Brand Trend Predictions For 2007

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Three Trends To Watch For This Year. And Maybe Next.

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Trend 1: Technology And Branding Collide

We have been tempted for some time to issue black turtlenecks outfitted with pocket protectors. Increasingly, branding and design considerations are overlapping with technological ones and there is more than ever a need for this improbable pairing of analytical and creative minds. It could be argued that at some point in the future, branding will be as much a function of technology savvy as design sensibility.

Websites have become the most important branding tool for many companies and industries, while new contact points like Podcasts and mobile phone functionality are rapidly gaining adoption. A website, in particular, is often a microcosm for the entire brand experience, with navigation hierarchies echoing the desired relationships between umbrella brands and sub-brands, the service promise borne out through online tools, the company’s individual and collective looks and feels on full display. In short, the process of building a website is now perhaps the best test of whether a brand strategy makes sense across all customer contact points, from a foundational identity to retail distribution, all presented in one location. For this reason, agencies and clients will increasingly need to understand technology, and agencies will increasingly need the capability to help clients understand what’s possible online and, in many cases, actually be able to execute it.

Trend 2: Spontaneous Brand Combustion

We use the term “keep it real” here quite often, for a couple of reasons related to brand trends. First, as a warning against reliance on established internal languages and assumptions at the expense of genuinely connecting with customers. Second, as a practice for coming up with ways of communicating that engages customers without overtly selling to them, whether it be an interactive game that shows what plastics can do, or an online poetry generator for a wine and spirits brand.

A driving trend is that increasingly brands are evolving organically. Surveying the social networking phenomenon online, and the continued cultural obsession with “reality” entertainment, it’s clear that important brands will increasingly emerge from shared experience and proliferate in mimetic form, rather than being generated in laboratories (i.e., design shops and conference rooms) and then methodically launched in whole form upon the public through mass marketing campaigns. Many consumer segments have become numb to messages that smack of traditional advertising. Marketers and branders will need to understand how to integrate their brands into this type of experience, building entertainment and viral value in more grassroots approaches surrounding less overt sales messaging.


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Brand Channel's 2007
Brand Predictions Annual.

Trend 3: Assume Brand Evolution Instead of Brand Loyalty

Consumers are presented with ever more choice and ever more information. It’s a mistake to assume the same rules of loyalty apply anymore. It’s also a mistake to assume old-fashioned concepts surrounding brand and product lifecycles. Brands need to be very attuned to their customer relationships and not be afraid to evolve and reinvent. This again emphasizes the need for technology to play a role in tracking and communicating with customers in meaningful and timely ways. Expectations have gone beyond creating a static brand that is created once and for all and then unleashed upon the unsuspecting populace. Now, it’s a function of figuring out how to maintain an ongoing, dynamic dialogue with customers. Until that dialogue is established, the default for a brand should be a plan to change and adapt to meet the customer, rather than to assume status quo and rely on antiquated ideas surrounding product and brand lifecycles.

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