7 Branding Trends Every Business Owner Should Watch Out For
Branding is evolving at a burgeoning pace. What used to work last year may not necessarily work this year and change is the only constan
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A logo is often times made synonymous with brand. But that's far from the truth because branding is much more than creating a sleek-looking logo. Branding -when done well - has the penchant to create an emotional bond with customers and build enduring, meaningful relationships.
From the standpoint of a customer, the perennial brand denotes quality, trust, performance and commitment to 360-degree customer satisfaction – the differentiator that encourages your audience to become your friends for life.
Branding specialist Alina Wheeler summed it well when she said,
"How a brand is perceived affects its success, regardless of whether it's a start-up, a nonprofit or a product."
Brand reflects the personality of an organization via impactful visuals interspersed with timely messaging that has its heart in the right place.
But like advertising, publishing and marketing, branding is evolving at a breakneck pace. What used to work last year may not necessarily work this year and change is the only constant.
Here are seven branding trends for the remainder of 2018 and of course, beyond:
Experiential branding has captivated the attention of global brands for a number of years now.
By the looks of it, this digital marketing trend is here to stay. No longer are companies merely satisfied at long-term customer engagement; they're actually looking to let their customers avail a touch-and-feel experience of their business even before getting in touch with them (pun intended).
The focus is on starting and keeping a conversation with the audience that drives transformational change. In turn, this gives the company ample opportunity to involve its customers in results-driven story telling.
Let's face it. Your target audience is already inundated with information overload on an hourly basis and most of it is perfunctory, at best. The need of the hour is to cut through the noise and allow your unique value proposition to shine through. A great way to do that is to deliver useful content to build a trusting relationship with your potential customers.
That's where custom and branded illustrations become a game-changer as they lend a nuanced advantage to your content. Custom illustrations give your audience the impression of being a committed and competitive anchor partner.
At the same time, it opens up new doors for animation and stock imagery, which can be visible from the longest mile and augurs well for brand continuity.
We know that a responsive and interactive experience is a non-negotiable must for any web design initiative. With an assortment of handheld devices at our disposal, mobile web design has emerged as a vital facet of user experience.
Once you've established that your target audience is mostly mobile-based before you go all-out on focusing on mobile-fist design, you'll be empowered with clarity of thought that encourages you to reduce visual hierarchy and unnecessary content to a bare minimum – thereby paving the way for heightened functionality.
This will also allow you to augment the creativity quotient of your website or general branding exercise without compromising on its functionality.
Color transitions and bold palette
Of late, clients have been going easy on brand colors, almost to the point of muting them in order to make their brands appear cleaner. With world-leading brands such as Instagram using color transitions to lend a bold yet simple look, other players are inevitably set to follow suit.
Now that is not to suggest that companies are not averse to experimenting with bold colors! Given that flat and material designs pair off well with bold colors - leaving plenty of room for intelligent animation and diverse branding literature – nothing should stop you from crafting a compelling style statement that gets you noticed.
In the past few years, categorizing or splitting your content into a modular layout has added generous doses of extra functionality to user interface (UI) designs. This has emboldened businesses to explore a seamless integration of images and social. Marketing in the years to come is going to be en essentially hybrid exercise if customer expectations are to be transcended.
It also goes a long way in enhancing the efficacy of responsive stacking, as visitors aren't going to complain about having a wonderful time browsing on mobile devices AND desktop!
This intuitive design process of drawing pieces of content closer to each other and creating a cohesive visual powerhouse not only also helps with legibility and hierarchy, but also facilitates the transition from digital to print or vice-versa.
Recently, legendary graphic designer and typographer Stefan Sagmeister spoke at the D&AD festival, which has already created quite a stir on the internet. He asserted that one should not dismiss the possibility of leveraging form over function as a means of driving home the point that beauty is a measure of function.
Stefan argued that campaigns can promote themselves to be highly functional solely on the basis of their look and feel.
While this seems to go against the principles of design as per which ideas take precedence over beauty, he does seem to make a strong case for not neglecting on the all-important facet of aesthetic appeal.
By being delightfully (and sensibly) daring and creative, this would help your business stand tall and be noticed in an ever-growing crowd that is making it increasingly hard for new ideas to make their presence felt, let alone flourish.
By doing so, you'll also be giving your audience an implicit message that you have the courage to undertake painstaking efforts to demonstrate your creative prowess – which is never a bad thing.
VR and 3D animation
With the growing popularity of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), 3D designs swiftly becoming the go-to option for brands across the globe that are committed to delivering a lasting impression and position themselves as futuristic influencers.
VR solutions are progressing from being just another technologically-driven player in the space. Businesses are keener than ever before to embrace the technology and drive financial success and reward early adopters.
According to the Goldman Sachs, the market potential of VR is expected to touch a massive $182 billion over the next few years.
3D, in particular, has emerged as a novel way of presenting a story in a refreshingly different package to engage with your audience who's craving for an authentic experience.
While these trends will surely give you a sense of purpose and direction in 2018, it's important to remember that trends are just that – trends – and the key to success lies in being different from your peers by adding tangible value to your audience that inspires them to reward you with their enduring loyalty.