Brands that embrace technology while still understanding consumers’ desire for simplicity will succeed in the upcoming year, according to Landor.
Landor, the WPP global branding firm, released its branding trends for 2017 which show that consumers want it all – from the most advanced technology to experiences from their past like going to camp.
Technology will take center stage in unprecedented ways across B2C and B2B with artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) driving user interaction in new and unimaginable ways. At the same time, brands that understand consumers’ desire for simplicity—think childhood, the outdoors, and even plainer packaging—will succeed.
For Landor’s Trend watch 2017, the company analyzed innovations, consumer behavior, the changing market, and attitudes from myriad industries and global locales to determine the top trends for the coming year.
Consumers want more personalized experiences and more opportunities to interact. Brands will need to be agile and adapt to changing demands, but they will also have to go a step further, says Stuart Sproule, Landor’s president of North America. Brand managers will have to be less rigid and more open to input from both internal and external audiences.
“While all of the trends Landor identified will shape brands in 2017, chatbots, minimalist package design, and kidulting will be among the most visible,” Sproule tells Marketing Daily. “These all reflect recent shifts in consumer behavior that brands can quickly latch on to. For example, chatbots, thanks to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, have become trusted companions for most people. Now a myriad of industries will be looking to adopt artificial intelligence not just with customers, but also with employees, to streamline communications and make it easier to acquire information and take action.”
In 2017, a big change is coming to brand management that will require CEOs, CMOs, and marketing teams to alter how they currently manage their brands, he says.
“Brand managers will orchestrate brands by community, allowing traditional brand marketing constituents, employees, and even passionate consumers to act on behalf of the brand,” Sproule says. “This style of governance enables brand managers to focus on strategic choices that benefit the brand and business rather than solely being ‘brand cops.’"
One highly sought-after demographic, Millennials, are talking openly—whether on Facebook, YouTube, or with friends, parents, and colleagues—about the struggles of being an adult. The result is a wave of cultural discussion around “adulting” and a surge of behavior that rebels against that very notion: “kidulting.”
Unafraid to cut loose and step away from adult responsibilities, Millennial consumers are looking for fun-focused experiences from childhood, and brands are taking notice. Camp Grounded brings the joys of summer camp back to adults, Nintendo has reintroduced its classic NES console, and Netflix has revived cult TV shows like Full House and Gilmore Girls.
“Kidulting refers to a fundamental mindset shift,” Sproule says. “As Millennials are growing up, they’re dealing with new responsibilities (common to previous generations), but in a way that is more communal than in the past.”
Gone are the days when young adults would be quietly discontent about the difficulties of growing up. And that’s where kidulting comes in, Sproule says.
“It creates a balance by counteracting the adult responsibilities Millennials are now dealing with each day,” he says. “It lets them cut loose—not just by participating in a popular activity like playing soccer or taking an art class, as previous generations would have—but by taking that well-known activity and adding a whimsical, creative twist (such as playing bubble soccer). This lets Millennial adults revert back to the carefree joy they felt as kids.”
Marketers will have to understand and appeal to this mentality when speaking to Millennials. This desire for balance—and the unabashed admittance of a need to “check out” from being an adult sometimes—creates a relevant dialogue that brands can become involved in, Sproule says.
“It’s a huge opportunity not just to create new products, services, and experiences, but also to create emotional relevance with consumers by showing that certain brands really get what their Millennial audience is going through,” he adds.