I recently asked my magic eight ball where branding was headed in the next five years and it answered “concentrate and ask again.” It seems it doesn’t want to be held liable for any faulty advice. But, in the meantime, here is my take on where branding is headed and how you should get your business ready so you can ride the wave before it crashes.
Social Consciousness & Purpose. Already in full swing social conscious brands are about to make an even bigger impact on future branding. Almost a decade ago CEOs finally understood what made fans instead of just customers: a social mission. Attaching a cause or purpose to your brand is about to become even more mainstream. It’s no longer just companies like Panera and Levi’s who are catching on to this trend. There is now a whole movement of social entrepreneurship that is emerging. But, before you decide to give away 10% of your profit to charity make sure the cause you choose is right for your business. Not every brand is built to be socially conscious –and that’s ok. The larger idea here is seeing that customers are moved by “purpose” and not just service or product. And, your purpose, whether it’s linked to a charity or not, could be just as noble as feeding the hungry.
Experience. Experiential marketing is on the rise and it’s time you joined to party. Campaigns like Bud Light’s Whatever, USA where outrageous experiences and activities are sprung on unexpected participants is a great example of the power of experience marketing. Watch A Whatever USA commercial here: http://youtu.be/bT7SKJ30SyI. But how does this relate to your brand? Well you don’t need millions of dollars to make it an experience. You just need the courage to do things a little differently. Start thinking of what your brand would be like if it was a person, taste or smell and then craft it into an experience for your customers. These experiences trigger emotional responses that are then stored in the brain, which means the next time they think of your brand they will associate you with a feeling instead of just a service or product.
Human Touch. Now, this might sound like a paradox but in the next five years branding is about to get a lot more personal. I know, it’s the information age and we all love our gadgets. But, it’s no surprise that as technology advances, and we all spend more time looking at screens than at people, that features such as live events are on the rise. People need to be around other people to survive, and the more isolated we become the more adding a human touch to your brand will be vital. Make sure you are interacting with your customers personally – not just through email – and make them feel appreciated. Basic human qualities like connecting and listening are crucial responses only you can give, not your computer.
Where do you think branding is headed in the next five years? Let us know your thoughts below or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.