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The significance of branding has increased multifold in the last few years. With the advent of digital marketing, the visual feel of the brand and its reach have become vital. Companies are getting more and more avenues to showcase their brand, and they want to capitalize on these opportunities. But for this, they need to ensure that their branding is in the best possible shape.
An important and useful way of bettering your brand is to keep a tab on the latest branding trends. Unlike previous times, these trends change quite quickly now. Therefore, all firms need to stay on top of these trends and make the most out of them. The brands that cannot follow these trends may get an obsolete feel to them and garner negative perception of users. Hence they should take up rebranding exercises from time to time. To help you in this, we have compiled the list of expected branding trends for 2022:
1. Logo Adaptability:
Many brands have realized the importance of having a logo that can be easily scaled up or down and used in a variety of ways. Gone are the days when logo’s used to have fancy imagery and detailed graphics. With digital media being the prominent marketing medium, brands want to ensure that the logo looks neat and clean even when scaled down to use in a social media post. Another trend in logos that we can expect is shape-shifting logos. For this, companies will create one master logo and then have different versions of it depending on the application of the logo. So for a print ad, we might see the whole logo, while for Instagram stories, we may just see a logo version stripped down to a simple brand element. This also provides a variety to the brand’s visual identity. Many big firms have already started taking steps towards such shape-shifting logos.
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2. Keeping it Simple:
Minimalism is a designing trend of the decade, and we can see its effects on branding, be it the visual identity or the messaging. Users want direct communication and want to put it in minimum effort to understand a brand. On the other hand, the brands need to adhere to these customer trends and make sure that they do not beat around the bush and communicate with clarity. This is why we are seeing the visual identity of so many firms going very bland. They are shunning cursive font types or other visual elements. Instead, the logos are becoming increasingly simple wordmark logos with a strong and simple typeface. This makes the application of the logo easy and eases the effort customers have to make to engage with your brand.
3. Getting Nostalgic:
While one prevailing trend of branding in 2021 will be about being modem and sleek, one more trend that we will see is about brands going nostalgic. This will be especially in the case of brands having decades of market presence. This is a subtle way of reminding the users that they have been there for ages. One brand that has already started doing it is Burger King. It has modified its present logo, which had bright colors and a shine, and changed it to a flat not so bright colors logo. Through this, they are instilling a notion of the brand being natural and evoking the nostalgic feeling of the brand. By the next year, we will see more brands, especially in the B2C sector, shifting to their old branding styles for a while as this will generate a strong emotional response in the users, and they will feel a tighter bond with the brand.
4. Importance of Visual Content:
A picture says a thousand words and when thousands of such pictures move at a speed of 24 frames per second to make a lovely video, imagine the amount of content you can communicate. The attention span of users is quickly depleting, and they do not prefer to read long texts. With the advent of high-speed-powered mobile devices, users have started consuming content on these devices. Given their size, it is increasingly difficult for users to read long articles on them. But if the same content is presented in an image or infographic or even a video, the users will be happy to spend a minute or so and gather the information. Hence, brands need to realign their content generation and marketing strategies to churn out more visually appealing content with subtle marketing. This would work better on all digital mediums, including social media.
5. Synchronized Social Media Effort:
Social media marketing is not something new, but we can expect to see brands trying to exploit the most out of social media platforms. After the initial apprehensions, many social media channels have got prominence, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, and even TikTok. Given the amount of time people spend on social media daily, it has become a hotspot to attract leads or customers. Initially, brands would have just one strategy for all social media handles. But now, with social media saturation, they need to have a separate strategy for all mediums. But at the same time, they should also not be random. Hence the trend of a synchronized social media plan and execution will be on the rise in 2022. Content, posting frequency, audience engagement, and even paid ads plan will vary for each social media. Having official hashtags, exclusive online communities, or message boards are some strategies that brands need to work on. Smarter brands will also start deploying nodes to attract customers directly to their sales funnel from social media.
6. Topical Marketing:
A trend that is on the rise, Topical Marketing will soon reach its maturity by next year. Already we are seeing smart brands pick up current affair topics and using them for branding. Such a form of branding has a lot of advantages. It helps the brand look lively and fresh. It also provides avenues for users to engage with the brand. The marketing team does not have to go around looking for content as they can get it from their Twitter feed or latest news. However, they need to be smart about utilizing it as there have been cases where topical marketing has created a controversy for the brand. A good way to avoid this can be setting out guidelines and having a set tone and values for the brand. Based on this, the team can utilize the latest topics for enriching their branding.
