I guess you came to this party because that headline is pretty engaging. Maybe as you clicked this link, you were expecting some rad design topics, stuff about sans-serif logos, pastel colors, or flat design? Sorry, amigos. Take the rest of the day off and come back tomorrow. In this article, I thought I’d give you some proper branding trends – things that’ll change organizations forever. Probably. I mean, it’s a calculated guess. Chances are you’ll really like them though, so let’s jump into it.
1. An Organization’s Brand Will Be the Key Differentiator for Customers
We’re living in a world of infinite supply, right? We’re continuously being blasted by ads, #FOMO opportunities, and options for stuff to buy. But look, an apple is still an apple even after you’ve tied a bow around it. In 2019, with an overload of viable options for people to choose from, the only vendor-differentiator for customers will be – you guessed it – the brand.
As a result of this ongoing shift, brands have spent recent years making political statements about all kinds of issues, as consumers build expectations on brands to stand up for causes throughout their platforms.
In the future, however, organizations will no longer have the option to sit idly by. To navigate these new waters, brands will have to adapt, prepare, and act on whatever reaches the surface. It’s the way that organizations choose to position themselves publicly that’ll encourage consumers to choose A over B as they ‘proceed to checkout.’
2. Consumers Explore New Buyer Journeys as Brands Are Catching Up
2018 gave us some drastic changes in customer journeys, and set new standards in regards to how users expect to be treated on said journeys. As an example, the age of voice-search is upon us. Tools like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home are adding new brand touchpoints; opportunities which a lot of companies still choose to ignore. At the same time, companies like Facebook are rethinking the way they provide data to vendors and advertisers, turning social media marketing upside down.
Extended privacy policies and new brand touchpoint opportunities are heading toward a brand/marketing mashup unlike anything we’ve ever seen. For a number of organizations, this is unchartered territory, but they’ll soon find that if they can’t adapt – they’ll be left behind.
With 2019’s patrons requiring convenience in every part of their daily life, marketers will need to understand their customers even better in order to drive their brand in a direction that balances on the right side of creepiness, while being personal, respectful, and ever-present.
3. Chatbots and Your Branding Strategy
Let’s be clear, Chatbots aren’t really a trend anymore. They’ve already proven to be a great tool in the belt of a marketer. But the whole idea of chatbottin’ (is that a word?) has recently transformed into a discipline called conversational marketing, allowing brands to be present in the user journey – at all times.
With this new wave of AI hitting us like a cocker-spaniel on a waterslide, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing chatbots helping organizations create highly targeted and engaging touchpoints for users interacting with their brands. It’s probably more on-brand than Brian from Marketing who (for some weird reason) refuses to conform to the new tone of voice we’ve all agreed on anyway.
The bot (or an on-call sales rep) can chat directly with a potential customer, answering all questions, while helping a brand in designing a unique and personal moment. Plus, we all know how satisfied users correlate with your conversion rates – a match made in heaven.
4. If You Haven’t Heard of Phigital Yet, 2019 is the Year
Apart from being a pretty exceptional word, tickling your palate in new and inexplicable ways, phigital (you just tried it, didn’t you?) is the concept of merging the physical world with experiences from the digital one. Basically, the idea is to improve offline experiences with the assistance of online engagements – giving consumers a tailored brand journey – perfect for the age of the experience economy.
One phigital initiative recently gaining traction in the news is Coca-Cola’s Coke Freestyle Machine, which gave users the power to create their own blend of fizzy-drinks – essentially actualizing every kid’s childhood fantasy. Coca-Cola later used the collected data to create new products based on popular combinations. Win-win, I guess. So as I was saying, the whole idea of phigital is to use physical spaces to create digital interactions, simply a great way of creating real-time conversations between your brand and your audience.
5. Branding Will Be Recognized as the Single Most Powerful Business Tool
The power of 1) being aware that a brand is created by the audience, and 2) understanding that you can only influence what consumers can see (not what they feel) will be the biggest branding realization of 2019. One can throw around billions of dineros right and left, trying to steer consumers in a preferred direction, but none of that will ever matter if your brand is not properly managed.
In 2019, brands around the world will realize that the biggest impact on customer retention and acquisition is the luxury of being able to present a relatable and consistent brand. Humans love (in addition to french fries and chubby puppies) to recognize and relate – feeling a sense of home. If you’ve already built a brand that your audience wants to be associated with, then building a business comes easy.
This is the year for brand management. With more than a few trends to keep in mind, the important part is making a conscious effort to control the process – with a certain centralized platform, no less. Ready those chatbots, keep a close watch (but not too close) on your customers, and prepare to get phigital – because the future is now.