Brand strategies are constantly evolving thanks to multiple influences such as technology, generational preferences and consumer expectations. In 2018, these elements are only going to grow in importance and it’s key that brands adapt to stay relevant. To help, here’s 4 branding trends to watch in 2018.
1. Digital will continue to grow
Over the past few years, technological advancements have transformed most areas of modern day life – from booking a taxi and shopping to how we communicate. As we enter 2018, it’s going to be even more important for businesses to have their digital brand strategy nailed.
This spans across all digital channels from how your brand sounds on social media to how your website and website copy looks and sounds. Consumers now expect some form of digital presence and not embracing this could leave you lagging behind.
When developing a digital brand strategy, always be clear on your tone of voice and how you come across. This is especially important if you have several people managing your digital channels. Consider putting together guidelines on tone of voice so your communications always sounds consistent.
2. Honesty will be the best policy
Honesty not only builds consumer trust, it can also make your business stand out in an increasingly crowded market. This is going to be a key factor to consider in 2018 as customers wise up to fake news and dishonesty.
A study in 2016 reported that 94% of consumers said brand transparency and honesty is an important factor when making buying decisions. Furthermore, US millennials (30% of that population) said in a recent study that the number one trait they value in a brand is honesty.
It’s therefore key that you focus on a transparent and honest brand strategy. Here’s a few tips to help:
- Be clear on your company values and communicate them externally
- Own up to mistakes – we’re all human after all
- Have a clear Focus on consumer interests and show this in your communications
- Don’t exaggerate your capabilities. By minimising expectations, you’ll avoid causing disappointment.
3. There’ll be a clear focus on Generation Z
As the oldest members of Generation Z are now 22, the demographic is set to account for 40% of all consumers by 2020. That’s a large and growing market that brands are going to have to pay attention to.
This demographic have only known a world with internet and are therefore extremely well attuned to recognising the value brands place on their attention. They want useful content that helps to solve problems or educate – not ads. Here’s a few things to consider when adapting your brand for Generation Z:
- Provide value (ads won’t wash)
- Show them how you can help them
- Be present across multiple platforms and channels
- Ecommerce should be a key priority as buying online is second nature to Gen Z
- Celebrity advertising isn’t as effective, they prefer to see real, relatable people
4. Building consumer confidence with thought leadership
Thanks to publishing platforms such as Linkedin’s Pulse, we’re seeing a clear growth in thought leadership pieces. Businesses and individuals are sharing influential articles relating to their respective industries and sectors. This in turn builds consumer confidence in the product or service they offer.
We’ll see this trend grow in 2018 as more businesses see the importance in this form of audience engagement. It’s therefore something that’s well worth investing your time in, to help give you some inspiration, here’s 5 publishers on Pulse doing a great job.
To continue to stand out in an already crowded market, it’s crucial that you continue to adapt your brand strategy. In 2018, consumers don’t want to be advertised to, they want to be educated and provided with real value. Keep this and your customer needs at the forefront of your strategy and your brand will shine in 2018.