What is the future of branding (2017)?

To talk about the future of branding, let’s first determine the purpose of branding. What exactly is the purpose of branding? If you would agree, branding is all about “selling your stuff.” Though marketing takes your product/service into the market, it’s the face of your business (or branding) that eventually sells.

Through the recent decades in this millennium, design trends have been changing very fast. With the emergence of advanced design software in the late 1900s, the goal of every design was all about ultra detailed/complex designs with shadows and all that pomp to show the quality of the design. Then came the #minimalistic design approach inspired primarily by world leaders, Apple and Google (Or at least I believe they were the pioneers of modern minimalism). Today, we have a mix of ultra-minimalism combined with three-dimensional isometric designs that define an excellent design.

Though I took the effort to give you a very brief idea of how design has evolved in just the last 20 years, this article is to educate you about the future of branding in its overall sense.

So what exactly do we see regarding the future of branding? We see sharper, creative designs focussed on ease of engagement and interaction. We see personal branding becoming the soul behind well-branded companies. Founders, leaders, and directors of companies need to brand themselves well in order to affect their company’s overall brand image.

Are you lost? Let me break it down for you.

Branding your company to make it future proof means the input of three primary efforts:

  1. Your designs must be sharper and content crisper. With the emergence of much competition, consumers are tired of looking at the overdone collage of branding efforts by various companies claiming to be the best. What’s going to stand out is a crisper brand story about your product/service itself, instead of some ‘guru gyan’ that would apparently change the lives of your buyers. For example, clients are going to ignore the “this shampoo will give you salon-style hair at home” to “this shampoo is organic with only the essential extras to clean your hair thoroughly.” Get it? Clients aren’t dumb anymore.
  2. Personal branding is going to be a key effort. With so many companies around, people want to deal with real people, not media content. Thus, working on your self-branding would be as important as your startup or company branding. Think about it. Would you not buy a product or service from a friend rather than a random company that has services on par with this friend? Of course, you would!
  3. Your products/services of much higher quality than your competition. People have become immune to advertising like a person become immune to antibiotics after repeated use. Your advertising is useless if your product or service isn’t intrinsically better than your competition. Of course, you cannot become a monopoly on day 1. However, at least, your goal and present efforts must focus on problem solving and essential value to your customers.

Think about these points. We have observed a clear inclination towards these trends. The future of ANYTHING is SIMPLICITY. The hype of advertising is done with. Clients are saturated!

Focus your branding efforts on truth statements. Yes, designs will continue to become sharper and more beautiful. However, the substance of a brand will come through effective communication about the quality of the end product and the overall interaction of the people of the organization itself. This calls for better work culture.

What do you think?

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