What’s your main marketing takeaway from last year?
We can’t undo all the emotional stress, economic and existential crises 2020 brought, but we cannot deny that in the midst of battling those foes, branding trends shifted gears exponentially.
What was once seen as modern and revolutionary, became old fashioned overnight. Not to mention that the term “conventional” completely lost its meaning. “New Normal” on the other hand, overstayed its welcome, but it seems it’s here to stay.
Why are Trends Important in Branding?
Every brand must reflect three major aspects:
– Unique internal value, a differentiator
– Quality product and/or service
– Relevancy, according to concurrent cultural DNA
Branding trends are explicitly embedded in the latter. They constantly evolve and change with the times and shifting consumer desires and their (often unmet) needs.
Before acting upon them, a respective company/organization must establish its brand strategy or consult a professional brand strategy agency in order to scale, no, skyrocket its business!
What are Key Branding Trends in 2021?
As we enter the new decade, we want to understand the incoming branding trends and analyze their potential impact. How? By reflecting on the previous year, a year of vexing disruptions and remarkable innovation.
- The Power of Nostalgia
“Before the pandemic” became one of the fastest rising keywords both spoken and as a search engine result. The older we get, we subconsciously romanticize the times past, and now that millennials make up the bulk of the active workforce, the power of nostalgia peaks.
In stressful times, amidst the abundance of hashtags, the compulsory need to keep up can be extremely taxing. That’s when the past becomes a shelter.
Nostalgic branding exploits that call of the past by recapturing the idyllic atmosphere. Leading brands like Spotify, Nike, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and even “trendsetting” Apple utilize the “passion for the past” in their branding. The abundance of throwbacks to the ’80s and ‘90s pop-culture in the entertainment industry goes without saying.
- The Customer Experience
Customer satisfaction should be a constant strive, but a massive shift to a remote workforce and lockdown occurrences in 2020 raised that bar. Newborn impatience made efficiency, quality and speed desired more than ever before.
What is marketing exactly? It’s no longer a conveyance of a persuasive message to buy or work with a certain company, but providing a top-notch customer experience that keeps clients wanting more and more.
So, if an impressive brand image, presence and quality service coupled with personalization, convenience and efficiency leads to a seamless customer experience, the fuse is lit.
It’s difficult to evoke real feelings from your consumers based solely on your digital experience without direct face-to-face interaction and human touch. But that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do.
Branding your web design from your logo to any picture you post to consistent font and color use in the site is an easy but effective way to do that. For example, this nyc web design company can make sure that you get the best web design and improve your ux.
- Minimalistic Branding
Look at Google, Pepsi, Apple, or any other corporate global giant. What do they have in common? They all retained or returned to simplistic branding. Simplicity and clarity are what customers identify with their personal experience when interacting with a respective brand.
A subcategory of minimalistic aesthetics is the broad usage of patterns as an extension of your brand. There’s something soothing in symmetry.
- Exemplify and Represent
In short, stand for something! In times where strong opinions became customary, apathy is a death sentence. Convenience services are not the end means to your customers’ attention. They should only add to the invaluable offer of shared values.
When it comes to the questions such as social justice or environmental consciousness, neutrality simply won’t cut it. Opinionated younger markets like Gen Z and millennials tend to put their trust in brands that “do what is right.”
Taking a stance and reflecting it through your branding material has two results: customers buy the product and/or service they need and they feel they are contributing to a worthy cause.
With the rise of VR and voice search automation tech, visual branding importance tends to oversaturate the conventional “readable” content.
It’s simple really: people prefer visual stimuli over blocks of text. That’s one of the reasons why exclusively visual social media channels including Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok are gaining more and more subscriptions. However, multimedial and large, Facebook is a stagnant beast that’s becoming eerily similar to PTA meetings.
Visuals are also easier to remember than written content, especially for the aforementioned millennials and zoomers. Smart implementation of valuable data, including infographics, images and videos is not only enticing but also easier to digest.
It may sound contrary to the previous point, but written content isn’t outdated. Far from it. Relevant research suggests that long-form blogs tend to attract a larger audience compared to short-form posts. They need only one key ingredient: valuable and relevant information.
However, content-heavy branding needs to mesh with flashy visuals and add an emotional hook to its already imposing arsenal.
Building a constant relationship with your customers, playing with their hearts, knowing their hypothetical problems and offering desired satisfaction/solutions are all the symptoms of alluring storytelling.
In its essence, branding is about telling a story.
Call it what you will, but the future is now. AI-powered chatbots are no longer a novelty and more and more companies have adopted them for 24/7 customer support.
This trend will most certainly continue to be an essential part of digital marketing in 2021. Chatbots use instant messaging to chat in real-time and if well-optimized, they provide the authentic illusion of human interaction.
Aside from the repetitive task of answering standard user inquiries, chatbots act as an inbound channel for sales. Many customers even prefer interacting with chatbots, for their around the clock availability and for their prompt and accurate responses.
Branding trends come and go, but in times when businesses are in danger of doing the same, it’s not an easy decision to determine which of them are lasting, and which are passing fads.
That’s the main takeaway for 2021, the main trend. Be on your toes and keep an ear to the ground. Without sacrificing integrity, experiment and utilize potentially prolific novelties to your advantage.