As far as branding is concerned, the only constant is change. Branding is a beast that never sleeps, whose standards and codes continually evolve and it is our paramount responsibility as a brand design agency to keep up with this perpetual evolution. Needless to say, this is an incredibly tough challenge to accept, with today´s marketing landscape shaken almost on a daily basis by new trends to assimilate, an undisrupted flow of information blasting through new-age media, up-and-coming technology to monitor and possibly adquire, and an overwhelming short general attention span, dictating an insane recycling tempo when it comes to the branding game.
With all these variables, it is incredibly easy to lose track of what´s going on and thus always a good idea to frequently regroup and analyze what the future may hold for you and your branding workforce. Here is a sneak peak at where branding is mainly headed in the next few years. And you will see, more than only focusing on techniques and methods, you will need to primarily work on your philosophical approach towards branding. Remember, this is a non-exhaustive list, designed to inspire you to be pro-active and keep up-to-date with branding ever-changing requirements. Don´t forget to frequently do your own research. Let´s get started…
Branding as a form of activism
We are living a time of tremendous political and cultural disruption but that doesn´t mean that companies will stop trying to sell you stuff. Pretty much at the contrary, they’ll often use this general upheaval and will recuperate the social activism behind it to capture your attention. Designing will, of course, play a major part in that and will reflect the fact that brands need to start raising their voice to join the chants of protest. To Melanie McShane, head of strategy at Wolff Olins in New York, activism is a business imperative. “With the rise of political authoritarianism, brands will face fundamental choices,” she says. “About whether to take a stand on issues that offend them and their users, risking the wrath of politicians and their acolytes. Or stay quiet and seem complicit.”
Also going hand in hand with the public´s repulse regarding lying and fake-truths from established institutions, brands will also absolutely need to adapt and change their game plan towards a new apex priority: generate trust. Honesty should (finally) reign in branding.
The Future Of Branding Is Debranding
We are not talking about just visually debranding a packaging or a store to just look cool. Minimalism is nice but we want to take you way deeper here. After years of over advertisement, society is indeed on the brink of reaching a tipping point in consumerism. We have been saturated by senseless branding messages for decades, literally poisoned by tactical marketing campaigns solely aimed at having us reaching us within our wallet… In the eye of the public today, branding is now only a tool, used to expand the servitude of the consuming masses. It is time for branding to get real! To take a step back and let the product do the talking.
“The brand that screams the loudest no longer commands the most attention; the one that offers something genuinely useful does.” – Jasmine De Bruycker for basedesign.com
Get familiar with new techniques and platforms
As the digital and social media revolution is now behind us and should now be under control within every corporation, we can start looking a what´s next. Here are a couple technological leads that could take over soon as the next big things in branding:
Virtual Reality. It is tough to predict what the marketing applications of VR will be after the current newness/gimmick phase we still are facing. But there is absolutely no doubt the 360 immersive, playfull platform opens up an immense field of opportunities for marketers worldwide once it truly gets a wider footprint within the markets.
Artificial Inteligence. AI is invading the marketing world as brands find practical uses for computational intelligence and cognitive machines that learn as they go. Just as personal assistants like Siri and Alexa can simplify some aspects of our lives, AI can streamline some of the marketing process. For example retailer American Eagle worked with chatbot developer Pandorabots to create an AI-powered bot that converses with consumers about buying and caring for lingerie through messaging platform Kik, outsourcing and automating the brand´s unique tone of voice directly to the consumer in the process. Artificial Inteligence is constantyl pushing boundaries of what is possible to do branding-wise and automated chat solutions are just the beginning. Stay tuned.