We are still in the beginning of the year so I would like to tune into what I believe will be the key brand and marketing trends for 2015. You have probably already heard about the Big Macro Trends – economic slowdown in many countries, political uncertainty, a power shift from West to East, technological convergence. And so on.
I chose instead to focus on consumer trends for brands to watch out for and act upon in 2015.
Authenticity & transparency. This is an area where consumers put serious pressure on companies and there is no way back. If you want to be successful in the long run you have to be honest about what your brand stands for, how you can deliver differently and what is your purpose. When your brand make mistakes, admit and correct them as soon as possible. With the power of Internet, rumors and facts spread with immense pace. If your brand has a vision of making this world a little bit better, show it don't just tell it. That will establish trust and respect among your customers.
Memorable brand experiences. This is not something new but it is eminently important in today's arduous competition. With so much buzz out there, you have to create truly marvelous experiences to make your customers remember and prefer your brand instead of your competitors. How do you cultivate a memorable brand? First you need to define exactly what your brand experience should be and how it is better and different than the rest. Secondly, you need to deliver that brand experience seamlessly across all customer touch points where everyone in your organisation has to act as an inspired brand ambassador. Thirdly, your brand has to deliver not only what customers expect but also an additional personal touch with tangible or intangible value. Why? Because it is this unexpected “personal touch" that convert your customers brand experience into a truly memorable one.
Digital is a necessity. Until recently digital was seen as a supplement to the traditional marketing mix where it now should be seen as the essential platform from where your brand communicates with its diverse audiences. Social media is an ever-evolving medium that will reward brands for originality, relevance and creativity. Customers anticipate you to be agile, personal and interactive in your digital conversations with them. They resist homogenization and prefer human connections along with quality content, especially if we are talking about the Millennials. Brands need to adjust to those demands and move towards individualized and localized marketing activities, utilizing pertinent digital channels. All those expectations require companies to promote an internal culture that embrace the latest digital technology in addition to having the skills and insights to manage it successfully.
Relationships and people matters. Crowd funding is rapidly increasing where a person or start-up with limited resources and grand dreams can be supported by the power of a larger crowd, just because that dream matters to them as well. Locally produced goods, specifically food are in immense demand and people are willing to pay lofty prices just to buy from someone they have a relationship with. We favour the local coffee shop on the corner just because the barista knows us. Building strong relationships is important for any brand.
Local brands gain grounds. For a long time China was the heaven for all global brands with a seemingly endless appetite for international premium brands. That has changed. Quickly. Chinese consumers are now starting to take pride in purchasing their local brands instead, especially since the quality has increased considerably and many local brands have created an alluring image. The same tendency can be seen in other markets across the world. Local understanding and pride vs. global muscles.
An inspiring story wins. People love stories and brands with great stories to tell are more likely to win the hearts and minds of consumers. Your story should build upon authenticity and emotional brand values. Align the brand story with your entire communication and each consumer interaction to create a meaningful differentiation.
I want it now. Consumers crave to have their products and services immediately without even visiting a retailer. To get their attention you are obliged to deliver a customized online experience with superior service and extraordinarily nimble delivery. There is no time to waste in life.
Brands and marketers face challenges every day, by virtue of operating in a constant state of change, so in what way can these trend insights enable your brand to endure more success during 2015? Through providing you with a chance to explore and embrace new opportunities, transform your old blue print and empower you to perform as a brand champion.
Time to design a new game plan.