Marketing and Branding Trends We See Continuing Beyond 2020

The following trends in branding and marketing are ones we see continuing well past 2020. Note, we are not trying to create a comprehensive list here, rather share the trends we most clearly see at this point. So, without further ado and in no particular order:

Trend 1: Video and digital copy will continue to dominate marketing content

By now, every marketer knows that video (as compared to static words and images) increases media consumption and brand purchase behaviors significantly. Video is like rocket fuel for brand marketing. Its use will only increase, as consumers come to demand more and more video content…and as devices and bandwidth (e.g., 5G) are increasingly able to handle more video. That said, digital copy will also continue to rise in importance, as it is essential for search.

Trend 2: Balancing personalized experiences with brand consistency will become harder

Consumers are increasingly demanding, and brands are increasingly providing, through advances in martech, more personalized/tailored brand experiences. The challenge brand owners face is in ensuring the cohesion of their brands around a set of common pillars and singular voice. Interestingly, this tension is forcing these brand strategy constructs, which in past often fell into the “do-it-and-put-it-on-the-shelf” category, to become daily considerations.

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Trend 3: Simplification in branding will continue

Along with the digitalization of our lives, brand identities are also leaning increasingly on simplification to stay relevant and—on a purely practical level—stay legible on smartphones. Take, for example, the following recent brand identity updates:

Trend 4: Online communities will continue to grow in importance

The majority of brands with strong online communities continue to experience revenue growth. This occurs because of the democratization of communications brought about by the internet and, specifically, the rise in social media. As customers and prospects carry on a greater and greater proportion of the “brand conversation”, they are taking on more and more of the marketing of the brand—for better or worse. It behooves brand owners to keep close tabs on the temperature of the conversation and support it in an honest and non-defensive manner.

Trend 5: Authenticity and transparency will increase in importance

According to a survey by global PR agency Edelman, consumer trust has hit an all-time low. Only one-third of consumers trust the brands they buy from. Brand owners who emphasize authenticity and transparency in their brands will increase their relevance to consumers and differentiation from competitors.

Trend 6: Brands that extend beyond their raison d’être will be rewarded

Nearly 9 in 10 consumers believe that brands can and should influence societal change. This is more true of younger consumers than older consumers—and so seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, brands that choose a cause and work consistently and transparently towards the achievement of that cause, will do better than those who stick to their product/service remits.

Trend 7: The blending between physical and digital brand experiences will continue

We have seen the term “phigital” used in two distinct ways. One as an adjective to describe the blending between the physical world and the digital world. The other, as a noun (i.e., “phigitals”) to describe a generation that is growing up with smartphones as their main communications device, if not additional body appendage, and wonder why the rest of the world doesn’t get that everything should be like same-day delivery from Amazon. It seems clear that, especially with 5G, augmented reality and other technologies will increasingly lead to a blending between the traditional physical world and the digital. We have but one ask: Please, please, please: Stop using this abomination of a word, “phigital”.

If you believe other trends are relevant to this discussion of branding and marketing, please share your thoughts with us below!

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Frank Schab
An experienced marketing and branding strategist, Frank has been helping clients optimize the value of their brands through insightful analysis and effective strategy for more than three decades. Along with holding positions at General Motors and Pfizer, Frank served as a Managing Partner at Interbrand New York and VP of Global Brand Research at Opinion Research Corporation before co-founding Six Degrees. His brand-building work in various sectors including hospitality, medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive and technology has taken him to 17 countries on four continents. Frank holds a doctorate in psychology from Yale University and speaks fluent German.

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