10 Brand Marketing Trends that Should Dominate 2016April 22, 2016
Brand Marketing Trends – Gone are the days when branding meant getting the company and its products seen across the mass media (with print media dominating) and with physical presence through hoardings. Celebrity endorsements were the guaranteed formula for success in the marketplace. It was followed by the significant inroads made by the electronic media-both radio and television captured the imagination of the people and marketers capitalized on it.
However, the marketing landscape of the past decade had witnessed a sea change with the growth of internet, social media, influencers, event promotions, inbound marketing, digital marketing and virtual reality. Suddenly, brand promotion is all about experiencing or feeling the product or experience not passively through mass media or hoardings alone.
It may be too early to forecast which of the new trends are mere hype or which is going to be the really making a dent in marketing.
2016 Brand Marketing Trends
Its’ quite natural at the beginning of the year to forecast what will happen in the next twelve months in the industry and marketing is no exception. Much of what is going to happen is partly a continuation of what had or didn’t happen in the past year. Hence, not much surprises may be expected this year.
Daniel Newman, writer on marketing in a column in Forbes noted that 2016 may be a frustrating year for marketing as being visible is no easy feat. On the other hand they just need to understand the needs and expectations of a diverse and fragmented consumer base.
Social media’s influential change from strategy to a medium
A few years ago most companies thought about social media as a strategy to be followed along with online promotion and marketing not giving much importance . However, social media is now getting prominence as a marketing strategy and in 2016 it would go one step higher becoming a medium just as the internet is. Thanks to the rapid growth in mobile telephony and data services, internet is now accessible on a variety of devices and not restricted to desktops and laptops. Hence the social media players Google Plus, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn are all set to grow further in influence among the people and businesses.
The importance of social media can be gauged from Google’s efforts to forge professional relationships with social media players such as FaceBook and Twitter. The intention is to forge business relationships that will ultimately bring more traffic and new visitors to the Google search engine platform. Individual tweets will be indexed in 2016 and the clear demarcation between World Wide Web (WWW) and social media would vanish, creating a more socially dynamic experience from an SEO perspective, according to Kent Lewis, an avid market watcher and blogger.
Last year brands were expected to integrate their traditional media ad campaigns with social media which was used in the dialog body of the 30 spot print ad or bill board. The millenials in US population in the age group of 18-34 who constitute one third of the US population were to be engaged with the use of hash tags. This trend is also likely to continue according to experts.
Customer Experience will gain dominance
The defining moment for any consumer is the actual feel of using the product or service and that will have a bearing on brand management strategies adopted by the industry this year. It could be from simple sampling of products to getting a physical cum digital experience in trade fairs and shows. It could also be a test drive of a car or a free-trial of a product such as dish washer. Bosch gives the option for households to try their dish washer for a day before embarking on a buying decision. Experience, feel and buy strategy could make the consumers more comfortable with a product or service and prefer brands that do it.
The Use of Big Data in brand marketing
The large bits of unstructured or structured data that reside in servers have been thought of to help organizations get meaningful information on how markets perform and devise appropriate strategies. With the availability of better big data solutions that mine data and analyse them marketers are working towards it and thereby turning hype created by big data so far into a tangible result. Big data comes from social media, the company’s own interaction with customers and secondary data available from research houses and surveys. Together they constitute a huge potential for brand marketing companies to work on and understand the market. Analysts are of the view that more spending is expected to occur in big data analysis that in turn will have a bearing on brand marketing strategies.
Mobile telephony to drive customer engagement
Until a few years ago newspapers, television and radio held the center stage when it came to mass media marketing and branding. The growth of internet took away some of the importance given to the traditional media and thereby Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and related marketing gained traction. However, in parallel not many noticed the business potential raised by the social media platforms such as Twitter, FaceBook , Linkedin and Pinterest so much so they evolved into a medium of its own. And the biggest enabler of digital marketing trends was the growth in mobile telephony and computing. Companies needed to have mobile sites in addition to web sites, mobile apps for every possible problem has been devised and continuing to be devised. It could be for making a payment, booking a service, or registering a complaint or a game for kids. Mobile apps for learning, booking utilities, transport and entertainment have become acceptable for a large community of millenials. Mobility will continue to be a key driver of brand marketing innovations in 2016.
Content will remain King
Blogs, articles, FaceBook posts, Tweets and guest postings, there are innumerable ways inbound marketing will be driven in the future. Here the content is king, and how informative, useful and engaging it is will determine its popularity among the consumers or readers. Google has changed its algorithms at a rapid pace to precisely determine original content and employs complex metrics to find out a group of people spending more time on a keyword search result and giving them higher ranks for those searching, Copying, Plagiarised content is being discouraged by the changed dynamics of search engine algorithms. This applies to video,images, infographics that supplement text. Google is marking original visual presentations differently from copied content and hence more investment may happen on visual space too.
