From generic trends that put employees at the heart of the marketing campaign to trends that rely on industry specificity, such as hospitality brands that seduce Asian tourists, branding will continue to evolve and undergo dynamic changes in the year that has just started.
To conclude the 10-day trend, we end up with a final tie-up – a list to look forward to throughout 2016. Providing you with a vision of both branding industry both at the high and the specific level depending on the industry in which it operates, hopefully we have given you some landmarks for the industry pulse this year.
1. 3D printing technology will revolutionize retail
What we anticipate: retail is constantly evolving, with new products and brands launched weekly. But 3D printing technology offers unparalleled opportunities for companies, giving them the opportunity to rethink their business model and to speed up the retail process by opting for “print on-site”, to break down factories in the production chain and to respond in real time to changes, consumer feedback, cultural events, or social trends. The creative and design cycle could also be compressed, and the branding process could be shorter. On the other hand, designers will have new means of displaying their brands in interactive and multidimensional ways.
Where we see the trend: Nike offers shoe designs made using 3D printers such as Vapor HyperAgility Cleat, and New Balance has recently announced that it will use 3D footwear to create a model of performance sports shoes. Bespoke Innovations uses 3D technology to scan and print custom prosthetics, while Pi-Top U.K has launched 3D printers.
2. Offline is the new online
What we anticipate: online shopping threatened to eradicate the traditional retail experience. In any case, buyers want their human interaction again, allowing them to connect with brands at a personal level. There are even adepts among well-known online brands, and in 2016 we anticipate a return of many companies in physical stores, combining excellent service abilities with customers with the information, flexibility and customization offered by the digital environment.
Where we see the trend: Amazon has just opened its first physical bookstore in Seattle, where customers can browse the books and have the opportunity to read the opinions of other customers before purchasing the product. Warby Parker opened his first store in Soho a few years ago, intending to initially limit himself to two locations. The consumer reaction was so overwhelming that the company plans to open seven other stores by the end of 2015.
3. Audio branding will make waves
What we anticipated: The Harvard Business Review attracted attention in 2014 on the influence of marketers that music and sounds can have, cataloging the audio field as one of the most ignored – or even underestimated – branding resources. In 2016, brands will try to take advantage of consumers’ innate ability to perceive sounds, using audio branding to increase consumer awareness, subtly transmitting their brand and product attributes.
Where we see the trend: Skype has introduced new chat sounds, from message and call notifications to error and logging notifications that alert users to specific actions by sharing the Skype brand in their memory. Meanwhile, Honda added the sound of a turbo engine at the end of the commercials to induce the idea of power, speed and agility.
4. Reviving the print
What we anticipate: we hear more and more often that the print is losing ground in front of the digital, but will the print disappear forever? In 2016 we anticipate a revival of the print due to the tactile experience it offers,
Where we see the trend: J.C Penney has recently revived the catalog released in 2009, while Anthropologie launched last year’s first expanded catalog. Historycal digital brands such as Birchbox and Bonobos are also launching this year’s printed catalog. Printed books gain ground, New York Times is reporting a 10 percent drop in eBook bills in the first five months of last year, while the number of independent libraries in the United States has increased.
5. The home battle will surpass the one for the living room
What we anticipated: The Living Room Battle trained both television companies, the film industry, console game makers, and traditional entertainment such as books and social games. In 2016, this competition will transfer the attention from one room to the entire house. Branding agencies will need to create unique identities for these brands that make home-based systems, while finding ways to explain complex consumer technologies.
Where we see the trend: Taking into account Sony’s technological features that enable it to produce everything, from hardware and software to home appliances, it has an opportunity to create an integrated “smart home” system. Google is also focused on this trend following the acquisition of Nest, which, if expanded, could provide consumers with the ability to fully control the environment.
6. The packaging will tell a story
What we anticipate: Stories are those through which a brand can be humanized and can become more accessible to consumers. Stories help a brand stand out so that its name and logo become recognizable. In 2016 a cool box or an interesting bottle will not be enough. Brands will continue to cherish authentic stories to establish differentiating elements and to trace them through the design of the packaging.
Where we see the trend: J&B wrapped 25 latex whiskey bottles in latex and appealed to artist Sebastian Mathieu to tattoo each of them, highlighting a unique brand story: J&B was set up at the end the 19th century when the royal fleet marquee arrived for the first time in the UK and exhibited their tattoos. Nine Suns is a California cellar founded by the Chang family and uses the Chinese legend of the 10 suns as inspiration for both name and logo design.
