Branding Trends

Top 10 Branding Trends in 2019, Part 2

This is the second part of our two-part article on branding trends in the coming year. In part one we covered the first five trends to be aware of:

  1. Brands who implement playful interactions will win
  2. The rise of chatbots
  3. The importance of organic influencers
  4. Sales and marketing working in unison
  5. The importance of being mobile ready

In the following post, we take a deep dive into the importance of mobile, how legislative branding is more than just activism because it’s changing the way we do business. We discuss how the birth of the lab rat through brands such as Fitbit, Strava and Apple health has transformed the way we interact with our customers on a daily basis. And how Artificial Intelligence is a force to not only be reckoned with but has to be ethical and transparent to win support in the broader context.

6. Brands Must Leverage Voice Search in Their Brand Strategy

The smart speaker market, such as Google home and Amazon Alexa, has moved on from early adopter territory into the mainstream and should be considered in your brand strategy. According to Marketing Trends (2018), [1] 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in the last 12 months, while one in five EU consumers have shopped using voice or text agents.”

As we make more advances in the new technology you need to consider how your customers may be asking these devices various questions. [1] “Econsultancy notes that consumer voices searches are more colloquial as well as more personal.” Therefore it’s imperative you engage in a brainstorming session to ensure you rank on each specific system. Below is a video published by GDS summit on how to leverage Alexa to reinvent the customer experience:

How Tide Leveraged Alexa to Improve Customer Experience

Let’s be honest, we’ve all sspiltcoffee or red wine on our favourite T-shirt or carpet. Tide a laundry detergent and fabric care product, based out of the US under the Proctor & Gamble umbrella, gave peace of mind to its customers by integrating Amazon Alexa in their marketing strategy.

Branding Trends

Image via Tide

As stated by Inc (2018) [2], “offering step-by-step instructions for every type of stain, this hands-free skill is especially useful when your hands are busy.’’ From a users perspective this is an innovative approach to addressing an unmet need and will have a massive effect on their brand equity. Checkout the video below on how they executed the ingenious marketing idea.

7. Legislative Branding Strategy is More Than Just Activism

As the world’s population grows exponentially so does the inevitable problems we, unfortunately, cause to people and our planet. With growing problems around unemployment, sustainability, war and political unrest it has become increasingly difficult for governments and institutions to solve these major issues. As a result, we’ve seen a conscious effort by brands to take a stand towards a better outcome, largely because the consumers and haters are urging for someone to take action based on solid brand values.  

According to Trendwatch (2018), [3]” In 2019, frustrated consumers will welcome LEGISLATIVE BRANDS: corporate interests using their significant power to call for, promote, and even impose laws that drive constructive change and make the world a better place.”

Adidas Vows Only to Use Recycled Plastic by 2024

Iconic brands like Adidas have vowed to only use recycled polyester in all its shoes and clothing by 2024 which was ultimately caused by threatened boycotts on fast moving consumer goods and retailers so causing companies to scramble for higher ground.

Related: How to Use Brand Values to Drive Unwavering Customer Trust and Commitment

Branding Trends

Image via, Recycled Plastic Adidas & Parley for the Oceans

As stated by [4] Financial Times (2018). “Adidas’s move comes as more brands embrace recycled materials, in part to burnish their green credentials and increase their appeal as an anti-plastics movement has swept across the UK and Europe.”

We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to come up with brand values that really mean something to your ideal customers so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:

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Microsoft Stance on Paid Parental Leave

Back in 2015, Microsoft vowed that it would enforce all suppliers connected to the giant to incorporate paid time off. In 2018, it decided to take the concept of leave even further. As stated by Microsoft (2018), “over the next 12 months we will work will work with our U.S. suppliers to implement this new paid parental leave policy. It will require that suppliers offer their employees a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave, up to $1,000 per week.” They stressed the importance of how every family needs to be with their family and vowed to only do business with vendors who shared a similar sentiment.

8. Branding Strategy will Be Influenced by the ‘Lab Rat’ Phenomenon

In 2018, there was an area in the wellness industry that gained major strides in terms of innovation and interest from brands and consumers alike. The birth of the ‘lab rat’ was first introduced by brands like Apple Health, Strava, and Fitbit. Insurance companies like Discovery Health were even taking it a step further and integrating various applications into their health plans. According to [3] Trendwatching (2019), “science fiction-level technologies are now within reach of boundary-pushing consumers.”

