10 New Branding Trends You Need to Know About Now
According to a recent study by the branding agency KRC Research, millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are more likely to identify with the word “brand” than any other generation before them.
For many years, brand identity has been associated solely with visual design. But now, the rise of content marketing and social media has made it clear that creating an effective brand is about much more than design.
The last few years have brought us a plethora of new branding trends, all of which will impact how companies build their brand and communicate with their consumers and partners. Here are some of the most talked-about trends and the ones you need to know now.
These 10 new branding trends will revolutionise brand marketing and transition from dull to fab.
1 – Visual Language is Coming Back
In the past, visual language dominated the design process. This meant that people used to think about logos, fonts, illustrations, colours, and patterns. But in recent years, that visual language has been challenged by the rise of content creation on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, which has made it possible for more consumers to find inspiration from these platforms.
People are also starting to use social media sites to make their mark on the world and share their experiences, which means that visual language has a place in many of the posts and images shared on these sites.
We’ve learned from our research into new branding trends that people respond to visual language. For example, we found that people are more likely to open a text message, read it, and reply if it contains a picture. So instead of trying to build up text content, why not take the opposite approach?
For years, web design was dominated by type-based aesthetics. Typography is a compelling element in graphic design, but it becomes counterproductive when applied in a way that doesn’t match the content.
Since the early 2000s, the visual language of the Web has been dominated by imagery, typography, and colour, while the text has become more sparse. This visual language is coming back as new branding trends.
Use Visual Content to Build Awareness
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple photo or graphic to convey information to your reader. It’s a powerful visual cue that allows you to build empathy and trust with your readers.
This is especially true for blog posts with long-form content. People are often reluctant to read lengthy text, but photos tend to break it down into smaller bite-sized chunks that we’re far more likely to read. Think about how a picture of a puppy or kittens in a kennel is more likely to attract readers than a long-winded paragraph about the same subject.
In terms of marketing effectiveness, visual content (such as images) is second only to text-based content. Images and videos have the advantage of being attention-grabbing, which means they’re easier to consume than text.
For this reason, visuals are often employed for branding, advertising, content promotion, and online display. The key to using visual content for persuasion is making sure the visual is related to the topic.
So, for example, if your brand is a healthy food company and you’re creating a blog post that involves the use of the word “healthy,” you can use an image of a piece of fruit or a picture of a salad.
2 – The Humanisation of Brands
There is no denying that the internet has changed the face of marketing forever. While there are still those who claim that traditional print and radio advertising are as valuable and compelling as ever, the days of “mass communication” and “mass marketing” are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
This new marketing phenomenon, known as “humanising brands”, has created an entirely new level of customer engagement and brand loyalty.
A way to create urgency is through the application of the humanisation principle. The book “Influence” explains that we encounter products, services, brands, and people daily. Yet, we only remember those encounters with brands and people—we often forget about the products. This is where brands need to take advantage of our emotions to get us to act in their favour.
Brands are becoming more emotional
It’s a fact that consumers are becoming more emotionally connected to brands. According to data from GfK, people feel a greater connection to brands that they have an emotional attachment. But it’s important to remember that a brand’s connection with the consumer is not always the same as a consumer’s connection with the brand.
We’ve all seen those ads: “Buy now!” The best new branding trends take the opposite approach. They show people their products or services and then tell them why they’re special. This approach creates the perception of a better deal and convinces the consumer to buy right then and there. These emotional appeals work because we all want to feel good about ourselves and our decisions.
People tend to remember them better and trust them more when you use emotional appeals. There are two main types of emotional appeals.
One is based on love (like the feeling of being cared for and loved), and the other on fear (like being threatened and fearful).
Both can be powerful in driving brand loyalty. Brands can help reinforce our emotional state by telling us stories. They can tell us how something makes us feel or how someone feels when using a product. They can also show us how our lives are affected by our brands.
Brands are becoming more experiential
“Brands have become more experiential,” says Gartner VP and distinguished analyst Michael Cuggino. They’re creating more immersive experiences for consumers and more opportunities for brands to connect with their target audiences via new channels and technologies.