7. Being Inclusive:
In today’s age, no brand can make the mistake of not being inclusive. Over the years, so many brands have received backlash for missing out on inclusivity, and then they had to reform themselves to brand themselves as an open and caring brand. Inclusivity can be in the form of color, religion, race, sexuality, or anything that can offend people. With social media, any bad campaign can go viral in no time. People’s tolerance levels have also decreased a lot, and they take offense very quickly. Hence you need to deep root inclusivity to the foundation of your branding strategy. Use images that have a variety of people. For the sake of exclusivity or targeting a specific audience, do not make the mistake of ignoring inclusivity. Victoria’s Secret, a colossal brand, also had to give in to the pressure and rebrand themselves by going for models representing body positivity.
8. Represent a Cause:
The woke audience of social media is on the rise. Riding on the prevailing trend of being inclusive, we can witness in 2022 is about brands taking up social issues. This is not something unheard of. All major brands have their foundations or other tie-ups through which they execute noble deeds. But now, the age is going to come where marketing teams will devise branding strategies that make the brand look like a champion in a particular cause and at the same time attract customers based on that. We will see big campaigns, some with subtle marketing and some with direct marketing, about how a particular brand cares for an issue and is helping make the world a better place. Sustainable and eco-friendly products are an entire market sector that will see a huge push due to this trend. Even now, brands are working for causes like climate change, saving biodiversity, afforestation, or black lives matter.
9. Make Brands Human:
There is a difference between brand communication and brand talking. Users now prefer when the brand talks to them rather than throwing out marketing messages. Hence the conversational style of messaging is on the rise. Brands want to become as human as possible and establish a strong connection with the users. For this, the marketing teams are coming up with dedicated campaigns, especially on social media. User engagement is a critical aspect of this. Gone are the days when you posted something on social media and did not care about the comments it received. Now brands have started responding to almost every comment on their post and engaging with users. This helps in portraying the humane aspect of the brand and connecting with customers like peers. If you can throw in a dash of humor, it can quickly break the ice and make your brand more approachable. While some smart brands have already started doing this, we will see this trend spiraling by early 2022.
10. Leverage Technology:
In 2022, you can ignore technology at your own peril. This is true even in the case of branding. Technology has been shaping branding for many years, but in some time, we will see how brands are using technology to stand out from the competition. We are witnessing an explosion of mobile phone applications. Every other B2C brand will now have a mobile app to sell its products. Voice assistants, chatbots, and data analytics are some other technologies that brands are starting to use. The developments of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are going to be disruptive to branding and marketing exercises. Brands are now working to offer real-life experiences to people sitting at home. Be it home walkthroughs, apparel, furniture, or even wall paints; users are now given the option to shop without moving out. As a brand, you need to figure out which technologies work best for you and exploit them to the maximum.
11. Data-Driven Influencer Branding:
Influencer branding has opened up new opportunities for both brands and also people as influencers. A practice inherent in marketing is now shaping out to be one of the hottest digital marketing trends. But this trend will also reshape and redefine itself to be driven more by data and become more result-oriented. Influencers will be classified based on their reach, expertise, and sectors. Micro-influencers who have a good hold on a smaller volume of followers will be utilized more for specific branding exercises. Brands will try to quantify the effort and results into influencer marketing and work to make it more cost-effective. Influencers will be made to look like an integral part of the brand, which will help position them as brand ambassadors to attract customers.
12. Branding Without Brand:
Imagine a huge hoarding that talks about why comfortable shoes are important but do not mention a brand or a logo along with it. This is going to be a huge disruptive trend in 2022. Brands will go so strong that they will carry out what can be termed as ‘branding without brand.’ A few years back, marketers would have thought of this as a joke, but today it sounds promising. The reason for this is an overdose of marketing. Users are tired of brands flashing their products and promises to them. They are on the lookout for solutions and not brands. Brands have started using their unique selling points as their brand image rather than any visual identity to circumvent this. However, the absence of any brand representation can backfire if enough brand recall is not created, and hence we will see this trend more in big brands where they will use their flagship products or services to brand themselves.
While branding trends can keep changing, the above points seem to be major head turners in 2022. The key takeaway for designers and marketers is to keep their branding simple, direct, and precise. This also needs to be represented in their visual representation: the logo, website, print ads, or digital media. At the same time, they need to keep the customer in the center and device their branding to serve them in the best possible way.