Marketers are now preparing for 2019 fiscal brand planning. It helps to have an advance look at trends that will be make-or-break decisions — both for brands and for consumers.
1) Real People, Real Profits: Celebrities are so 2015. Reality stars are not any better. Brands will benefit from leveraging real customers and authentic voices in the marketplace.
2) Augmented Reality Will Become Real: Marketers will use the interactive experience of the real-world environment, enhanced by multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, and olfactory.
3) Don’t Disregard Generation Z: Born hot-wired to technology, Gen Z will make up 30% of the U.S. population, a larger cohort than the baby boomers or millennials. Oh, and augmented reality will appeal! A lot.
4) A More Customer-Centric Mindset Required: How consumers define “value” has already become more complex. That’s only going to increase. Only consumers can tell you why they buy the way they do. Ubiquity will spell trouble for brands.
5) Live Video Is Not An Oxymoron: Live streaming will take video to a new level in a more emotional and intimate way for interviews, personalized outreach, and higher conversion rates.
6) Brand Surrogacy Is Basic: Brands will continue to be surrogates for “value.” Brands will have to work harder to avoid reliance on price points and price tags.
7) Personalization Augments Customization: The availability of enhanced Big Data analyses will make personalized content and outreach more engaging. Think of it as real-time outreach based on real consumer behavior multiplied by how customers really see themselves.
8) Consumers Want More: Consumer expectations have increased by 28% year over year. Brands kept up by just 7%, which leaves a huge gap between what’s desired and what’s delivered. Expectations will only continue to increase.
9) Search Becomes More Visual: Today’s (and tomorrow’s) consumers are more visually literate than ever before. Visual search will enhance the user experience and better meet consumers’ ever-expanding expectations.
10) Don’t Snub Voice Search: More than half of all searches will be via smarter, learning-capable AI voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Home.
11) Engagement and Entertainment Are Different: Entertainment provides amusement. It gets attention, but it doesn’t guarantee sales. Real engagement affects the emotional consumer-to-brand bond and the bottom line. A laugh or a tear isn’t an acceptable ROI for all your efforts.
12) Everything Will Get More Emotional: Successful brands need to first identify what emotional values exist in their category, and then worry about being entertaining. Differentiation has become more dependent on what a brand can offer emotionally.
These trends provide brands the opportunity to break habits, embrace new methods of engagement, and new -- and profitable -- opportunities into their brand planning.