2020 was an unexpectedly intense year, which matters because of how it impacts brand trends in 2021. Consequently, business leaders, decision makers and brand owners or managers have been inundated with multiple factors demanding their attention.
In highly dynamic hostile markets brands have to adapt rapidly to stay relevant, mitigate risk and leverage new opportunities to achieve higher revenue. However all that unpredictability can distract from longer-term strategic considerations which are important for brand experience and growing commercial prosperity.
Here we’re bringing your attention to 10 important brand trends because there’s quite a number that will impact your business, if they haven’t done so already.
As you read through the various brand trends shared below you can evaluate which to leverage in the context of your market, primary audiences and product or service so you can plan effectively how to take your brand to the next level in 2021.
Brand loyalty is hard to gain by these days. With most things consumers want to buy or do, they’re presented with a variety of choices at every price point. If they want a shampoo, they’re faced with shelves of colourful options. If they want something to watch, they can turn on their TV, hit up YouTube or Netflix, or even scroll through videos on their Facebook feed. If they want to donate their money to a cause, they’ll find multiple charities addressing the issue. With everybody vying for people’s attention, capturing it is no longer an easy task, especially with attention spans diminishing.
For some companies, building a brand community has been an answer to these problems. Forging deeper relationships with customers means more engagement, with brands finding their communities play a helping hand in customer retention. There are also other benefits to maintaining a brand community: engagement can lead to customers spending more. A study conducted by the University of Michigan of a book, CD, and DVD retailer found a 19% increase in revenue from customers after they joined the store’s online community. Engaged community members are also more likely to act as advocates and ambassadors for the brand, spreading awareness and information to their friends or followers. It can even be a way for brands to get to know their customers better, giving them more opportunities to interact directly with them and find out what they want.
It’s not just retailers who can benefit from building a community – the third sector would do well to adopt this approach too. With charities facing donor retention problems and a decline in public trust, growing a loyal following is becoming increasingly difficult. Creating a community out of supporters would lead to stronger relationships with them, more engagement, and advocates who are more likely to promote the cause and the work being done by the charity.
So, do you give back to your people? Your customer? Your community? If not, start now, because they’re the one who would buy anything you make. Anything.
Building community means, narrowing your focus, and getting deep in your niche.
2020 made people focus on basic needs, from social contact to food. This accelerated the prior trend of decluttering and expanded it into a more holistic point of view around focussing on basic necessities.
This will not apply to all brands. Some brands are inherently complex, though even if a product or service is complicated, that doesn’t mean that it cannot have an elegantly simple approach to your brand story. For many brands, there is a growing opportunity to provide simple, effective solutions to basic needs.
Increased local consumption of goods and services, an expansion of e-commerce to include a new wave of digital shoppers, as well as a new era of value-consciousness, are three major consumer trends that are likely to continue as the world emerges from lockdown, a new global study has revealed.
According to research firm, COVID-19 has driven a surge in “localism” around the world, with two-thirds (65%) of consumers now preferring to buy goods and services from their own country. Chinese consumers feel most strongly about championing local produce with 87% expressing this view, followed by consumers in Italy (81%), South Korea (76%) and Spain (73%), while 42% overall say they now pay more attention to the origin of products. And this simply bring a better consciousness in our life.
And the acceleration of this e-commerce boom is expected to create new household brand names because 38% of consumers say they will continue to buy from online stores that they first visited during the crisis, while another 31% will continue to buy new products and services that they first started to buy during the crisis.
So, do you shop local? Do you help the community around you? #weareinthistogether
Millennials expect brands and businesses to be open and communicative about how they operate in the world and to seek incremental and positive social change. Even the smallest deeds can affect distant shores, and that means every small effort counts.
Are you socially responsible? Want to see how to impact your company’s social responsibility in a way you’ve never imagine before? Book a call with our Founder, to see how your business and brands can benefit from your responsibility.
Many brands have made strong headway with omnichannel ecommerce experiences this past year. But the most critical question to ask ourselves is, 'How do we stand out in the crowd and make our products easy to buy?' Instead of thinking of media as the sole driver of online sales, a broader point of view needs to be adopted—that is, to adapt marketing strategies beyond driving media. This includes implementing a robust e-commerce strategy along with establishing an online presence that is retail-ready.
With the above being said, it’s all about the brand experience that make you stand out in the competition.
Two things are certain going into 2021:
The brands and agencies that have been building agility into their models and telling the story these past few years already have the foundation they need to plan in a way that accommodates disruption — but plenty of others are playing catchup going into the new year.
For agile and traditionally structured teams alike, the most obvious place to look for 2021 agility is within the media plans themselves. Brands and agencies need to be able to turn channels and campaigns on and off on a dime, and they need to be working with partners that reflect that capability within their contracts.
Differentiate Messaging in a Pandemic-Consumed Environment
Some brands are more aspirational and future-facing, yet their promise feels authentic and achievable for everyone: Nike and Lorna Jane are motivating people to “dream” and “believe” and both are associated with mental and physical wellbeing; Apple inspires creativity; and Qantas is representing the Australian spirit – of which we have a newfound appreciation – around the world.
There is an overwhelming simplicity to, familiarity with, inclusivity about and trust in these brands. They are not your brave tech brands pushing the boundaries such as Amazon, Google and Samsung. They are not your big service brands, banks and insurance companies. And they’re not your charity brands, each working hard to achieve their specific social purpose.
Whilst the brands mentioned are consumer brands, there are at least six key themes any business and brand could consider for refining or revitalising their positioning, experiences and communications to drive optimism in a challenging market and make people feel better.
These could work for employees, customers and stakeholders – equally applicable to your employer brand, employee experience and culture as to your customer brand, customer experiences and communications – so long as they make sense for your brand and business to be playing in these areas.
So, be optimistic, spread the positive vibe through brand, nobody like bad vibe, right? See how these startups did it.
And when the businesses we rely on were forced to shut their doors, we looked up how to do things ourselves, from making our own hand sanitizer and face masks, to cutting hair. The trends also offer a unique insight into our national tastes. Along with the ubiquitous bread recipes, Britons wanted to cook up a beef bourguignon, Americans were pining for Disney churros, Germans were curious about cornflakes, while in Nigeria it was something that packed more of a punch - the pornstar martini.
But sometimes it is the simplest of answers that we need. April saw a record spike in people asking “what day is it?” In a year when even that is uncertain, we are fortunate that so much knowledge is just a click away.
The digital revolution has led to more measurability on brand ROI. This will continue, especially because more brand building will be done under straitened financial conditions, so decision makers are conscious of what they invest.
This trend also applies to supply chain traceability and other parts of brands. Brands will be more accountable because the market and their customers are demanding it.
Many mistakenly think that a brand strategy is limited to designing a nice logo or creating a catchy tagline. That couldn’t be further from the truth!
In reality, your brand encompasses all the things that make you stand out from competitors as different. Everything from your visual identity to your messaging to customer experience. Not to mention the way people perceive your business, including all of the thoughts and emotions they associate with your brand. Because branding is so extensive, developing a strategy that works takes both time and careful planning. To help with that planning, consider some guidelines for creating an effective brand strategy for your business.
In DotDesign, we craft further than just strategy, see how we do it with brand experience and how it can benefit your business.