As the decade winds down to a close, we’re taking a look at the most important trends affecting your business, brand, and culture heading into 2020. First up, we’re examining all things content strategy: tone, technology, and personalization. Let’s do it.
Mobile > Everything Else
The simple truth is if it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work. There can be no compromise when it comes to the look, feel, or content strategy of the mobile experience—considering it is the dominant experience. In 2020, even more emphasis will be placed on increasing mobile user interaction. If your content is not custom-fit to the screen, you will lose out. Call-to-action buttons, for instance, need to be intuitive and easy to tap. Subject lines should be short and punchy so they fit on the screen. Animations need to auto-play or be optimized in another format. The list goes on.
No Sound? No Problem
In the infinite scroll of the internet, your precious, clever content needs to be accessible in the least forgiving way imaginable: viewed quickly, on mute, in a sea of other content. It’s been reported that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Make sure your videos are embedded with captioning and conveying your message and the emotional impact you’re seeking—even without sound.
Use Your Voice
As we have mentioned before, voice and audio mediums are leading a sonic revolution. If you want your content to be discoverable in this new era, you must consider how your brand feels with no visual support. That might be in the form of a podcast, creating audio versions of your blogs, or simply optimizing your SEO for vocal assistants.
Speak Like a Human
We know that by 2020, 50% of search queries will be voice searches. Google’s Hummingbird update encourages conversational, long-tail semantic phrases rather than using typical keyword phrases. So, instead of searching for “top marketing automation software,” one might ask, “What are the top marketing automation solutions for small business owners?” To cater to this changing user behavior, brands need to alter their content strategy.
Let Robots Do the Rote Stuff
Chatbots are no longer considered a new trend in the marketing industry. This once-clunky tool has proven itself to be vital for a surprising number of industries. AI is helping brands to be more interactive when it comes to engaging customers, automating rote tasks, freeing up time for higher-level thinking, and paving the way for conversational marketing that allows brands to guide users in their buyer journey. Just look at our work with Moveworks.
Think Outside Department Lines
Content strategy begins with marketing, but it should never end there. If every department uses marketing’s content, why not bring in those other minds to diversify the thinking? As an agency, our best work comes when we ignore department lines and fuse the best of our ideas together. If you create materials for sales without ever consulting your sales department, you’re doing it wrong. Engaging and nurturing the ideas of all the stakeholders is how you craft content people actually use.
Have a Heart
Always remember: people don’t need brands, brands need people. You need to build authentic, personal relationships with customers rather than just trying to sell to them. If your content doesn’t accurately reflect your brand’s voice, your mission, or the specific value you hope to bring your target audiences, you might as well not create it in the first place. No matter the year, authenticity and personalization are always on-trend. The numbers speak for themselves:
- 86% of consumers say that authenticity is a key differentiator that leads to a purchasing decision.
- 73% of consumers would pay more for a product if the company behind it promises transparency.
- 94% of consumers say they would remain loyal to a brand that provides complete transparency.
- In a survey of 1,000 people, 90% remarked that they found personalization appealing.
- 80% admitted they’d be more likely to give their business to a company that offered them a personalized experience.
While some branding trends are abandoned as fast as they appear, leading with a social conscience is evergreen. Today, consumers want to believe that companies care about the same causes they do. According to the 2018 Edelman Earned Brand report, 64% of consumers worldwide are “belief-driven buyers.” Modern brands need to demonstrate that they put people before profit to increase trust and loyalty.
Any Reality but This One
In recent years, both AR and VR have become massively popular. In 2020, AR is expected to surpass VR in popularity, despite VR’s early lead. Already, many major companies are making use of AR. Ikea, for example, has an app that allows users to visualize what a piece of furniture would look like in their home before making a purchase. How can you leverage AR to remove doubt or create desire in your customer?
Do It Live
Digital Marketing World has predicted that by 2021, 13% of all internet traffic will consist of live video. And that is just one chunk of the whole video gamut. With almost every major social media platform now supporting live video streaming, it is only expected to soar in 2020. As it continues to rise in popularity, live video or podcasts is your chance to let new customers see your business in action or learn from your expertise live and direct.
More 2020 Trends
In the coming weeks, we will be taking a look at employer branding, culture, design, and many other trends. Keep your eyes here for the latest and greatest in all things 2020.
Emotive Brand is brand strategy and design agency in Oakland, California.