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The Changing Faces of Branding: Technology, Audience, Trends & Tastes

changing face of branding

Branding can be hard at the best of times, especially when there are so many different elements to consider. It can also become a little overwhelming when the market is constantly changinging. With new technologies entering the market and trends starting weekly, brands are having to adapt rapidly.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of those changing elements that have the biggest impact on brands.

Technology

Ten years ago, digital marketing was very different. For many brands, just having a social presence was enough as the market was still developing. And when it came to choosing your social channels, only a handful of popular options were available. However, there are now over 2.4 billion active users of social media around the world. This has meant brands are now having to compete more fiercely for just a few seconds of an audience’s attention.

Today’s consumers now expect to be, and are, engaged with brands on many different digital channels and touchpoints. This has now made the customer journey a more involved one. And with wearable tech such as the Apple Watch and Google Glass becoming more mainstream, marketeers once again have to grapple with new technology. Declared as the next big thing, wearable technology can help reduce the time between intention and action.

Given how quickly the wearables market is developing, marketeers need to start preparing to target consumers through this new channel. Currently 1 in 7 people in the UK own wearable technology and the trend is set to continue. As a result, consideration needs to be taken into making marketing messages more glanceable so that messages can be delivered on smaller screens with enough relevant information to encourage someone to discover more by clicking through on their smart phone.

This is just an example of things to come but the point is, technology is constantly improving so marketeers need to be constantly aware of how they are going to reach consumers through these new channels.

Audiences

Every brand has an audience but as any good marketer will tell you, audiences evolve constantly. Everyday their needs and wants will change and people today don’t have the same concerns or needs as they did say  5-10 years ago. This can make it increasingly difficult for brands to target their consumers in the same way that might have appealed to them last month.

After major events such as the 2008 recession and more recently Brexit, people are becoming more savvy with their money. There have also been wider divisions in politics, culture and taste across generations more recently.  Therefore, brands need to consider the value of their products more than ever before. Not just in terms of money though, but also in terms of what their brand represents.

In the past, consumers have been broken down into “lazy” segments such as ‘millennial’ or Gen Z’ but there are potentially 15 year age gaps within these segments. To get a better understanding of audiences, these segments need to broken down even further. Brands need a clearer understanding into the nuances that make each consumer an individual. By understanding their consumers beliefs, values and needs; they can effectively reach out to their audience in the most appropriate manner.

Tastes

As consumers, we are a very fickle bunch. Our likes and dislikes are constantly changing resulting in endless new products hitting our shelves to help feed our appetites.

When certain goods go out of fashion or people’s tastes and preferences no longer remain favourable to them, the demand for them decreases. The level at which a customer desires your product not only affects your demand curve, but essentially your overall success as a brand. One way to stay ahead of the curve is by altering the product or service. This ensures the demands of consumers are always met meaning they don’t have to look towards other brands to get what they want.

Apple is a brand that is very good at “reinventing” itself. They very quickly realised that to stay at the forefront of technology development, they needed to listen to their customers and adapt. With Apple bringing out a new iPhone more or less annually, they have been able to add/change/remove the elements that their customers like and dislike about their products. They have blown all competition out of the water and now you will struggle to find a household without an Apple product.

Trends

Trends come and go and it can sometimes be difficult to work out which ones are going to stick around. As we discussed in our previous blog post (5 Trends that Should be Shaping your 2017 Marketing Budget), live video is one trend that we think will be making waves in the next couple of months.

Another trend that has stuck around is documenting every waking moment of our days. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the bits in between documented on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram. As they say, a picture paints a thousand words and brands should embrace this power.

People like to get to know the ins and outs of a brand – they’re not interested in just seeing the curated marketing content that has been planned for the past 6 months. By sharing moments as they happen, brands can start building a personality that their consumers can relate to. In turn, this turns consumers into advocates and they begin sharing your story. John Lewis is one brand that has nailed this and they are constantly producing share-worthy visual content – no wonder they are one of the UK’s leading brands.

Brand Centurion

With the elements of branding changing constantly, it can be difficult to manage your brand successfully. With Brand Centurion, you can create marketing and branded-materials in-house and distribute them in a timely manner, allowing you to react quickly to these changing elements. To find out more or to request a demo, call us on 01293 660722.


 

Written by Liam Beauchamp for Burst Digital, 26/09/2016

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5 Trends that Should Shape your 2017 Marketing Budget

Trends 2017

We’d all like a crystal ball to help us plan next year’s marketing budget so that we could spend more time engaging with our audience and less time planning. How nice would it be to know exactly which emerging technologies and trends are going to have the biggest impact on your bottom line? Or knowing exactly which digital channels your prospective customers will be using.

Unfortunately we can’t predict the future but that doesn’t mean we can’t draw upon some comprehensive research to help us make some informed predictions as to which way things are heading.

The way in which the marketing industry drives forward is immense so here are our top five predicted digital marketing trends that should be shaping your 2017 marketing budget.