How Nestle Pivoted to Health & Wellness

In 2018, we saw Nestlé, a global giant in the food sector pivot towards the global trend of improving one’s longevity and wellness. The programme, which began in Japan, combines a mix of DNA, Instagram and Artificial Intelligence resulting in a health data concoction that provides the company with a wealth of information about their customers’ wellness and dietary habits.  

In Japan, as stated by [6] Independent (2018), ” 100,000 users of the ‘Nestlé Wellness Ambassador’ programme send pictures of their food via the popular Line app that then recommends lifestyle changes and specially formulated supplements. The programme can cost $600 (£463) a year for capsules that make nutrient-rich teas, smoothies and other products such as vitamin-fortified snacks.”

These global giants can no longer rely on their brand name alone to push products, hence Nestlé decided to sell off its candy unit because of an increasing shift in consumer behaviour within the sugar-coated sector. Advances in DNA testing has allowed consumers to gain more insight than ever before about their body through blood and genetics test.  It’s only a matter of time before other brands also jump on board this growing trend.

Branding Trends

Image via Bloomberg

Even though brands are pivoting towards a wellness focus that improves health and longevity brands must be extremely careful about what they do with their customers’ data. This is brought into even sharper focus when you consider all the various privacy scandals and data breaches in the last year alone. Facebook is still endeavouring to repair its reportedly damaged reputation. Check out the Youtube video below, showing what these brands have access to. Transparency is crucial to build and nurture customers’ trust in brands. Remember, trust is everything because customers, B2B or B2C, do not buy or engage positively with brands they don’t trust.

Are you a business leader, manager or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy so you can effectively identify and leverage brand trends to increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our branding workshops because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value so you can command a premium.

In fact, the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is all about fast-tracking you, your brand and your business through the brand building, brand strategy process using big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results so you can grow your business faster and more effectively.

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9. Branding Initiatives and Product Innovation Likely to be Shared Between Brands

According to [3] Trendwatching (2018) “The boldest and most inspiring organizations will embrace OPEN SOURCE SOLUTIONS: sharing and even giving away their innovative solutions to our toughest shared problems.” Similar to brands having a legislative influence on the world, the efforts of challenger brands and the mighty muscle of brand giants such as Pepsico, Coca-Cola, Unilever, and H&M — have all had a positive impact and signed pledges to eliminate the use of non recyclable plastic by 2025.  

Although this is a step in the right direction, these brands only have limited impact when viewed in the greater scheme of things relative the world’s overall consumerist population. To put this into context, [7] Fortune (2018) stated that McDonald’s and Starbucks only  “distribute a combined 4% of the worlds 600 billion cups annually”.  

What’s important to understand here is, how this trend will affect the world of branding. Even though the so-called mega brands are taking a step in the right direction, these problems can’t be solved by them alone so a shared effort coupled with real political will is needed make the much-needed big transformative difference in the world.

How IKEA and HP Combined Forces

As stated by [8] Nextwave Plastics (2018) ” HP Inc. and IKEA – are joining its consortium of worldwide businesses committed to scaling the use of ocean-bound plastics by developing the first global network of ocean-bound plastics supply chains. The addition of IKEA and HP marks 10 companies collaborating to “turn off the tap” of plastic entering the ocean.” Both IKEA and HP recognize the importance of teaming up with entities to make a more impactful effort on the pollution crisis our world is currently facing.

Dell, another technology giant also partnered with Next Wave Plastics and released their brand story back in 2017. As a result, a domino effect of open source branding strategy is starting to gather momentum and we’ll likely see more companies follow the movement in 2019. Check out Dell’s video below:

Uber, Lyft & Ford Team Up

Another great example of shared initiatives comes from challenger brands – peer-to-peer ride-sharing platforms and American automaker Ford, Uber and Lyft. As stated by [9] Ford (2018), “Ford Motor Company, Uber and Lyft today announced an unprecedented commitment to Shared Streets, a new data platform designed to make it easier for the private sector to work with cities around the world and leverage data to improve urban mobility.”

Related: How Do Challenger Brands Become Market Leaders?

These partnerships make perfect sense and reflect a growing trend in a world that is becoming more congested and favours Socially Conscious Branding. We’ll likely see more companies join the movement, given the amount of car brands out there on the road today.