“We’re seeing a rise in digital commerce and a greater focus on mobile marketing,” says Cuggino. “We’re also focusing on in-store and physical experience marketing.”
Experiences are becoming the new marketing. Whether through live events, experiential marketing, or social media, brands are being created to deliver real-world experiences rather than trying to push products.
A brand experience builds loyalty through interactions that make people feel connected to the brand. Experiences include everything from brand building events and concerts to branded merchandise and mobile apps.
The key is creating an emotional connection between brands and consumers that will impact future purchases.
3 – Design Is Getting Its Own Day
Today, consumers demand a seamless brand experience across all platforms, whether desktop, tablet, or mobile. But creating a consistent brand experience isn’t just about using the same colour palette, font, and logo across the board.
You have to make sure your website, email newsletters, and social media pages are designed beautifully. People are now more likely to pay attention to the first impression they get from the brand than they are to anything else. If you want people to notice your brand, you have to make sure it stands out.
It’s been a long time since the design was only about aesthetics. In collaboration with product managers, marketers, developers, UX experts, and others, designers develop creative ways to build a new set of brand values into the products they develop. The thinking behind it is that brands are meant to be about something, more than just a logo and a brand name.
Design for Your Users
There are two primary categories of user experience: a design for usability and design for pleasure. If your focus is on creating an interface that is easy to use, then make sure you spend some time studying usability testing and observing people in their natural settings to get a feel for how they are using your product.
The other type of user experience focuses on aesthetics, whether you are designing a product or service that is pleasing to the eye. To make a great product, you need to understand both.
Whether you’re selling software, a new SaaS, or the latest smartphone, the fact is that you need to keep your eye on the ball. Your product or service design needs to reflect your company’s purpose, but it doesn’t have to be a completely sterile, corporate affair. With a bit of creativity, you can put your brand identity front and centre without compromising the functionality of your product.
Brands Are Getting Smarter
Marketing departments are forced to change how they think about marketing and business. Instead of marketing being a simple act of reaching consumers, it is now a part of a broader strategy that involves creating brands and relationships that impact every aspect of the business.
A brand, therefore, is not just a logo and a colour scheme. It is a lifestyle, a value proposition, and a promise to the consumer.
In recent years, brands have learned to understand what’s happening in the market and understand what kind of consumers they are trying to reach.
This knowledge enables them to be more intentional about reaching those consumers with the proper messaging. That means being less generic and more focused on the target audience and what they’re looking for. It also means having a clearer idea of how they should behave and what they should do in their day.
4 – The Digital Landscape Is Changing
If you’re looking to make a big splash in the digital world, here’s a great tip: Instead of worrying about “how to” or “what to” do, focus on “why.”
“Why” is the best way to communicate with people. There are lots of reasons why you should care about your digital strategy. One reason is that you can now create content that people want to read. So many companies fail to realise this simple truth.
There’s no doubt that social media is the world’s most significant driver of change. The rise of social media has transformed everything, including our ability to communicate. The digital landscape is changing, forcing many businesses to rethink how they market and sell their products.
With smartphones and mobile internet becoming the dominant means of information exchange, online interactions occur in many new ways. It’s not just about desktop computing or laptop computers but also about tablets, smartwatches, smart cars, and even smart homes.
According to Nielsen research, digital advertising spending grew by 26.2% year-over-year in 2016, with smartphone apps and websites collectively driving that growth. Mobile search is projected to grow over 100% annually from 2019 through 2025.
The future is digital. If you don’t believe us, just ask the folks at Amazon or Netflix. They are spending a fortune ensuring their customers have access to their services on any device, anywhere.
Embrace the New World of Content Marketing
While it may seem counterintuitive to marketers accustomed to advertising based on content marketing, content is more powerful than traditional advertising because it’s often received directly by customers.
People share it on social media means that it gets shared multiple times. And that means the content can reach even more customers than just those who see the original version.