Video – Live Streaming

In the last year we have seen video skyrocket. Each social network now seems to offer its own video platform but live streaming is still relatively new. The first release of tools like Periscope and Meerkat only came about in early 2015. Facebook very quickly jumped on the bandwagon though and more recently, YouTube has introduced live streaming capabilities.

Live video streams can be used for marketing in various ways. They can build awareness, drive conversion and boost engagement. Very often this will be dependent on using the right social platform for your content though. By supplementing your current social strategy with live video, and hyping the build up to your content, you have a real opportunity to reach the masses.

Despite the enormous growth of the apps there are still very few brands that have adopted video. Live content is now getting preference over all other content though. Its rate of user adoption and participation is driving the urgency to include this in marketing strategies. With live video being the best way to bring the full power of personal sales to social media, there is a real opportunity for ROI.

You can only do this though by adding value to your customers, so don’t just go straight in with a sales pitch. Give your customers an insight into the personality of your business. Stream company events, make live announcements, conduct interviews or even run a live video blog. Although it is safe to say that live video is here for the long haul, now is the time to determine how to best use it to build awareness and expand reach.

Cross-Device Retargeting

Consumers are much harder to reach these days, especially as they switch back and forth between all their different devices. DMA’s Statistical Fact Book reports that the average consumer is now connected through five addressable devices. This in turn means five opportunities to get your brand in front of them. Today’s shopper uses a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone and consumers will bounce back-and-forth between device before making that final purchase decision.

As these consumers move across devices, marketers must engage with them in personalised, meaningful ways. By tagging consumers at their first touch point with your brand and tracking their behaviour across devices, marketers are able to target them with display advertising that is appropriate for the device. This provides a consistent and engaging messages across devices ensuring your brand is always at the forefront of their mind. 

Google has recently announced that advertisers will soon be able to reach users across devices with Google remarketing campaigns. This is a significant development as this isn’t something Google previously supported. This means marketers will seamlessly be able to deliver a marketing campaign that targets audiences across all devices.

Personalised Content

There is so much content on the web that it can be difficult for brands to break through the noise. It can also make it difficult for brands to differentiate from other brands, especially if they are offering the same product or service and targeting a large audience. If you’re producing content to appeal to everyone, it’s not going to be as valuable as content that is targeted.

Consumers now expect more from brands and are looking for you to add value to their lives, not disrupt it. In exchange, brands get their custom, loyalty and brand advocacy. We can only achieve this by providing content that our customers actually want to read. If brands have a better understanding of the person they are targeting, they will have a better understanding of the information their customer might be seeking.

The web is now saturated with content so for brands to add real value, they need to shift their focus towards narrower niches, personalised content and more targeted channels. Although this will undoubtedly generate lower volume, the quality of engagement will be much higher.  A lot of brands will give up on content marketing as they are not seeing the short term results. This makes it a perfect time to step up to the plate. Eventually, we will be able to target content down to individual preferences, desires and interests.

Optimise for Mobile First

Smartphones have now overtaken laptops as UK Internet user’s number one device. On average, we are spending almost two hours online on our smartphones every day. There has been an emphasis on optimising for mobile traffic and now it is clear that mobile first should be the mantra for the rest of the year and beyond.

Having a mobile-friendly website or app is just the beginning.  For the first time Google has started widening their first page search results to include mobile apps and they have recently released their “Mobilegeddon” algorithm. This will essentially phase out sites that have not been optimised for mobile access from showing in search results. This is very bad news for companies who have not yet optimised their website.

Desktop traffic is slowly beginning to fade away, and in order to increase the competitive edge of your company, mobile-focused online marketing is key. As it currently stands, one in seven Brits own wearable technology and the trend is set to continue.  This means marketers need to be prepared to produce content to fit the format, the channel, and the place.

Social Analytics

It may feel like social media has been around for a lifetime but it’s certainly still in its infancy. Although most companies have adopted one or two social media platforms, many of them are still not collecting data. 88% of marketers aren’t sure of the best way to engage their audience on social media which is potentially driving away consumers. With the move to mobile though and more brands relying on social platforms, analytics will offer the greatest opportunities.

The mass-target approach is out, and personalised data-driven marketing plans are in. By making greater use of social analytics, brands are able to drill down and gain valuable insight. There are certain nuggets of valuable data buried within the mountains of social media chatter. Organisations that are looking for a competitive edge can use social analytics to identify patterns in customer sentiment which in turn enables them to gauge their marketing effectiveness. This process goes beyond the usual monitoring of “likes” or retweets to develop an in-depth idea of who their social consumer is and this information is invaluable.

Using social analytics, brands are able to understand how their customers are making use of their services or products and what their views and opinions are about that particular company or product. There are countless blogs, tweets, comments and complaints regarding products and services. Social media platforms are now the No.1 place for consumers to complain. This huge volume of information can be used to evaluates consumer’s experience which can then be used to help companies perform better.


 

Written by Liam Beauchamp for Burst Digital, 12/09/2016