10. AI Branding Strategy Forced to Be Transparent

And finally, while there has been a negative cloud over the last year in the technology world,  hopefully, it portends towards a more positive future. People have been left outraged by the misuse of data and privacy breaches, some have been left speechless, others have made their voices heard. AI and some marketing tech have left people disheartened by what technology is supposed to achieve compared to its actual output.

Related: How to Build a Brand Like Amazon, Technology Branding and Marketing

As Stated by [1] Trendwatching (2018). “In 2019, rising numbers of consumers will demand SUPERHUMAN RESOURCES: ethical AI and algorithms that deliver fair and unbiased decisions.”

Over the years, we have seen an increase in decisions being made based solely on informed AI and algorithms. From Donald Trump’s attack on fake news media companies, the alleged Russian collusion in the US election, to facial recognition software working 99% of the time only on caucasians, it’s obvious why we are left in a sceptical and wary state.

As a result, people are rightly demanding that brands become more accountable and transparent about the technology they’re leveraging and how much it’s being used to influence customer behaviour.

If you want to broaden your knowledge about AI and its capabilities check out BBC’s video below:

Facebook Implements Fairness Flow

As stated by [10] Facebook code (2018), “The path for taking AI from research to production has historically involved paid licenses, multiple development tools, and other hurdles. Closed and scattered development frameworks can make it complicated and time-intensive to test new approaches, deploy them, and iterate to improve accuracy and performance.” Thus Facebook is leaving it up to the AI contributors from different organizations to collaborate and work together to ensure ethical AI occurs, by allowing anyone to access the code and crack it.

So as the technology world becomes more complicated we will likely see brands become more transparent and work together, to avoid consumers being taken advantage of. There is definitely a need for a common ground to set the foundation of technology use in the future. The question is, will this be a co-branding opportunity or a hostile takeover?

Final Word

Top 10 Branding Trends 2019 PART 1:

In conclusion, we’re all aware that the marketing landscape and technological advances inevitably evolve. As a brand and individual, it’s important to stay abreast of all relevant innovations. Not only does it bode well for word-of-mouth but it improves the customer lifetime value of your brand.

We seldom connect the dots in terms of what can be achieved, such as leveraging smart speaker devices as a means to generate content that is worth using to address an unmet need. However, it’s more difficult to be a first mover if technology has let us down in the past. The trick is to keep an open mind and be constantly curious about what potential it could offer.

If you don’t think a particular aspect of ‘new tech’ will make an impact don’t write it off in its entirety immediately. Instead, keep a close eye on it as it evolves over time because at some stage the ‘new trend’ will probably gain momentum and impact your brand and business so you need to be equipped to harness the opportunity offered — or risk being left behind.

Top 10 Branding Trends 2019 PART 2:

It has become evident that brands alike can make a positive impact on lawmakers and government legislation and so be catalysts for positive change on society and improve sustainability issues. One thing for certain is, we have strength in numbers. Arguably, for the greater good, we should strive towards a better future in collaboration with one another.

If advances in technology improve the general well being of others, be sure to consider the ethical implications and don’t be tempted to risk breaching codes of conduct just to make an extra buck. The future is bright and we’re better off collaborating in our branding strategy endeavours to make a positive impact as opposed to only competing.

People fall in love with transparent brands and, more importantly, are loyal to them, so the question is, how transparent are you?

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Related: Rebrand or Refresh? That is the Question

Questions to Consider

  1. Do you understand the different categories of marketing technology so you can leverage them in your brand strategy?
  2. How much real consideration have you given AI and Machine learning in terms of negative impact versus positive leverage?
  3. How could you leverage the element of play to encourage more favourable customer experience and behaviour with your brand?
  4. Can your brand use a Chatbot to improve your customers’ experience?
  5. Is your website mobile friendly and does it follow your branding guidelines? Do you have brand guidelines?
  6. How much of an impact does your brand have on the environment? Is CSR an integral part of your brand strategy?
  7. What could you change now, to make a positive impact?
  8. Would your brand benefit from brand revitalisation or does it need a total rebrand to be relevant given the dominant trends in 2019?  
  9. Is it time to diversify your offering or re-evaluate you complete brand architecture or  product hierarchy?
  10. Does your brand need a brand audit health check to help it maintain relevance, identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for innovation and growth with the changing trends in the year ahead?

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