Severe competition in all fields of business and unstoppable evolution of technology change the way we approach branding as a concept. Today, branding implies much more than just a visual differentiation of a company. It also encompasses an entire set of other elements such as customer relationships, community-centered communication, or social consciousness.
If you want to build and develop your brand comprehensively, you need to understand and implement the basic tactics of modern marketing. In this post, we will explain 10 key branding trends your business should opt for in 2018.
1. Humanization of Brands
It’s a well-known fact that customers tend to trust other people more than brands or companies. For this reason, you need to immerse into authentic and true interactions with customers. Your job is to build human relationships and not just seek options to sell. When it comes to interacting with customers, you need a less sterile strategy, which suggests less automation and more personalization.
Branding is all about storytelling and allowing potential buyers to understand the background of your company. This is exactly what Harley-Davidson did in Behind The Scenes Brand Reel – a company representative addressed viewers as peers, not purchasers, building a stronger relationship based on trust and understanding.
Speaking of automation, we should emphasize that each brand needs its own personality and unique voice. This is impossible to achieve if you let digital tools do all the work for you. Instead, you need to cherish interpersonal communication with customers and let them see that there is a real human being behind the brand. The goal is to build an authentic brand with messages that don’t sound like the voice of machines, so try to make a good mix of automation and personalization.
2. Utilizing Immersive Technology: Chatbots, Live Chats, AI
If you want to build a highly authoritative brand, you have to be there for the customers 24/7. Humans cannot do this job on their own because it would be too expensive to make big teams just to indulge potential clients. But the game changes with new technologies such as chatbots, live chats, or AI.
According to the research, almost half of consumers would rather connect with a company via live chat than any other mean of contact. The new system is much faster and less annoying than email or phone call inquiries, which makes users happier and boosts the credibility of the brand.
3. Branded Communities on Social Media
A large portion of brand promotion takes place on social media, so you have to pay special attention to these channels of communication. Online communities are one of the key branding trends in 2018 because they give followers the opportunity to discuss brand-related topics in one place. Company Sephora is a good example – they launched a special page for consumers to share tips, advice, and reviews, as well as merely talk to one another about whatever topic they like.
4. Providing Creative Customer Experiences
It’s okay to occasionally give your customers small gifts or perks, but it won’t make you any different than other competitors. You need to do something creative a customer can get involved in, thus increasing brand loyalty.
For instance, Bavaria launched a campaign Around the World in 2016, organizing a 14-day trip through 5 countries on 4 continents for the selected group of fans. They even crafted Bavaria passports for all the participants. They visited a lot of Bavaria bars along the way, providing sensational experiences for the lucky group and skyrocketing social presence of the brand.
5. Being a Socially Conscious Brand
Modern brands need to show that they don’t care only about the profit, but also about the people. For example, Starbucks created a live video from Rufus King Park in Queens, NYC, supporting the National Voter Registration Day. Their goal was to explain the importance of participative democracy to the members of local community, but at the same time, they strengthened relations with consumers.
Showing people you care about the things they do adds a lot to increase your brand trustworthiness.
6. Concentrating Most of Marketing Efforts on Mobile
Most of the e-commerce has already shifted to mobile and you must follow this trend to avoid falling behind competitors. If you want to leverage your content and use it as a potent tool for mobile user’s interaction and communication, you need to perform necessary content improvements on your mobile website.
Adapt your content so as to fit user interface – write short paragraphs, include lots of white space, and never forget CTA buttons. Once you’ve done that, you can concentrate most of the marketing efforts on mobile.
7. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is not a new thing, but it seems like this trend keeps growing and becoming more important. Around 50% of people rely on influencer recommendations before purchase, which means you probably have to utilize this tactic. Find an industry thought leader who shares the same style and values with your brand and you’ll get a win-win situation. The brand gets to earn more visibility, while the influencer grows the number of followers and improves online authority.
8. More Data-Based Native Advertising
You can hardly increase brand awareness without paid ads, but the year is 2018 and you need to go beyond merely promotional messages. A study proved that native display ad revenue will make up 74% of total US display ad revenue by 2021.
Using data-based native advertising, you can publish highly targeted promotional content to match real-time inquiries of your audience. Doing so, you will provide users with relevant but unobtrusive advertising content, boosting the efficiency of your campaigns.
9. Going Beyond a Marketing Department
Contemporary marketing requires an all-around knowledge, which makes it a very difficult business. If you want to design a truly meaningful strategy, you need to gather representatives of all units to discuss brand-related issues.
The best thing you can do here is to unify teams of different departments (marketing, sales, customer service, etc.) and let them present suggestions and proposals one by one. Once you’ve heard all opinions, you can put things in perspective and come up with an all-encompassing marketing strategy for your brand.
10. Being Truly Educational
The world around us is constantly developing, learning, and facing a lot of information or even fake news. In such circumstances, a brand should be able to deliver true, educational and guiding content.
It is much better to create valuable content once a week than to publish ephemeral content every day. Try to give your followers in-depth analysis of every topic and treat them as equals – they will appreciate you more and establish stronger relations with the brand.
Not so long ago, branding was considered to be a strictly visual aspect of a business. However, times have changed and companies approach branding as the broad concept with a variety of different features.
We revealed 10 key branding trends your business should opt for in 2018. Which one of these elements is most important for your company? Do you think there are other features important for the development of a brand? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the topic, we would be glad to discuss it!
About the Author:
Rachel Bartee is a content writer and a marketing consultant at AU Best Essays. She is content-oriented and knows how to put words into action. She feels passionate about traveling and inspired by her morning yoga. Get in touch on Twitter.