2016 and the Future of Branding

future for brandingIt’s hard to believe, but 2015 is coming to a close. In just 2 weeks, we’ll be watching that ball drop, clinking champagne glasses and ringing in the New Year.

And with that New Year will come new beginnings – in our personal lives, for sure, but mostly in our businesses.

You see, business trends come and go. New marketing strategies and social media platforms are cropping up every day, and branding fads, well, those go by as quickly as the seasons.

That’s why, when 2016 rolls around, it’s important you don’t just celebrate and raise a toast. You also need to set aside time to regroup, restrategize and reposition your brand so it stays successful in the New Year.

So what exactly does 2016 hold for branding, and what changes should you prepare for? Here’s a little forecast to get you started:

The term “branding” will expand even further.

In 2016, brands will continue to grow outside of their traditional box. No longer will they be just names, logos and company mottos. Instead, an organization’s brand will be its whole essence – every word of content it produces, every tweet it sends and every customer relationship it builds.

Emojis will be everywhere.

More and more businesses are using emojis to convey a more laid-back, user-friendly vibe. You’ll see this expand even more in the coming year, with emojis on Twitter handles, in company Facebook posts, in email campaigns and more.

Loyalty will be the goal.

Gone are the days when brands are looking to just catch a lead, close a sale and send them on their way. In 2016, brands will be cultivating customer loyalty more than ever. You’ll see more loyalty and rewards programs, more customer service touchpoints and more companies giving back to those who support them.

Brands will become more human.

Companies are done being static, cold entities that no one cares about. They’ve started to become more human, with distinct voices, personalities and values. This will become the norm in 2016, with fewer and fewer customers putting up that business-vs-customer wall we’ve all become accustomed to.

Employees will become brand ambassadors.

Instead of just leveraging loyal customers to promote the brand, many companies are now moving toward making in-house employees veritable brand ambassadors themselves. They’re putting time and resources into training them, building up culture and making team members true believers in the company’s work. This will become a huge trend across all industries in 2016.

Brands will use all the senses.

Brands won’t just rely on sight in the New Year. All the biggest businesses in the nation are finding ways to expand their branding to other senses, like smell, taste, hear and touch, too. Take the Four Seasons chain, for example. They’re pumping in custom air scents into each of their locations, giving customers not only a beautiful sight to behold, but calming, relaxing scents to remember too.

Speed will be No. 1.

Delivering customer satisfaction fast will become the No. 1 priority for many brands in the coming year. Online ordering apps, on-demand delivery services, chat help and more will all see growth as 2016 gets rolling. Starbucks and Taco Bell are already ahead of the curve, launching pre-order apps that allow customers to put in an order on the go, hit the drive-through and pick up their food and drink immediately – no waiting required.

Are you prepared for the branding changes that are on the horizon? If not, schedule some time with your team in the early New Year. Branding trends are constantly in flux, and if you want to stay competitive in your marketplace, it’s important to keep up!

Need help? Want guidance on where to take your brand in 2016? Contact Haley Brand today.

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