The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Category: Branding Trends
There’s a profound shift in power taking place in the business arena. With a whole new breed of exceptional new brands living by the rules of Business 3.0, consumers are now attracted to unproven and unknown brands the way they were attracted to established brands in the past. In fact, ‘established’ is now often just another word for tired if not tainted. The future belongs to Clean Slate Brands. Newer, better, faster, cleaner, more open and responsive; consumers are rushing to Clean Slate Brands and are now lavishing love, attention and trust on brands without heritage and history. Driving this trend:
1. Lust for the New > Why for consumers, ‘new’ now truly means ‘better’
The consumer arena has never been more fixated on the ‘new’. Thanks to the democratization and globalization of innovation (not to mention the celebration of entrepreneurship), brands and individuals from all corners of the world are now working around the clock to dream up and launch endless new products and services, that are truly better and more exciting than current offerings. Lower barriers to entry has gone from buzzphrase to reality, especially online.
And to underscore the ‘for and by’ element of the democratization of innovation, new players are by default more nimble and laser-focused on what consumers want now (as opposed to yesterday) than the bigger legacy-laden brands they compete with.
So from being something that was pushed to consumers by businesses (‘new and improved’), the ‘new’ is now subject to an increasingly strong pull from consumers. Excited by positive experiences of a ‘new’ that is genuinely ‘better’, consumers are hungry for more.
2. Instant Trust > Why consumers are immediately comfortable with, even prefer, turning to Clean Slate Brands
The whole concept of ‘brands’ rests on the idea that consumers need recognizable, trusted symbols, honed over many years, to help them navigate the wealth of available choices. However this idea is being swept aside in a business arena now characterized by Instant Trust.
This trend is most relevant in mature economies, where trust in big business has never been lower: only 28% trust big business in the UK, 30% in Japan, 32% in Australia, 33% in the US and 34% in Canada. In emerging markets however, consumers’ trust levels are much higher: 83% in China, 72% in Turkey, 65% in Brazil and India (Havas, January 2013). The question is: will big business maintain this trust?
Four forces are making consumers immediately comfortable with (and even prefer) turning to Clean Slate Brands:Read More
At root, all marketing is local, but never more so than today. Economically, the geographies that matter to brand marketers are sub-national, mostly local. In particular, marketing is increasingly all about cities.
For one thing, local city economies matter more than national economies. A recent paper by Brigham Young University economist Todd Mitton found that the economic performance of sub-national regions within the 101 countries studied is influenced more by natural factors than by institutions, except when these regions function autonomously. Which is to say, when not dominated by far-away national institutions, everything comes together, natural and institutional, to enable key sub-national regions to excel and outperform the rest of the country. The takeaway is that national economies as a whole fare better when local economies are unleashed and untethered.
What is true for macroeconomic policymakers is true for brand marketers, too. Local is where the action is, cities in particular. Not the least reason is that cities are where people are. Excluding urban “clusters,” which often include small towns, the 2010 Census found that 71.2 percent of the U.S. population lives in 468 “urbanized areas” of 50,000 or more people. But the concentration within cities is even more pronounced – the top 48 urbanized areas account for more than half of the U.S. urban population. It is estimated that 60 million of the additional 100 million people projected by 2043 will live in one of nearly two dozen “megapolitan” areas.
It’s no surprise, then, that cities are also the engines of economic growth. A Brookings Institution analysis of 2009 economic data found that in 47 of 50 states, metro areas accounted for the majority of a state’s economic output. Even more, in 15 states, just one metro area accounted for the bulk of output. Cities produce a disproportionate share of exports. Cities attract the most talented, best educated people (whom Richard Florida famously described as the “creative class”). And cities possess the most valuable assets for future growth.
What’s true for the U.S. is true globally as well, particularly in emerging economies. From 2010 to 2050, the urban population of the developed world is projected to grow 0.6 percent per year. In contrast, the urban population of the developing world is projected to grow 2.4 percent per year, or a total of 2.6 billion people. In 2007, a mere 600 cities (out of 4,000 or so worldwide with populations of 100,000 or more) accounted for 60 percent of global GDP. Between now and 2025, the top 600 cities will account for 65 percent of GDP growth in the global economy. The mix of the top 600 cities will change, with 136 new cities, all from the developing world, 100 of them from China.Read More
The Facebook newsfeeds we will see at the end of next year will look very different from the ones we see now. We will see the rise of bigger, bolder, more interactive – and intrusive – Facebook advertisements in 2013.