Virtual Reality to continue to gain importance
Virtual reality, 3-D will drive brand marketing innovation which will be helpful for a variety of industries including real estate , airlines, tourist spots, and they will no longer be novelty’s but enter the mainstream. It could also help them experience the features of a new luxurious car, cruise liners. Smart marketers will find a great number of opportunity to create dreams for consumers to aim for. It could be a dream lifestyle in a premium residential flat, an overseas travel, eco-tourism spots, it could also help in devising learning solutions for schools and colleges.
Location focused marketing
Location based marketing technology has emerged that will enable marketers to create and interactive experience. They can be employed in events and conferences. New technologies such as iBeacons, RFIDS have emerged to help create the new trend. iBeacons are inexpensive transmitters that work Bluetooth low energy based technology. These technologies enable the event attendees through sign up and engagement in talks and sessions.
Video content to be more influential
Textual content, images, infographics, high resolution pictures, tables and charts… which will be the most talked about by customers, liked and shared. But with increased bandwidth, widespread net usage, mobile telephony revolution, tablets and ipads, streaming video will become a hot favorite for brand marketers.
Youtube, FaceBook, LinkedIn and the web could also be a good potential for streaming content that will be a result oriented brand marketing strategy for any class of industry especially learning and entertainment industry. Video has the advantage of engaging the consumer to a message. With platforms such as Periscope and Blab,, the interactive video will now be accessible on smart phones. Video marketing will come to the forefront shoulder to shoulder with text and image content with possibly some innovative new campaigns.
Marketing Communications to emerge stronger
The confluence of marketing, public relations, advertising, content will accelerate in 2016 as much as the trend was visible in 2015 too. The marketing communications professional has the challenging task of reducing the sales process time as the right images, textual content and infographics are delivered to the audience in a co-ordinated manner. The entire gamut of brand building from logos to event management, press releases, email titles and signatures are all to be integrated in the marketing communications exercise.
Content creating, searh optimization and social media efforts will be optimized by the marketing communications professionals. The optimization of such marketing communications will be to provide an overall customer experience of the brand as opposed to different creative strategies working towards a single goal.
If automation is a key driver in manufacturing, accounting, process industries and even in aviation, the concept of automation in marketing may appear quite new. New set of mobile and web based applications will be used to automate marketing. According to Meaghan Moraes, as more companies need to focus on content to drive marketing and sales, they are looking seriously at the marketing automation market. The market is worth $5.5 bn and still growing.
Software solutions that schedule Twitter, FB posts, schedule emails, management content, segment contacts are helping corporates set up a marketing automation platform with in brand marketing companies. It helps in convergence and integration of several functions related to marketing, brand promotion, publicity and advertising among others. Companies that ignore marketing automation solutions may be working harder for the same result and hence falling out on effiency and productivity levels of its marketing communications team.
The trends predicted in 2015 for brand marketing but perhaps did not have the desired impact as expected. Celebrity brand endorsements will continue as long a mass media promotions are there as media planners prefer it to ensure immediate brand recall and attention from the public. But in parallel, influencers marketing turned out to be more hype than reality, according to some analysts.
Companies realize that connecting and partnering with the right influencers to connect with the consumers. However, considerable planning and forethought has to go into influencer marketing as a bad campaign can result in bad brand fit and hence on the brand marketing campaign as a whole.
Some applications turn out to be ahead of time such as wearable technology and Apple Watch. The latter was hyped resulting in developers making apps related to it in November 204 five months before it hit the market. Several companies such as Target and American Airlines developed apps for the platform but sales of Apple Watch did not go up. Wearable technology also did not ultimately deliver results in a meaningful way to industry. That is not to undermine the potential of Apple Watch or wearable technology, they still hold huge potential, experts opine. Wearable technology could see an adoption rate of 28% as marketers look for more user data to mine. Internet of things (IOT) will advance further even as its applications may take time to be utilized in marketing.
Whatever new trends that are predicted by experts and analysts would succeed in the market only when they become acceptable. Just because a technology looks promising as in big data mining and analysis was not sufficient for marketers or analysts to start using it. Factors that could drive a new trend are affordability, relevance to the market and the product, and how it can be integrated into the total brand marketing strategy.
Corporates will also be looking closely at how other competitors are adopting new technologies and solutions before adopting them. Enhanced customer experience, recessionary trends, better return on investment, better sales conversion will be the key factors that will drive the use of the emerging brand marketing trends by industry.