Branding takes some new twists and turns

As we continue into a new and uncertain era, branding is seemingly veering off into new and untested directions. Standard branding strategies are now being looked at with a more critical eye. So, how can a small business plan a branding campaign and know if it will have the wanted effect? This is where it may get tricky. In some recently published research, FinancesOnline ventured out to see exactly where the state of branding is and where it may be going. The following is taken directly from that published data:

  • Modern customers want substance and they want purpose. The way you uphold your company values as well as what advocacies you stand up for resonate more with them than how pretty your color scheme is or how detailed your logo may be. As such, the top challenges for brand managers today include creating the right message for the right audience and balancing personalization with brand voice.
  • Brand building in the 21st century is no walk in the park. It can take years to build a strong identity that represents your brand. Furthermore, once you’ve developed that, it will still take you at least 7 impressions to elicit brand recall. In addition, brand managers deal with other challenges. For instance, when the pandemic hit, consumers shifted their focus from self-actualization and esteem to belonging and safety needs. Brands needed to quickly act and change their strategy to create unique COVID-19 campaigns.
  • Trends have been a focal point in the digital age. People have their eyes glued on their social media accounts for the latest technology, gadget, fashion design, and trends in various industries. However, this culture of “keeping up with the Joneses” can be frustrating and tiring for a lot of consumers. This is why blasts from the past now play a more meaningful role in branding.Many relish the past and wish to recapture the feeling of how things used to be. By using nostalgic brand marketing, you can invoke these old memories and attach positive feelings to your products and services. Therefore, you can improve the chances of boosting customer trust and brand recall. This is backed by a 2017 Nielsen study that revealed advertising aligned with emotions yields better results (Nielsen, 2017).
  • A study released by PR News found that online content with good images receives 94% more views than those without (Solve, 2020). This can be attributed to the fact that this type of visual content aims to promote your brand without the risk of overt advertising. In addition, visual content such as GIFs, charts, infographics, and videos allows you to generate new leads more effectively on social media. They have a better shot at being noticed compared to ads that simply lay out what products you have to offer.

See the source image

  • The accessibility of the internet has paved the way for an always-on social media culture. This consequently transformed sites like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram into prime spots for building your brand. This is why it comes as no surprise that 90% of organizations leverage social media for brand awareness (Hootsuite, 2020).  That said, you should pay attention to how you showcase your products and services on these platforms. A good way to start is to zero in on which sites your customers mostly use and study the format of each social network. After all, these platforms focus on different types of content. For instance, Twitter relies more on written content while Instagram relies on visuals.
  • After this, you’ll need to create a consistent visual theme for your accounts. This means creating a color scheme and having a standard for photo editing and layout to give your brand a more solid identity. Lastly, you will have to develop a voice for your brand. Do you want to sound formal? Quirky? Punny? Be sure to create a lingo that speaks to your target audience and stick to it.
  • Customer trust has hit an all-time low in the past couple of years. In the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, it was reported that only 34% of consumers trust brands they buy from. This is why creating an authentic brand image is critical for modern businesses (Edelman, 2019). A Stackla report on consumer content revealed that 86% of shoppers view authenticity as a huge factor in purchasing decisions (Stackla). Moreover, the same study also reported that a whopping 90% of millennials say authenticity is important in branding, noting that they prefer “real and organic” companies over those that are “perfect and packaged.” This data goes to show that photoshopped ads, heavily edited commercials, and using picture-perfect models no longer have an allure to modern shoppers. They would much rather do business with companies that are honest with them.
  • The modern business landscape has taken customer-centrism to new heights. Being customer-driven was no longer just about conducting surveys to find out what your target market wants. Nowadays, brands are directly involving their customers in the development of products. In a study by Bulbshare, statistics showed that 77% of shoppers prefer brands that collaborate with them (Bulbshare, 2018). This is because the simple act of letting them join your creative process empowers them. Furthermore, this approach makes you look more trustworthy and authentic. The same study revealed that a majority (86%) of these consumers view customer-driven brands as more trustworthy. Meanwhile, 81% of them find brands that collaborate as more authentic than their competitors.

-Written by Kevin Sawyer