Branding trends are being approached differently in 2018. Intense competition and constant technological innovation has changed the concept of branding forever. Today, it reaches far beyond mere visual differentiation.
It encompasses a whole new set of elements – social consciousness, authentic customer relationships and community-centered communication. Building and developing your brand involves understanding and implementing new branding trends. Don’t have time to read this? But still want to implement the latest branding trends into your marketing efforts? Consider working with a digital marketing company. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation to see if working with a company is the best route for you.
Got a minute? Then here are 10 branding trends your business should be capitalizing on in 2018.
Top 10 Branding Trends for Your Business
1. Personalize your brand
Customers relate to people, not products. If they can relate to your brand in a more personalized way, they are more likely to trust it. You need to build authentic relationships with customers rather than just trying to sell to them. They are looking for a personalized experience.
Storytelling is an important component of branding. Subaru does more than just sell cars in its advertising. Each advertisement tells a story about an adventurous lifestyle. In one advertisement, a blind artist who works at the Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat in Napa, California guides sighted people on trails.
Subaru wanted to find someone who wasn’t just acting the part – they wanted the story to be authentic. They know that scenes of him urging people to listen for echoes of whale song and feel the wind will resonate with viewers.
You need to think about the brand personality you want to project. What is your unique voice? Your customers need to recognize a human being behind the brand. They want to feel a human connection. Many businesses automate processes today, but automation cannot dominate. Mixing it with personalization is vital.
Another way to humanize your company is to take people behind the scenes. This can be as simple as sharing employee stories on social media. Disney goes way beyond this in their “Behind the Scenes” tours, exposing consumers to the ‘magic’ and showing an unseen side of the company.
2. Use chatbots and other immersive technology
New technologies, like chatbots, are transforming the way companies interact with customers and make new branding trends appear on the horizon.
However, chatbots are no longer considered a new trend in the marketing industry. This tool has proven itself to be vital for every brand. This new wave in AI is helping brands to be more interactive when it comes to engaging customers. It has also paved way for conversational marketing that allows brand to guide users in their buyer journey at all times.
Many companies tend to be available to customers at all times but employing humans to perform this function would entail creating large teams at great expense. Research has revealed that many consumers prefer to connect via live chat than by making a phone call or sending an email. With a chatbot, they can interact with your brand and receive relevant messages in their inboxes. A live chat option gives them help while browsing.
3. Pay attention to online communities
One of the growing branding trends is online branded communities. These forums provide a platform where consumers can talk about brand-related topics and provide advice and tips. This allows brands to talk about products and understand customers’ needs without trying to sell.
Sephora has an online forum, Beauty Insider Community, where consumers can talk about beauty hacks, supplies, trends, look through other people’s suggestions, add their ideas, and share feedback. Customers are made to feel valued as beauty insiders and experts as they share their experiences and their photo submissions are highlighted int he gallery.
Sephora benefits by learning more about what customers want and their changing preferences. This helps them to keep their products relevant.
4. Increase brand loyalty with creative customer experiences
Customers are kept in the loop 24/7. Here’s what one of the customer service manager’s has to say about the creative way in which customers can interact with the company “Our customers can contact us 24 hours a day. They can track their orders online and can even communicate directly with writers. We also have an integrated messaging system where they can upload instructions and post additional information.”
To create customer loyalty, you need to provide an exceptional customer experience. This goes beyond giving perks or gifts. It has to be something that differentiates you from your competitors. By the year 2020, customer experience is expected to overtake product and price as a differentiator.
With their motto “All for Freedom and Freedom for All” Harley-Davidson fully understands loyalty branding trends. They have attracted a very loyal following who embrace this concept. Harley-Davidson holds “brand fests” where customers can get together and have memorable experiences. Emotional connections are created with other customers and the brand. They have seen that these events increase their sales and build brand loyalty.
5. Have a social conscience
Some branding trends are rather temporal and become abandoned as fast as they appeared. However, social conscience is something that is of permanent significance. Today consumers want to believe that companies care about the same causes they do. They want companies to care about the environment and be more intentional about diversity, inclusion, and opportunity. Modern brands need to demonstrate that they care about people as much as profits to increase trust and loyalty. Millennials believe multinationals have the ability to alleviate some of society’s biggest problems and want them to do more.
IKEA is just one of the brands that want a more sustainable future. They control water usage in their stores, use solar panels, and buy all of the cotton they use from sustainable sources. They are working towards using 100% renewable energy and sourcing all their wood from sustainable sources.
6. Think about mobile first
In 2018, even more emphasis will be placed on increasing mobile user interaction. This has already been the trend for quite some time, and those who don’t embrace will not be competitive. There’s a high possibility that your emails are being read on mobile if the content is not a custom-fit, you will lose out. CTA buttons, for example, need to be big enough to click but not so big that they take up the whole screen. Subject lines need to be shorter and paragraphs shorter too.
Email marketing in the future will become more targeted, offering curated content to individuals on their mobiles, rather than bombarding them with quantity.
7. Use Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has been popular for some time, and this trend shows no signs of abating. As much as half the population appears to depend on recommendations from influencers when making purchases. Companies flocked to influencers in 2017 to help market their products, and this practice remains the top one among branding trends in 2018.
Finding an influencer, your brand audience can relate to, can help to make your brand more visible. You need to be aware that influencer marketing is going to be more regulated from now on. The partnership will have to be clear so followers are not deceived. There is an increasing number of influencer marketing tools to make the process simple for you.
8. Go for native display advertising
Display adverts are not enough in 2018. The average banner advert has a very low click-through rate. Placing highly, targeted promotional content that matches real-time inquiries ensures that readers get more relevant advertising content. Native display ad revenue is expected to make up a large percentage of total display ad revenue in the future. Native adverts are content based, so they are more unobtrusive and blend in seamlessly with surrounding content. This content has to provide value to a consumer and not just be an advert disguised as content.
9. Create an all-encompassing marketing strategy
A meaningful strategy requires a unified approach. It needs to be discussed by representatives from different departments such as sales, marketing, and customer service. Proposals and suggestions should all be taken into consideration in coming up with a successful strategy. Creating this type of strategy can be tasking if you aren’t already familiar with all the digital marketing opportunities available to you. Consider hiring a digital marketing professional to aid in this process.
10. Create valuable content
Good educational content is a sought-after commodity in a world where floods of poor to mediocre content dominates. Producing valuable content less often is better than producing poor content daily. Followers will appreciate an in-depth analysis of topics that interest and educate them.
Brand positioning today requires a different approach from traditional methods. It has to encompass far more and relate to customers on many levels. If you want to learn more about how to apply these branding trends to your digital marketing strategy, schedule a time to talk to our experts about how we can help you grow your business this year.
Rachel Bartee is a marketing consultant and a content writer. She is content-oriented and knows how to put words into action. She feels passionate about travelling and inspired by her morning yoga. Get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.