Content marketing is an integral part of any company’s marketing strategy and should be a central focus for any B2B or B2C company with a web presence. This content can come in blog posts, videos, and other valuable media applicable to your business.
5 – Mobile App Design Is on the Rise
“Mobile apps are quickly becoming the preferred medium for both business and consumers,” says Steve Gee, CEO of Mobile Authority. “While they’re not at par with desktop yet, apps are growing and gaining traction.”
Designers of mobile apps are becoming more conscious that mobile users are increasingly switching off from desktop websites. So why would they want to switch back?
The answer: They can get more done on their phone. To keep their audiences happy and engaged, designers are starting to prioritise mobile design over desktop.
The new branding trends of designing for mobile make sense. After all, we’re on the move. And when we’re on the move, we’re more likely to check our emails, surf the web, and share news than sit down at our desks to do it.
Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
If you want to keep mobile usage up, you need to design your site to be mobile-friendly. It’s not enough to merely make it responsive. All content needs to be fluid across all screen sizes. This includes images.
You’re probably already familiar with mobile SEO and optimising your website to look and function great on smartphones. However, there are still some basic things you should do to ensure you don’t miss the boat when it comes to your mobile customers.
While a desktop-optimised website will look great on any device, it may take more space than your smartphone and tablet can handle. Also, having a website that doesn’t work well on smartphones and tablets can mean missing out on people using their mobile devices more and more every day.
6 – Voice-Activated Devices Are Taking Off
Voice activation technology is currently a hot trend in the marketing world. Voice recognition is used in phones, cars, personal assistants, and online shopping.
Marketers are also starting to implement voice activation technology into their campaigns to help them capture customers and increase their conversion rate.
People are talking about voice-activated devices a lot lately. Almost every technology company is creating new products that are “intelligent” by using a variety of natural language processing (NLP) techniques, like Alexa and Siri, to speak in ways humans can understand.
But this phenomenon has been around for a while. It started in the 90s when technology began to integrate into everyday life.
One of the first to recognise the potential of voice technology was Microsoft’s, Bill Gates. He predicted that computers would start becoming “dumb” but that people would still want to talk to them. He was right! Today, almost everyone has some kind of voice-controlled device in their home.
Brands are becoming more diverse
Today’s consumers are increasingly willing to experiment with products and services that aren’t strictly mainstream.
According to a recent study conducted by the Harvard Business Review and marketing research firm Cone Communications, Americans turn away from brands perceived as too traditional, conservative, or limited in their appeal.
Consumers are more likely to trust and purchase products or services that are innovative, experimental, or unusual. The new branding trends takeaway? The more a brand diverges from the norm, the better.
Brands are more diverse today than ever before. But if you’re interested in understanding how to use this diversity to your advantage, consider starting by asking yourself what brand loyalty is and why brands matter to consumers? How does brand loyalty evolve? Why do consumers choose to be loyal to brands they don’t always like or prefer products?
7 – Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Brands
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is currently being used in several applications, including marketing automation, customer service, and social media. It has the potential to transform marketing shortly.
AI is used to analyse data sets and provide insight into consumer behaviour to drive marketing decisions and product development. It can improve customer service by providing personalised responses to customer messages.
In social media, AI-powered apps are being used to monitor content, generate customer recommendations, and provide news and updates based on user preferences.
Brands are becoming less predictable
For decades, marketers have been told to build brands that are “sticky”, “unique”, and “differentiated” by their brand message. These tactics have helped brands stick around and endure despite changing media consumption and buying habits.
Now, brands are becoming less predictable as consumers demand more transparency in their relationships with the companies that market to them.
If brands don’t deliver on their promises, consumers will switch to the next brand that does. Consumers don’t want to feel taken advantage of. They’d rather be warned.
Nowadays, brands are becoming less predictable. Consumers are looking for ways to engage with brands. That means they want to see and hear from brands in new ways. They expect brands to have stories and use those stories to connect with them.
The problem is that brands don’t always know how to tell stories. Stories are messy and difficult to tell. But that doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t try.