7. Phone technology will dictate automotive acquisitions
What we anticipate: Changes in needs, lifestyle and consumer expectations have put the automotive industry around the world to the test. Car makers have to adapt to the consumer-centered car market, especially in terms of integrating the operating system of the phones. This change could change the buyer’s attitude by opting for the most compatible cars with the phone’s capabilities.
Where we see the trend: Android Auto and Apple CarPlay allow the integration of the car and the phone in a comprehensive way, delivering Google and Apple experiences. This fight between PC and Mac could result in partnerships where car and phone makers collaborate, influencing consumer choices to buy the car.
8. Branding becomes multisensory
What we anticipate: Companies will have to take into account the entire consumer experience when they create brands. Besides designing the logo, how it looks and feels, companies will have to explore the other senses to create unique worlds for consumers.
Where we see the trend: Four Seasons uses a ventilation system to emit various pleasant flavors. Virgin Company focuses on elements such as personalized screens, food and beverage ordering, and the well-known purple lights that make flying experience different from any other airline.
9. Manufacturers of packaged food will respond to pressure
What we anticipate: In recent years, consumers have begun to pay more attention to where the food they eat comes from, the way it is produced, and its impact on health. Tails at Chipotle and Snack Shak – restaurants known for healthy food and local ingredients – are getting bigger and organic brands like Amy’s Kitchen bloom. As a result of growing consumer expectations for healthy eating, packaged food manufacturers will have to adjust their product lines.
Where we see the trend: Kraft announced it will exclude artificial dyes from the famous macaroni cheese recipe, while Coca-Cola launched a new product, Coca-Cola Life, a more natural and less calorie drink. Campbell plans to reduce the number of ingredients in the soup, starting with the classic chicken soup with the cut, which has remained in the top 10 shelf products in the United States since it was set up in 1934.
10. Restructuring will reshape financial services
What we anticipate: With fewer regulations and less reserves, bank entities have to reorganize to remain relevant and profitable. This gives companies the opportunity to optimize their business and brand, while banks are clearing their identity as a brand in the context of a new business model.
Where we see the trend: UBS has recently developed a business strategy focused on wealth management and new brand communication. Golman Sachs is planning to launch an online consumer loan program, assuming brand communication directly with them, in contrast to the traditionally used B2B ways. In the United Kingdom, Masthaven Finance has grown into a retail bank, requiring a rethinking of brand and consumer relationship.
11. Life at full speed
What we anticipate: Nowadays consumers want convenient and complete experiences faster than ever. Therefore, the chin will develop faster ways to satisfy the consumer, generating interaction with the brand in an innovative way.
Where we see the trend: The Starbuck’s application gives consumers the opportunity to order and pay their coffee online so they can wait for them on the counter when they get to the store. Taco Bell has launched a similar initiative this year, giving consumers the opportunity to order and to lose (and customize their food) on the site or Taco Bell application.
12. Brands of hospitality will seduce Asian tourists
What we anticipate: China and India have a higher population than any other country, and the amount of potential consumers grows daily. Hotels and agencies tourism from around the world are focusing on this new audience: Asian tourists. It is often the case that Western hotels do not offer the preferred facilities and culinary options to this category of tourists, so new programs are being developed for them and the major hotel chains are striving to attract this audience in 2016.
Where we see the trend: Hilton Worldwide’s “Huanying” service – distributing everything from reception messages to mandarin TV channels and jasmine tea – has grown in 30 countries. The IHG recently launched a Chinese travel program called “Zhou Dao” where over 10,000 staff members received essential information about Chinese culture and hospitality. It was also announced the launch of Hualuxe, a new chain of hotels specially designed for Chinese tourists.
13. The end of telecommunication without frontiers
What we anticipate: Telecommunication companies have long held the monopoly over global communication. But as digital culture becomes more widespread, new technologies are causing traditional patterns, causing the industry to adapt. Twitter, blogs, instant messaging, Wi-Fi calls: all these channels of communication motivate telecoms companies to reinvent your business models and branding strategy.
Where we see the trend: The British Group Vodafone is positioned in this competition by offering a roaming option in over 50 countries for a $5 fee.
14. Employees at the center of the marketing campaign
What we anticipated: Attractive slogans and fun commercials used to be enough for the impact of a brand to be felt. At present, however, consumers care about employees’ opinions and the way they are treated as much as they care about the services offered by companies. In 2016, brands will focus on turning their employees into brand ambassadors and will become more vocal in exposing their services to create positive work experiences.
Where we see the trend: REI recently announced #OptOutside, an initiative by which all REI stores were closed by Black Friday and clients and employees were invited to spend time outdoors with their family and friends.