06 Jan Strategic Brand & Communication Trends for 2016
Up and Onwards to a Year of Greatness!
Take a look past the operational implications of taking your brand digital, social and mobile. Beyond the aspects of continuing to build Omni channel mechanics, organizational alignment and marketing effectiveness. We are all fully into these disciplines already – but what are the Communication Trends to watch out for beyond what we already know?
Here is a short write up that unpacks the top three of the major strategic brand & communication trends identified for 2016. To access the full paper please download the PDF here, for the corresponding info graphic please see here.
Content Curation (quality) will outperform Content Machines (quantity)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is not the only area where intensifying interconnectivity will drive change. The speed by which information, channels and audiences are interrelated will continue to accelerate and converge.
From the angle of content creation therefore, this represents a plethora of reasons why there will be even more noise and increasing clutter in 2016. Aligned content quantity used to drive SEO – and it will continue doing so, but no longer at the cost of sacrificing quality. Google will step up the quality aspect of content- (and hence: search) evaluation. Or take a younger generation of digitally savvy audiences for instance: Millennials and Gen Z are significantly better at spotting the meaninglessness of ‘cheap’ content, recognizing a lack of purpose in your message within seconds and excluding you from their self-selected content consumption.
Sharper positioning of your brand, the focus of your message, cutting through the clutter, condensed and more to-the-point content will become the key ingredient for brands in a world of accelerated complexity of communications. As the ancient Latin saying goes: Quam Bene non Quantum – Not how much, but how well you plan and curate your content will make the difference.
But how to go about it? Connecting your inner value system holistically with your audience will increasingly provide guidance and direction for how you create your content. Authentic, engaging and from the inside out. Good practice of how to develop, organize and leverage qualitative content models can already be found within the luxury sector (i.e. Le quai de l’horloge by Breguet) or high-end educational institutions (i.e. The Harvard Business Review).
Recognizing the Scarcity of Time
As the competitive cycles keep getting tighter and complexity is on the rise, it becomes increasingly difficult for brands to cut through the clutter.
One of the key success factors for companies will be the way they recognize the understanding of time.
The way of perceiving, recognizing and indeed valuing time has changed fundamentally in the last few years, as civilized societies have started to democratize the notion of this very scarce resource. Today, everyone has very little time for anything. The savior, of course, is technology, going hand-in-hand with an increase in productivity. But is it not odd that so many of the tasks which used to take hours, days or even weeks now take seconds – and yet we seem to have less time in our daily lives?
Brands with true purpose and deeper meaning will recognize this dynamic. The elimination of strategies (communication, or else) that waste a client’s time has the potential to become a competitive advantage. Customer Journeys need re-thinking, touch-points re-evaluation. Real-time, relevant consumption of content will become the baseline of expectations. If you want to see the mechanics of how this will pan out for companies and brands in the future, look no further than at Snapchat and the communication dynamic it creates.
Purpose & Real Values: Branding Inside Out
Purpose-driven brands are on the rise, and increasingly are able to demonstrate greater return. In terms of loyalty, repeat business and ultimately both financially and socially, too. Hava’s Meaningful Brand index or EY’s initiative of leveraging the transformational power of purpose are a demonstration of what this means.
Appearance alone is superficial and will increasingly be recognized as such. 2016 will be a year in which the tendency to search for the exceedingly good beyond CSR will continue to make great inroads. So both the outside and the inside of brands will need to be meaningful and led by an overarching shared and aligned purpose. It means crafting better value systems for your brand that hold strong and tight in a radically transparent world.
The current winners are clearly purpose-oriented brands such as Apple, Coursera, Tesla and Harley-Davidson for example. These will see even more growth on the back of strong value systems that drive strategy, innovation and culture. Forward-thinking brands that add meaning to their customers’ lives will conquer more territory in their consumers’ minds. This is especially true for upcoming and more meaning conscious generations (Millennials and Gen Z), transcending geographies and maturity of markets around the globe. Companies that are not guided by a deeper, inner purpose will experience loosing grip and traction over time.
As the very fundamental nature of competition will continue to drive market dynamics, an approach to ‘branding inside out’ through purpose led transformation will become the silver magic bullet to gain competitive advantage for 2016 and beyond.