Like fashion trends, there are shifts in digital branding. So, are you still wearing that Hawaiian shirt?
The Internet’s look and feel were very different last year. Now you will notice more online platforms have a standard look. Whether it be responsive websites, bigger visuals, or highly specialized content, digital branding trends are changing. To excel, your business must meet and exceed the expectations of consumers.
Are you “fashion forward” with your digital branding? Find out if what you’re doing within the digital space made the list.
Top 5 Digital Branding Trends
Let’s start with number five:
5. Online Reputation
For brands, a social following is almost as important as a credit score. Customers, vendors, and partners may reference your online brand to determine the value and strength of your business. Unfortunately, a brand may suffer if its digital brand does not mirror its bricks-n-mortar or physical brand.
Throughout my time working within the entertainment industry, I gained a strong understanding of how executives viewed talent with social media influence. Particularly, influence is considered when green-lighting a project, choosing cast members, or signing an artist.
If you are a new brand, your online reputation will ultimately add more weight to your negotiation with partners, clients and customers. So, if you are looking to ramp up your digital branding efforts this year, start with your social media engagements and web presence.
4. Going Mobile – B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Device)
Going mobile is certainly not new. Consumers continue to rely on their mobile devices to manage all aspects of their lives. However, brands are starting to incorporate mobile into their businesses–and they are winning!
Take Southwest Airlines for example. They now allow passengers to watch TV on their mobile devices for free. From a consumer’s standpoint, this is wonderful. As a business stakeholder, I thought this was ingenious!
To compete with other airlines that have TV monitors installed on passenger seats, Southwest wanted to offer the same entertainment capabilities without investing millions to retrofit each aircraft. The airline simply leveraged what the majority of their passengers already had while traveling–their mobile devices.
This is a perfect case study of how a brand leverages emerging technology to meet consumer needs while simultaneously saving operational costs. Kudos to Southwest.
As the year goes on, ask yourself what can you do to incorporate mobile into your business model. With more and more businesses going mobile, consumers will naturally expect your brand to follow suit.
3. Social Shopping
Social shopping is fast approaching as Facebook and Twitter have initiated this functionality on their platforms. I included social shopping in this list because we all must begin developing strategies to leverage this functionality.
So, if you have never run a social ad campaign, it’s time to dip that toe in the water. Get practice in now so that when social shopping is adopted across all social platforms, you’ll have valuable experience under your belt.
2. Content Marketing Authenticity
Content marketing is a new craze sweeping the nation. Well, maybe not the nation but definitely the digital marketing industry.
Brands are creating content that informs and entertains customers with the intent to engage and eventually convert them. Although content resonates well with consumers, they still may question its authenticity.
Like Ron Burgundy’s telecast in Anchorman, being too polished does not properly reflect reality. For instance, after the classic line: “You stay classy San Diego” reality hits—hard! What makes this movie funny is the character’s antics performed off-camera. Now that’s “news” I would like to follow.
Moreover, similar to television commercials, consumers are starting to ignore branded content as it may appear too polished or unauthentic. Naturally, most brands are concerned with how their brand is perceived- ensuring that it reflects the principles and mission of the company.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t bode well with consumers and naturally decreases the value in branded content. As a result, brands are starting to develop more authentic content to showcase their products or services.
Remember, people like to do business with people they know and like. The best way to humanize your brand is to be transparent and showcase content that provides a real-world perspective that people can believe.
1. Big Data – Predictive Analytics
To top the list, we have predictive analytics with big data. This is single-handedly the most important trend for 2015 and most CMOs would agree. Marketers are starting to use predictive analytics to fuel their marketing decisions. Gone are the days when we as marketers would use our intuition and prior campaign performance to guide upcoming campaigns. Now CMOs are using big data as a crystal ball to predict what their customers want and need.
In particular, social data provides real-time consumer sentiment that allows you to shift your marketing focus at a moment’s notice. Social media monitoring is a great way to gain deeper consumer insight. Regardless of your business size, there are several tools you can utilize to help analyze consumer behavior and sentiment.
A branding strategy is usually the last priority for many business owners and marketing practitioners I’ve come across. With limited resources, they may focus on optimizing the business operations as it naturally impacts their business goals.
Unfortunately, their digital branding efforts may have a similar effect. Their online reputation, the emerging technology incorporated in business practices, the authenticity of communication, and how well they know consumers will certainly affect their business.
Overall, It’s important to consider these digital branding trends when developing or revamping your marketing strategies.
How have these strategies helped your brand? Would you suggest another trend not included on this list?