It was only a matter of time before Facebook sought to monetize and justify its massive valuation. The drive for effective and revenue-generating advertising will draw on its powerful social ecosystem, pushing the creative formats and placements far away from the ads we see today.
Brands will be permitted to be more visible on members’ newsfeeds, growing the use of sponsored stories and video ads (which will become highlighted in users’ feeds). Advertisers will also be prominent across more of the landing page – expandable and richer formats will be prevalent by the end of the year. With these new opportunities will come increased responsibility for advertisers to deliver quality content that enhances the user experience rather than invades the platform.
Facebook will morph from a relatively private social space to a business entity driven by the bottom line. Brands will need to tread carefully as they explore these new opportunities. Some users will tolerate prominent advertising in return for free access to their friends and social connections, but others may balk at increased commercialization. Seeing their personal data sold for targeted advertising may cause resentment, unless brands deliver engaging content that is appropriate for this personal space.
As brands start to invest higher CPMs in more impactful ad units, it will become increasingly important to optimize visuals and messaging. Some of this will be measured in real-time, and copy-testing of Facebook ads will also start to be more widely employed. By the end of 2013 we will better understand users’ reactions to Facebook advertising, and we will know which formats successfully deliver brand impact without alienating users. – Martin Ash
2. Social Media Listening Evolves From Monitoring To InsightRead More
The New Year, 2013, approaches. And as everyone knows, the number 13 holds great symbolism. For the religious among us there were the 13 guests at the Last Supper and the 13 tribes of Israel. Scientists know the Universe is governed by 13 fundamental constants of physics, and the relationship between the volume of the Earth and the Sun is 1310. For shoppers there’s added value of 13 items comprising a “baker’s dozen.” Anthropologists study the 13 skies of the Aztecs.
But for marketers and brand managers who want to look beyond the horizon, we have identified 13 critical trends for 2013:
1. The Expectation Economy
Over the past decade, customer expectations have increased on average by 28%. But brands in all categories overall have kept up by only 8%, which anyone at the checkout counter can tell you is an awfully big gap between what brands offer and what customers desire. Accurate measures of real, often hidden, expectations provide significant advantages to brands that understand their value and point to how to delight customers.
The consumers’ heightened awareness of their actual control, added to the commoditization of brands and products, equals a significant segment of consumers craving customized and personalized products and services (see success of Pinterest). Customization will become an even more important brand differentiator, with returns-on-investments of loyalty and profitability made-to-order for your brand.
3. (E)tail Everywhere
Along with consumer expectations, online retailing increases daily. But increases in brand equity, and usage among online retailers, will come with consumers’ desires to be constantly connected to these brands. Brands will have to watch for online retail pop-up stores, like Amazon, and physical kiosks for brands like Groupon, and think in terms of broader access.Read More
Make no mistake; it’s an exciting time to be alive – especially if you happen to make your living as a brand designer. Opportunities for brand designers to bring value to their clients are everywhere – in every culture and in every industry category. Here are five trends that may effect our future success.
We are at the dawn of a new age in human development and progress. Ideas and innovations around the planet are compounding daily in every field of human endeavor. It’s amazing to witness in our lifetime how science is just beginning to hold a faint glimpse of understanding into the amazing power of the human mind and the mysteries surrounding the composition of the universe.
Everything that ever was, is now or ever will be is at first a thought seed in the creative mind. We are creating at a pace that is exceeding the projections of the most optimistic forecasts for innovation and human progress. All of this amazing human output has been designed!
What kind of future will we design? The interesting thing about predicting future trends is no one can say with certainty that your prediction is wrong. Looking out over the horizon, what does the future hold for today’s brand marketer and brand designer? What will the future look like? More importantly, in an era of crowd-sourced commoditized creativity, how will brand designers add new and greater value to their clients in ways that matter to them and they will pay extra for?
These are important questions to ponder if you want to have a thriving career and business in the brand consulting and design game now and into the next decade.
Outlined here are five trends impacting the future of brand design.Read More