Brands are becoming less centralised
Today, more people interact with brands through many channels than ever before. Consumers may visit multiple physical retail stores, online websites, mobile apps, social media sites, and many others from the first interaction to the last.
When consumers encounter brands and their messages, they are no longer merely viewing a logo, brand name, or logo. They are engaging with the brand itself.
In fact, according to a study published by IBM, most consumers have a favourable view of brands and see themselves as brand advocates.
This year we’ve seen a shift in what we used to call the “brick and mortar” model. Brick-and-mortar stores are still trendy, but brands are increasingly taking control of the entire customer experience. Customers are no longer forced to navigate through a series of steps to find what they’re looking for; instead, they are met with one cohesive experience.
8 – The Big Data Revolution Is Here
The data explosion has put the spotlight back on new branding trends. Companies have been rethinking how they approach marketing to capture consumers ‘ attention by using social media to measure brand affinity to looking at past purchase behaviours to understand customer preferences.
To be successful in branding, a brand has to answer three questions: Who am I? Why do I matter? How do I serve others? But the most significant change is happening in how brands engage with consumers.
We’re moving away from a one-way advertising model and a two-way communication model. Today, we’re all customers, influencers, and brand evangelists simultaneously, and our data is fueling all of this engagement. Brands that can use big data to connect with us across all our touch points will win.
Use Big Data to Automate Customer Service
In a study conducted by Gartner, it was discovered that 82% of small businesses with online stores did not use any tools to automate customer service. Instead, many relied on email and phone calls to communicate with customers.
While emails can help solve customer issues, if a customer cannot solve an issue via email quickly, this often leads to frustration, resentment and negative word of mouth. The results are the same whether you’re a business or a blogger. No matter what industry you’re in, using data to guide customer service is something to consider.
Big data can help automate a lot of the work in your business. Start by asking yourself questions like:
- What if you could improve the way customers interact with your brand?
- What if there was a tool that allowed you to see trends in your business?
- What if you could automate specific tasks that are currently done manually?
Then, put those questions into practice, and watch your business grow.
9 – Millennials Are Changing Everything
Millennial consumers have unique preferences and demands that influence their purchasing decisions. They are a generation of people who value transparency, authenticity, and personalisation.
They want to see what a brand stands for, what the company’s values are, and how it lives up to its promises. They’re willing to pay a premium for experiences over products, but if a brand doesn’t provide the experience it promised, consumers will quickly move on to a competitor.
The digital marketing revolution has led to a new generation of consumers changing how brands interact with customers. With a generation of customers that are always on and always connected, brands must adapt if they want to succeed in the 21st century. As marketers, we need to understand what millennials want and how to satisfy their needs and wants.
Be Authentic and Be Yourself
There are reasons brands like Coca Cola, and Nike have such powerful brand identities. They’re so strong because they stand for something that is inherently true.
In a world where every brand has to be unique and differentiated, we mustn’t confuse people about who we are. Brands that follow the authenticity principle are true to who they are and not afraid to show it.
“Authenticity” is one of the core tenets of new branding trends. When people are trying to determine if your brand or product is authentic, they look at your website and see if the content reflects who you are as a company. Authentic marketing content makes customers feel comfortable with your brand.
Become a Storyteller
In a brand story, you tell a narrative that communicates what your company is all about and why people should care about it. People like stories. Stories engage them emotionally and help them feel connected to something larger than themselves.
The best brand stories are fun, relatable, engaging and make sense. You need to be a storyteller. Think of yourself as a writer with a message. What do you want to say? Whom do you want to reach? What is your story?
Have a Cause
The best way to connect with customers is to connect with them through a common cause. After all, brands are social creatures, and the power of their connection with consumers will only continue to grow as people increasingly live, work, and shop in social media-driven spaces.
The power of social media as a force multiplier in brands’ marketing efforts is undeniable, but you can’t ignore a brand’s ability to inspire others to its cause. The more people believe a brand speaks to them personally, the more likely they will adopt it.
10 – Branding in the Era of Consumer Control
In the internet age, consumers don’t just consume products and services; they also own them. In other words, people are in control of everything that happens to them.
