Get Your Branding Market Ready | Trends for 2017
Branding is one of the most misunderstood of communications channels, and if we can’t agree on it what “it” is, then how will we be able to do something about “it?”
Some people think of it as a singular action, like branding your cattle or hanging a sign above the door.
/verb/ 1. The act of branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product or service in the consumers’ mind that establishes a significant and differentiated presence in the marketplace.
Others will contend that it is much more, further reaching and a noun: Branding is a “thing.”
The result of branding is differentiation, recall and positioning. Your brand is your promise to your customer. This is who we are. This is what we stand for. This is what you can expect from us over time.
Often, the most visible part of your branding is your business name and logo (also known as your corporate identity). The more subtle, even subliminal, representations of your brand comes in your packaging, your communications and your actions as a business.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
The customer experience is part of your brand strategy. How you market, where you advertise – even your distribution channels – are part of your brand strategy. It is the DNA that makes your company who it is, and it is part of everything in the body of your business.
According to the Market Ready Index, most business-to-consumer branding (column 1) is scoring 52.0, although the 2017 target score is 71.0 – a variance of -19.0. Overall, the average B2B scores 40.5, 25.4 lower than the 65.9 target score. Based on best practices, these scores provide a metric for comparison.
Branding Trends for 2017
Since branding provides the inspiration and direction for other communications, establishing your branding strategy early will help you better understand how to create the right type of engagement throughout the year.
[Im]prove Your Brand
The market has expectations, and they’re up-to-speed on what’s going on in your space. If you are going to build your brand you must prove your brand to improve your brand. Dig deeper than before, prove your worth (just don’t talk the talk) and provide artifacts and actions that instill credibility.
Get to really know your audiences, and what they want from a company.
- Use Design Thinking to empathize, define and create new ways to connect with customers.
- Bring your communities together and stop competing.
- Integrate your unique messages to engage customers in more authentic ways.
In a recent article, Paul Davis from Ologie said it very succinctly: We must “brand, without branding. To connect, without selling. To invite consumers to embrace ethos, over labels.”
Brands Will Get ‘Em in the Mood
According to a recent study, 72% of Millennials prefer to spend money on experiences than material things.
Brands must look to make mood marketing an art form, triggering positive responses and creating unique buying experiences for their target audiences.
Businesses will connect with consumers in new ways by creating customized in-store retail experiences using elements like music, scent, digital signage, and even pathways through the store. Macy’s is using mini-concerts, yoga classes and cafes to draw consumers through its doors.
Brands Will Lose Control
Brands must abandon their roles as the logo police and become more open to managing their brand through communities. If you’re community feels a sense of ownership with he brand, and they feel like the can influence its direction, they will.
Look and feel guidelines will be loosened to fit specific audiences.
Brands must be more accepting of input from brand evangelists and employees at all levels of their organization.
Getting Market Ready for 2017
Understanding where your brand is today is a first step in making the decisions and changes that can help you compete in the marketplace. The Market Ready Index™ Self-Assessment is a free (beta) resource that helps you understand where your branding, and other channels of Communication, is today.
It also provides benchmarks for B2B, B2C and NonProfit organizations to better understand how they compare to other businesses, just like them.
The point of all of this is that if you are really trying to make a different this year, then you’ll have to do something different this year. A subjective evaluation is a start, an objective evaluation is a next step. Get real about how prepared your business is to compete and you’ll stand a much better chance in reaching your goals. – kp