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Branding Trends

10 Branding And Marketing Trends for 2010

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Niels Bohr once noted that "prediction is very difficult, especially about the future," but then he didn't have access to predictive loyalty metrics. Happily, we do. And, as they measure the direction and velocity of consumer values 12 to 18 months in advance of the marketplace and consumer articulations of category needs and expectations, they identify future trends with uncanny accuracy.

Having examined these measures, we offer 10 trends for marketers for 2010 that will have direct consequences to the success – or failure – of next year's branding and marketing efforts.

1) Value is the new black

Consumer spending, even on sale items, will continue to be replaced by a reason-to-buy at all. This spells trouble for brands with no authentic meaning, whether high-end or low.

2) Brands increasingly a surrogate for "value"

What makes goods and services valuable will increasingly be what's wrapped up in the brand and what it stands for. Why J Crew instead of The Gap? J Crew stands for a new era in careful chic –being smart and stylish. The first family's support of the brand doesn't hurt either.

3) Brand differentiation is Brand Value

The unique meaning of a brand will increase in importance as generic features continue to plague the brand landscape. Awareness as a meaningful market force has long been obsolete, and differentiation will be critical for success –meaning sales and profitability.

4) "Because I Said So" is so over

Brand values can be established as a brand identity, but they must believably exist in the mind of the consumer. A brand can't just say it stands for something and make it so. The consumer will decide, making it more important than ever for a brand to have measures of authenticity that will aid in brand differentiation and consumer engagement.

5) Consumer expectations are growing

Brands are barely keeping up with consumer expectations now. Every day consumers adopt and devour the latest technologies and innovations, and hunger for more. Smarter marketers will identify and capitalize on unmet expectations. Those brands that understand where the strongest expectations exist will be the brands that survive – and prosper.

6) Old tricks don't work/won't work anymore

In case your brand didn't get the memo here it is -consumers are on to brands trying to play their emotions for profit. In the wake of the financial debacle of this past year, people are more aware then ever of the hollowness of bank ads that claim "we're all in this together" when those same banks have rescinded their credit and turned their retirement plan into case studies. The same is true for insincere celebrity pairings: think Seinfeld & Microsoft or Tiger Woods & Buick. Celebrity values and brand values need to be in concert, like Tiger Woods & Accenture. That's authenticity.

7) They won't need to know you to love you

As the buying space becomes even more online-driven and international (and uncontrolled by brands and corporations), front-end awareness will become less important. A brand with the right street cred can go viral in days, with awareness following, not leading, the conversation. After all, everybody knows GM, but nobody's buying their cars.

8) It's not just buzz

Conversation and community is all; ebay thrives based on consumer feedback. If consumers trust the community, they will extend trust to the brand. Not just word of mouth, but the right word of mouth within the community. This means the coming of a new era of customer care.

9) They're talking to each other before talking to the brand

Social Networking and exchange of information outside of the brand space will increase. Look for more websites using Facebook Connect to share information with the friends from those sites. More companies will become members of Linkedin. Twitter users will spend more money on the Internet than those who don't tweet.

10) Engagement is not a fad; It's the way today's consumers do business

Marketers will come to accept that there are four engagement methods including Platform (TV; online), Context (Program; webpage), Message (Ad or Communication), and Experience (Store/Event). But there is only one objective for the future: Brand Engagement. Marketers will continue to realize that attaining real brand engagement is impossible using out-dated attitudinal models.

Accommodating these trends will require a paradigm change on the parts of some companies. But whether a brand does something about it or not, the future is where it's going to spend the rest of its life. How long that life lasts is up to the brand, determined by how it responds to today's reality.

Contributed by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys

Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop

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9 Comments

Daintree on October 01st, 2009 said

How do these translate to B2B buyers, I wonder… Similar, but different?

Kevin Gordon on October 02nd, 2009 said

The mayhem we have all experienced in the last year is just what the world has needed to focus attention away from outmoded thinking into a brave new world where the challenges ahead with global warming must be making all responsible manufacturers sit up and think…why didn’t we do this before?

The danger is, the acceleration of new developments means brands cannot catch their breath. They must keep striving to go way beyond consumer expectations, delivering much more than is necessary to ensure brand loyalty over just the present time.

The rewards for the winners and the liabilities for the losers will be enormous, and the global economic crisis has helped manufacturers become aware that there is absolutely no room for error.

In such times, it’s back to basics, and that means product benefits. Not extra widgets, but proper solid benefits. Some companies are trying to con their way out by sending bills with “Credits” or hiring call centres in Timbuktu. They are the losers, as droves of consumers tire of useless customer service.

Customers will stick with honest manufacturers.
Those who walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Amaise on October 13th, 2009 said

no.9 and no.10 are arguably the most important as it will be the community that will judge the success or failure of a brand.

J. Franklin Proeber on October 13th, 2009 said

The majority of these have been staples of branding for years: value, differentiation, authenticity, trust from unbiased sources. As for the old tricks their was an interesting article in Business Week about AmEx’s new emotional ad for building back trust which I think is one of the major branding obstacles to hurdle in 2010 especially for financial institutions. It’s a “we’re all in this together” ad that I think works.

link to jonproeber.com

People’s basic psychological reactions to ads or campaigns haven’t changed in a poor economy, but their spending patterns have. It’s how companies position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities is what will be a focus in 2010. Thoughts?

Franz on October 16th, 2009 said

“But whether a brand does something about it or not, the future is where it’s going to spend the rest of its life.”

Brands, even big ones may not financially fail, but conceptually. These points give good ideas of how stringent the market is for change. If big brands don’t develop, they might as well pack up.

Many companies in Malaysia are like that – Especially big brands that consider micro-developments and growth to be a waste of time. Small companies can then just sit down and watch their clients’ rage at them.

Alex on October 27th, 2009 said

“Social Networking and exchange of information outside of the brand space will increase”

With the advent of social networking an “authentic” brand presence online is more important than ever.

However internet businesses are the worst culprits when it comes to thinking of a brand as little more than a logo.

Will the trend outlined in item 1 mean that this will have to change and internet businesses will start to think about what message they want to communicate?

Stevegarrettvpi on December 12th, 2009 said

While the Tiger reference dates this a bit, the ten trends for 2010 are on target.

Derrick Lewis on November 10th, 2010 said

Number six is 50/50 I think. I can’t remember getting up off my couch and buying something after a commercial. Unless its food, and your brain tells you it wants to “double down”, thats playing with “man” emotions(target market). Fear marketing unfortunately won’t go away anytime soon and it drives a lot of business for big banks and donation organizations.

John on November 09th, 2011 said

“Engagement is not a fad; It’s the way today’s consumers do business.”

Well said. Brands need to engage with the customers in order to become their top of mind brand when certain needs arise. Nice tips. Thanks

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