I love to live in a world of “what ifs” and predictions of how we might experience the future and interact with brands. In this article, I highlight a few of the bold brand predictions for 2022 and beyond, quoted from top branding experts from around the world. Let’s dive in and imagine the future, shall we?
As 2017 unfolds, the world is rapidly moving to where all brand experiences are becoming seamlessly integrated with technology. Branding as we know it today may become a relic of the past, according to top brand experts.
One of the big questions, as we explore the future, is the separation between who we are and what we buy. Will consumers blindly hand over their data, or will they fight back, forcing companies to change their approach?
I came across a compelling article, written by Suzanne Labarre, which highlights predictions from leading branding experts. It is an exciting time to be in the world of brand building and the strategy behind it.
Below, I will highlight a few of the predictions and share my thoughts on them. You can read the full article on FastCoDesign.
The “Age of You” Will Arrive
The inextricable link between brand and business will become integral to growth, acceleration, and differentiation. The now-maturing startups that have leapt ahead set the standard with founders that inherently understood that the ‘brand is the business’ from day zero. This hard-wiring into systems, experiences, technology, and people will mean greater ability to build deep and personal relationships, soon to be accelerated by AI and the rise of digital assistants. This will drive new levels of, and expectations for, personalization. The ‘Age of You’ is about to become our everyday reality.
Jez Frampton, global CEO, Interbrand
I love this prediction by Jez. He nails it on the head when he says that the founders who inherently understand that the ‘brand is the business,’ allows startups to hard-wire that mantra into systems, experiences, technology and people, allowing the brand the ability to build deep and personal relationships. With artificial intelligence and digital assistants on the rise, this will drive new levels of, and an increasingly higher demand for personalization.
We are already beginning to see personalization infiltrate everyday normal experiences. Look for it to rapidly disrupt the brand experience across industries.
Experience Will Replace Identity
As brand identity becomes more mutable and more and more companies come to life in a quickening cycle, the value of the unwavering ‘mark’ will diminish. As a result, corporations will rely more on the experiences that they deliver than on the identity that adorns their headquarters, website, or app. A seamless series of brand experiences will define the modern brand identity; this can be seen in hospitality where the customer’s experience outweighs the logo, as well as successful digital services that generate brand recognition through micro, consistent, repetitive UI and UX interactions, not from a formal brand identity per se.
David Schwarz, partner, HUSH
I see this rapidly changing right in front of my eyes every day. The brand experience, something that I write, talk, and research on frequently, is becoming the prized possession that is driving brands forward. Consumers may end up with a tangible artifact, but they are buying into the experience.
Starbucks is a tremendous example of designing and positioning the brand experience as the prize, just as much, if not more, than the tangible product – the coffee. Starbucks is about being a ‘third place,’ in between work and home. The brand experience that Starbucks delivers on is beginning to outweigh the logo, just as David predicts. Starbucks is ahead of the curve, delivering a seamless experience between the digital and physical worlds, and in doing so, defining a modern brand identity.
Brands Will Market Themselves to Machines
Machines make many decisions on our behalf, and as big brands write the decision rules for soon-to-be-essential assistants (Alexa, Siri, Erica, and any of Facebook’s myriad bots), brands must realize that, in the very near future, before they even get to a customer, they’ll have to appeal to a machine. Call it SEO on steroids. More abstract measures like trust and a company’s track record may give way to more quantifiable traits like quality scores and customer ratings. The key question is: How can your brand be most appealing when decision-making is simplified by machines?
John Marshall, chief strategy and innovation officer, Lippincott
This bold brand prediction is something that brands of all sizes will need to grapple with in the very near future. I agree with John that as the rules are written for soon-to-be essential assistants, brands must realize that they’ll first have to appeal to a machine. New, abstract measures such as trust, a company’s track record, or a brand’s performance score may lend itself to further determine how the brand will appeal to machines in order to reach their customers. Pretty wild stuff.
Predicting the Future of Brands
While we can’t predict the future of brands, we can gauge and imagine what the future may hold. Branding is morphing into a highly personalized, customized experience. We know the future is headed towards a more seamless integration between the physical and digital worlds, even so far as to bring our bodies even more into the fold.
What’s Your Take?
Have you noticed some of the predictions in your line of work? Is your brand prepared to move into this new future reality? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter @BWarsinske.