What will be the Top 5 Branding Trends for 2018?
Brand building is ever evolving and staying on top of trends is a must for any sized business.
I have to say I’m not a big one for following trends.
Being a creative I tend to want to run in the opposite direction as soon as someone tells me that this is trendy and I should be following it.
With business its different, you have to stay on top of what’s happening, especially in these fast moving times, otherwise you will surely get left behind.
And in business that’s dangerous
Ensuring you evolve as a business and most importantly WITH your customers is the key.
After a lot of reading and looking at how trends were changing at the latter end of 2017 these are my predictions for 2018.
Of course the one thing with predictions is no one really knows if they are right or not, but these are my educated thoughts.
#1 INFLUENCER MARKETING
The key thing with influencer marketing is knowing your market, who are the influencers and what do you want them to say and to whom.
It means that you concentrate on smaller more influential individuals who can share your story, product or service to a wider audience.
Many large brands use social media personalities with a large reach such as Rachel Levin who has 20 million followers, or celebrity endorsements. There is a thin line between influencer and endorser.
Influencers don’t necessarily have to be celebrities but they do have an online following in a niche community.
Influencers promote engagement not just endorsement.
As a small to medium business how can you jump on this brand band wagon without paying millions for George Clooney ?
Using platforms such as LinkedIn and influential bloggers can be a great way for smaller businesses to use this form of brand marketing, find the people who have large numbers of followers and make your brand worth listening to through relevant content.
Look beyond the budget and think about what will make your brand stand out and what do my and the influencers audience want to learn or simply be a part of?
#2 CUSTOMER JOURNEYS
Customer personas and understanding your customer inside and out was a big trend in 2017 and I feel this will continue into 2018 with a larger emphasis on the journey you take your customers on.
People no longer want to jump online, buy a product or service and leave.
They first want to join a group of like-minded individuals who they can relate to and feel apart of. Ask questions of and share their opinions with.
This means your brand needs to clearly stand for some strong messages and values, and you need to establish your customer target group no matter how big or small, and take them on a journey that will build trust, excitement, passion, and adventure.
People are hungry for something new and to not feel they are being sold to but instead to be part of a group.
First find your customers persona and values and then stay strong and lead your tribe.
#3 PURPOSE DRIVEN MARKETING AND BRANDS
This really leads on from number #2
People no longer want to just buy and leave, feeling that their purchase is doing something more.
Consumers wants to do business with or work for brands that contribute to more than their bottom line, but contribute to the world around them. This leads on from customer journeys and wanting to be part of something bigger and more aspirational that allows them to believe and feel good about themselves.
#4 CHAT BOTS
In this ever-increasing world where information is instantly available consumers are more and more requiring answers to their questions immediately.
The days of filling out an online form and waiting for 24 hours for someone to reply are no longer acceptable. We want answers and we want them now.
Last year you would have undoubtedly been on a web site looking for an answer to your question and used live chat, where “Sylvia” (made up customer service person) sitting somewhere in the world try’s to answer your question. This is sometimes successful and sometimes no use what so ever.
Well in 2018 Chat bots will take over. They are basically a computer program you can have a conversation with at any time of the day or night.
The question here is are they better or worse than “Sylvia “? Who knows at the moment, but one thing is for sure more businesses will be using them, and the Ai will improve.
I recently listened to a podcast, that made me and my website designer – say “Thank god we are on the right lines.” We truly believe that designing websites for a client, launching and leaving the project is never going to be the best way to get results.
To get a great return on your investment when you launch your new website you need to be constantly reviewing, analyzing and changing.
Being flexible in your marketing approach, trying small things quickly adjusting where needed and continuing until you get the results you want, is the way to a successful brand and business.
This is a hard pitch for any business owner to swallow often, but paying thousands of dollars for a great website and then just sitting on it, is never going to get you your return. You have to understand your users see how they are interacting and follow their lead.
In short you need to be flexible,
2018 I hope will be a year where customers understand the need for flexibility in design and their brand, and where trying new things is exciting, educating, and liberating.
So as an overview – I feel 2018 is an obvious extension and growth from 2017.
Where understanding your customers, having strong values and leading them on a journey that will engage and influence them is the key.
Allow your customers to feel part of your business. To be part of a bigger purpose will led to influential word of mouth and a tribe that will market your brand for you.
Why not look at out 4 step brand audit – this is a process we have developed to ensure that any work that you do is needed, well thought through and clearly planned so you can get a return on your investment as quickly as possible.