaps those big yellow arches, in each instance colour is the association, and this remains for the future.

Colour will become increasingly important as we move into more visual mediums such as virtual reality.

Even now these trends are beginning to emerge, but adoption is slow and steady for most businesses, as the fear of change is ever present.

If you want your brand to still be as strong in the future then it is today, ensure your vision is still relevant to your customer base and you won’t go far wrong.

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