2018 is already well underway, and there are some strong trends developing in the world of brand. With the number of available marketing tactics increasing, the importance of brand is on the rise as well. Here are the three brand predictions I am making for 2018, that I believe will impact everything from large corporations to small non-profits and everything in between.
1. Strategic planning at the executive level
Companies, now more than ever need to align their brand with their business goals. Too often, business strategy lives in the C-Suite, while brand strategy lives in the marketing department. Because brand is experienced in so many different ways both internally and externally, the brand strategy needs to be a large part of the business’ strategic planning this year. Brand permeates through every facet of a company culture from HR practices to operations and structure, to product and R&D,. And, of course, marketing and communications departments must live and breathe the brand. A great way to help an entire company understand and live the brand is through a brand brief. This will help every member of the organization or company understand how they can uniquely answer the pain point of the customer.
2. Tactical relevance where people are looking
Brands need to be consistent in all media. Gone are the days of a small handful of possible outlets to place your message. Today, there are thousands of opportunities for your audience to interact with your brand. Consistency isn’t about offering up the same headline in social media, print, digital campaigns or in other types of content. Consistency is about knowing how your audience interacts with a particular medium and allowing your true brand essence to shine through and be a natural part of that experience. That may mean slightly different messaging or content depending on what stage of the buyer journey the customer is at. Nonetheless, wherever people are looking, your tone and brand promise need to come through strong. This is why having a brand visual and messaging platform is of the utmost importance. It helps you stay within the brand guardrails whether you are creating a 140-character tweet (now 240), a quick video or long-form content.
3. Staying on brand
In 2018, it will be vital for brands to get content marketing right. This is a hot topic these days, but in my observation, there are only a few brands getting content marketing right. By that I mean, staying true to the promised experience. As outbound topics (think print, radio, TV, and Billboard), make way for inbound tactics (think SEO and organic search tactics on your website or blog or paid digital), brands are struggling with how to connect with their customers and prospects. Content marketing that is strategically planned, relevant to the audience and written “on-brand” will succeed in a digital world bogged down with fluffy, uninspired content.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day minutia of running a company or a marketing department (especially if it’s a department of 1). But for the long-term success of your organization or team, it’s vital to occasionally step back and look at the big picture. This allows you to recognize overall trends you need to be proactive about, whether they are in your industry, your target audience or the world of brand and marketing. Contact us if you'd like to learn more about where your brand fits in 2018.