The last decade brought a completely new meaning to what it means to be a modern brand. We saw a shift from print and television-based marketing to digital, and social platforms. Wondering what the next decade will hold?
2020 will bring a shift towards more human, more ethical, more personal, and more community-driven brand initiatives. If you’re looking for ways to keep your brand innovative, we’ve got 5 fresh branding tips for you to read through with some great examples!
1. Go the sustainable route
Now more than ever, consumers are going out of their way to make more sustainable buying choices. You have the opportunity to be the business that makes it easier for them. Our first branding tip? Bring sustainability to the forefront of your band.
With the Australian bushfires, the Taal volcano eruption, Hurrican Dorian, and the California wildfires, 2019 alone was a striking year for climate change disasters. The fact is, climate change is getting harder and harder to ignore, and consumers are looking for ways they can offset their carbon footprint. Sustainable packaging, eco-friendly products, reusable or compostable containers, ethical sourcing—all of these things matter to a modern-day consumer.
If you want your brand to stand out in 2020, consider ways to make your business more sustainable. Don’t let these efforts hide in the shadows. Bring sustainability to the forefront of your brand by communicating how you’re contributing to more Earth-friendly practices with your audience and consumers.
The popular dress brand, Reformation, does a great job of communicating their sustainable practices to their audience because they know how much it matters.
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Filpucci is a spinning mill in Capalle, Tuscany that manufactures our recycled cashmere yarns. Filpucci started in the early 2010s, with a goal to create a transparent, eco-centric strategy, which they’ve achieved through many things. One example – signing a ‘Values Chart’ to guarantee sustainable production chains are fully traceable with certified materials and measured environmental performance. They’re also Global Organic Textile Standard, Global Recycled Standard, Forest Stewardship Council, and Responsible Wool Standard certified. Now that you know our secret sweater sauce, you can go shop our recycled cashmere stuff. #jointhereformation
2. Embrace diversity
People are tired of seeing one representation of humanity in branding. We are a world of many races, colors, abilities, and cultures, and this is something to celebrate. A growing effort in branding is the turn toward diversity and inclusivity, and it’s a welcome breath of fresh air. This means, more people of color in your brand photos and illustrations, different body types and ages in your social media posts and advertising campaigns, and an emphasis on inclusive business practices for people of different sexual and gender orientations, and physical abilities.
How can you bring in more diversity and inclusion into your brand?
When selecting photos for your website or ads, go out of your way to source photos that include people of color, differing ability, age, and orientation. If you do your own brand photography—choose models the same way.
- Here’s a great list of stock photo sites that focus on diversity and inclusion.
Use inclusive language. If you own a physical storefront or retail space, consider ways to make your space more accessible; get a StopGap or accessibility ramp, add braille to your signage, hire folks who can speak with sign language.
Your customers will be over the moon to see more of them reflected in your brand.
3. Imperfection in marketing
A great way to elevate your brand in 2020 is by doing away with perfectly photoshopped and curated images. People are growing tired of the highlight reel. 51% of consumers believe businesses lack authentic content, but 90% of consumers desire it. As a resulting trend, more and more brands are turning to images that haven’t been over-edited to better reflect reality.
With people, this means showing wrinkles and skin imperfections. With products, it means showing them off in real-life scenarios rather than overly edited studio shots. Popular beauty brand Glossier, has garnered a lot of attention over the years for how it shows off its products. More often than not, it’s products are displayed in images shot in very normal settings on an iPhone. Glossier gained 13 thousand followers in one week after it’s social media launch, and we think realness has something to do with it.
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In the bag: _Solution exfoliating skin perfector: a balanced blend of skincare acids that gives you glowier, smoother skin with each swipe _Milky Jelly Cleanser: gentle, creamy gel face wash that melts dirt and non-waterproof makeup away while leaving skin soft, never tight _Milky Oil: waterproof-makeup remover and Milky Jelly Cleanser's partner-in-crime _Bubblewrap: lightweight eye + lip cream that leaves your face's two most delicate areas looking fresher, smoother and more hydrated both now and over time
4. Use user-generated-content (UGC)
User-generated content is content created by users, not brands, and it’s the way of the future. According to an AdWeek survey, 76% of people said they trusted content shared by “average” people more than by brands. Essentially, UGC acts like a customer testimonial, by showing off how happy your consumers are with your products or services. Big brands are picking up on this trend and filling their Instagram feed with photos taken by their own customers.
How do you start using UGC?
A simple custom hashtag is a great place to start! Encourage your followers to post on their social media using your custom hashtag. This will make it easier for you to re-post people’s images, and also easier for consumers interested in your brand to find photos of what you sell! Here’s a tip: put your custom hashtag inside or on your packaging, or in content like your newsletter so people are exposed to it.
Wayfair is a great example of this, using the hashtag #WayfairAtHome to show off how people style their homes with their Wayfair hauls.
5. Community driven content
While the 2010s were all about wide-open social media platforms, the 2020s will see a turn towards niche communities of interest and purpose. Newsletters, online groups, customer community programs, local events—all are on the rise in the next decade. If you’re looking for a way to innovate your brand, begin to think about ways you can create community-driven content that will bring your customers together.
Sometimes the best way to build a community in business is to stop thinking of your customers like customers. Instead, think of them as friends. Think of them as a tribe. This perspective will shift your approach—the kind of content you share will change, and the way you talk to them will change too.
Community driven content is about creating a two way, interactive experience between your brand and your audience. Start conversations, ask questions, ASK for engagement. Here’s a branding tip for you: think of your brand as a consumable experience—what’s the best way for them to engage?
Ways to engage your customer community:
- unplugged experiences (no phones)
- niche newsletters
- real-life meetups
- raw and honest content about your business
- sharing customer stories
- small online groups
Make your brand shine this year!
Maintaining your brand is about keeping your customers connected and close to you. This new decade marks a shift into more human branding. We’ve given you five branding tips to keep your brand elevated for years to come, including:
- More sustainable practices where possible
- Embracing diversity and being more inclusive in your brand photos, messaging, and identity
- Focusing on realness by keeping away from over-photoshopped or heavily editing photography
- Leveraging user-generated content to instill trust and loyalty in your customers
- Focusing on your audience and customers as a community rather than simply buyers
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