For a long time, brand owners had no control over what happened after buying their products and services.
Today, customers can create their own media, websites, and social networks. They can sell those services back to advertisers, and if the advertiser doesn’t like what they see, they can always pull their advertising dollars elsewhere.
When a company’s branding is strong, there is a sense of certainty and security. But when a brand becomes weaker, uncertainty increases, and the need to feel safe decreases, leading to a willingness to make changes.
To improve your brand, the key is to understand its role in your customers’ life, the value it conveys, and the emotions and experiences that go along with it. When customers feel something is safe or secure, they are more willing to take risks. This is how brands strengthen over time.
Make Social Media Work for You
As social media use grows and consumers become more comfortable sharing online, brands are increasingly trying to reach them through social media. But even if you’re aware of these trends, you need to stay updated.
If you don’t understand how your brand can be effective on social media, it could be a wasted opportunity. That’s why staying on top of industry trends is essential—it can help you make sure you’re maximising your social media presence to get your message across effectively.
Engage the Digital Consumer
When we talk about engaging consumers online, the first thing that comes to mind is probably marketing and advertising. We don’t think of engagement when it comes to customer service. But that is changing.
Some brands use online channels to connect with customers emotionally and practically. Examples include American Express, Microsoft, and Nordstrom.
They are showing that they want to hear from their customers directly. They’re using digital tools to listen and respond, not push, prod, and push them further down the funnel.
To engage the digital consumer, brands need to think about how they communicate to their target audiences in ways that are unique to the medium. This means making sure that everything from copywriting to imagery to messaging strategies and brand experience is carefully thought through to take advantage of the advantages of each medium.
For example, while email campaigns are highly efficient, they often don’t achieve the same results as paid advertising on social media platforms. Similarly, a well-placed video can have far more impact than a single blog post.
Embrace User-Generated Content
This isn’t a new trend, but it took the internet by storm last year. User-generated content (UGC) can be photos, videos, reviews, social shares, comments, and blog posts.
While user-generated content doesn’t necessarily have to be generated by your company, it is a powerful tool. UGC gives your brand personality and makes your customers feel connected to you and your brand.
Brands that want to connect with users have started turning to content marketing strategies that let them listen and engage with consumers deeper. It may seem counterintuitive that brands would want to turn away from advertising, but the success of social media is evidence that this method is working.
What Does the Future Hold?
We live in a fast-paced world where everything changes constantly. Brands have to keep up or risk falling behind. As such, branding is often an afterthought. Branding, however, is the key to success.
Your brand is a unique set of values and behaviours that make you, as a business, stand out from the crowd. If your brand doesn’t resonate with customers, you can lose them and their business to your competitors.
As brands continue to grow and develop, marketers need to understand how their brands will evolve. They need to know how it will be perceived, its target audience, strengths and weaknesses, and the growth opportunities. In short, they need to understand brand management.
Find and Fix Your Brand Identity
Branding is a crucial component of any successful business venture. While the term itself may have negative connotations (branding being associated with “big business” and “advertising”), branding is simply the process of creating a memorable and unique identity for your company.
In the digital era, new branding trends have become even more apparent. If your business doesn’t have a distinct brand, it will find itself in a tough spot.
Consumers today are more likely to trust brands that are known and established rather than something new and unknown.
If your business needs a brand identity overhaul, you have the perfect opportunity to rethink your business’s core values and mission statement and create a cohesive brand message.
The only thing that is constant in the world is change. It is the nature of the human condition, and this is true for both physical and virtual worlds. When it comes to brands, the same holds true.
Branding has always been important to businesses, but the pace of change in today’s world is more rapid than ever. We see new branding trends and fads pop up all the time.
Whether it’s social media, mobile marketing, or new technologies, brands must be aware of what’s happening now to adapt and grow in response. With so much change coming at us all the time, these are ten new branding trends you need to know about right now.
Don’t wait until the next branding trend to get your name out there. You’ll be left behind if you don’t start now.