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The Future-now of Branding

There is always that particular talk about the future that we wish we had. Something that at least prepares us for what is ahead. Something that gives us a glimpse so that we can make that pivot to reach a different outcome.

We have the benefit from a historical perspective when it comes to branding – what used to work and what needs to be in place for things to really take off. And for clarity, we have placed it into a singular comparison table view for you.

Of course, not everything is binary in nature. There would certainly be parts of the exchange in times past, for example, that had relational elements present despite the focus being on a transaction.

By going through this table, you would probably somewhat agree with the presentation given how we have been primed to operationalise our branding efforts in a certain way because it is “industry-standard”. And this is where the Pipe Piper starts leading rats through the streets. At SYL+JAS, we keep ourselves at the forefront of the game through deliberate immersion and reeducation – in activities that are not necessarily within the industry. It is easy to follow the leader but the game is not about blind followership but demonstrating iconoclastic leadership, so to speak.

There are 3 keys to ensuring that you continue to stay ahead of the trends – and that by the time the next binary table of this nature is created a while later, you would be smiling to realise that the brand/business that you are stewarding is found on the right-side column.

Key #1. Anticipate

Will the near future hold something other than an emotional, relational exchange? With digital IDs coming to the fore, how will this shift change how people interact with brands and their collateral?

Remember that each epoch presents itself a place of change and the new binary table is likely going to look quite different from this. At the strategic brand level, watch for the shift in the tide. Set up parameters and indicative markers that provide signals that the tide is indeed taking a turn.

A 2020 McKinsey survey showed that paid loyalty programme members generate twice the percentage of spending on the brand (60% vs 30%), and are worth many times more than non-paying ones. Armed with this knowledge, brand stewards can gear loyalty programmes to induce an initial-buy-in, and then enact actionable rewards with their members to drive purchases and brand loyalty.

Key #2. Adjudicate

Be discerning. Make judgment calls on what you are seeing. Distill the messages that are being put out and draw conclusions of emerging trends. Cut out what is not required and have laser focus on what matters. Look at the granular data to inform your decision. But don’t lose the forest for the trees.

If your brand is still found on the left-side column for now, you need to pivot right-side as quickly as possible because there are tremors taking place even at the right-side that will cause it to become a yesteryear trend.

Key #3. Align

At a B2B level, some of the current forms of meeting trends might be translated over to normal life post-COVID. This is a highly possible trend and includes the increased use of digital self-serve models and videoconferencing. The high adoption rate of 9 in 10 B2B buyers taking the self-serve route and nearly 7 in 10 preferring videoconferencing will mean that you will have to accelerate brand marketing resources to do right by branding through these adopted platforms.

There is some level of hybridisation in outreach efforts of brands at a B2C level. The key questions that you might want to engage your brand in are “How does my brand capture the consciousness of the customer in this hybridised approach? How can we remain consistent in our branding efforts across digital and physical spaces?”

Summing up

It is in our hope as a branding house that brands do not seal their demise by going down the antiquated road to no man’s land. Adjust, Adjudicate, Align. Take charge of the future of your brand.


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