Written by Susan Guenlius
With just a couple of weeks until the new year arrives, it’s time to start thinking about the trends that are dominating brand marketing and will stick around or get even bigger in 2013. These are the brand marketing trends that can open significant opportunities or create big challenges over the next 12 months. Is your brand ready for them?
1. Brand Accountability
Social media reputation management has never been more important, and brand transparency is critical. In 2013, even the smallest mistake can become a huge public relations problem. You need to be ready with response plans in place to protect your brand reputation.
2. Brand Trust
Social media also makes it easy for consumers to confirm if a brand really walks the walk and talks the talk. It’s a lot harder to earn consumers’ trust in your brand today, and it will be even harder in 2013.
3. Brand Flexibility
The world is changing faster than ever, and so is the social web. To top it off, hyper-connectivity will reach record levels with the growth of mobile device usage in 2013. Your brand needs to drive the change, not just try to keep up with it. If your brand isn’t able to adapt, another brand will.
4. Brand Experience
In 2012, we started to see a significant shift to brand storytelling and creating branded experiences. If Apple could do it, why can’t other brands? That line of thinking brought us emotion-driven ads from Google and slick copycat designs from Microsoft (e.g., the Microsoft Surface ads, Microsoft stores, and the Microsoft Store website). Every brand should be creating brand experiences both in-person and online in 2013. If you’re not creating them already, you’re late.
5. Brand Visualization
In 2012, the world witnessed the rapid growth of sites like Pinterest and Instagram that brought the demand for visual content to the forefront of digital publishing. Images didn’t just enhance content anymore. In 2012, images were the content, and people loved it. Brands need to embrace visual content to tell their stories in 2012 just like the global audience has.
6. Brand Crowdsourcing
2013 should be the year for all brands to leverage the collective voice of brand advocates and turn their content and conversations into marketing opportunities. Leaving the crowd untapped is one of the biggest mistakes brand marketers could make in the coming 12 months.
7. Brands as Social Influencers
Consumers expect brands to use their money and their reach for social, environmental, and economic good. Corporate social responsibility is important to every company, but brand marketing executives should make positioning their brands as social influencers a strategic priority in 2013.
8. Brand Data
Big data, research data, competitive analysis data, consumer data, and every other type of data you can think of will be included in marketers’ goals for 2013. Turning that data into actionable metrics and initiatives will be the more challenging step, and it’s one that all brand marketers should be concerned with in the coming 12 months and beyond.
9. Brand Behavior
Using the data collected throughout the year, brand marketers will need to leverage behavioral targeting, particularly to increase ROI for digital and mobile marketing campaigns.
10. Branded Content
In 2012, we saw a proliferation of branded content that had little focus and lacked clear strategy. Brand marketers who develop focused content plans with clear objectives in 2013 will reap the rewards that content marketing can deliver for many years to come.
What do you think are the most important brand marketing trends, opportunities, or challenges that should dominate 2013?