It’s that time of the (new) year again: to predict what lies ahead for the days, weeks, and months to come. Although nobody can no for sure what the year might hold, it’s a valuable exercise to keep up to date with shifts in the marketing industry.
One of the tools in a brand’s arsenal to guide the way forward, much like trend analysis reports and New Year predictions, is the practice of strategic planning. Brands are continually evolving, so their brand strategy should too.
Here are some predictions for 2018 that brands should take note of if they want to remain relevant this year to their audiences:
A brand with a heart
Terms and phrases such as CSR and ‘giving back’ have been overused and consequently, many consumers are sceptical of brands’ motivation behind these initiatives. These cliched phrases have these negative connotations because some brands try to use them to sell their cause. Immediately, this makes a brand seem insincere.
Predications are that in the coming year, these notions will transform into talking about brand purpose and putting purpose at the centre of the brand. Brand purpose involves integrating the aspirational mission of the brand into the brand’s day-to-day offerings. The brand purpose needs to be genuine and sincere for consumers to believe it.
Successfully utilising brand purpose allows the brand to growth both internally and externally. With its growing importance, brand purpose will surely be something for every strategist to carefully consider in the new year.
Focus on engagement
Going hand-in-hand with brand purpose, is brand engagement. It’s getting more and more difficult for brands to ensure engagement when no emotion response is evoked with the consumer. It’s becoming increasingly clearer that a growing trend for customer engagement is to provide content that strikes a chord with their hearts.
The data revolution (and consequently basing marketing on statistics) made a lot of marketing seem cold and calculated. Crafting content and marketing that seems more personalised and sincere is what will set your brand apart in 2018.
Tell your brand story
When engagement is your focus, achieving it is getting harder and harder to do today. Crafting a strong brand presence is also more expensive to achieve, which is why brand stories are the key to unlocking engagement with your consumers. Telling your brand’s story in a clear and authentic way will be much better for brand engagement and it also speaks back to brand purpose.
Telling the story of your brand is one of the ways to generate engagement as it’s not hard selling, but rather telling consumers why you do what you do. We predict that many brands will use a strategic mix of creative storytelling and technology in order to bring these stories to consumers in a way that will make a lasting impression.
Wait and see
Predicting what will happen in a year is always a challenge and so much can change in a short space of time. But despite this, it’s always a good idea to have a strategic guideline for the directions branding and communication may take in 2018.