Welcome to 2024. Have you already been bombarded with every person on LinkedIn’s latest and greatest predictions? The blog post titles can practically write themselves at this point. Artificial Intelligence: Everything You Need to Know in 2024, 10 Predictions for MarTech in 2024, What to Watch for in Social Media in 2024, and our personal favorite (and actual title), What’s Ahead in 2024? The Cookie Cutters May Tell!
Well, here’s some good news. We’re not here to add to the predictive noise by adding our own set of predictions for branding. Nope, we’re not going to do it. And this is why. As best as we can tell, there is a fair degree of unpredictability afoot in almost every important realm–the economic arena, the political atmosphere, the climate, the global stage. Making predictions, though enticing (and popular), feels foolhardy and a little bit inconsequential. So instead, at the head of this new year, we offer you some evergreen branding principles. Some hard-learned truths and tips that ensure that any brand creates resonance, builds trust, and ultimately, grows businesses. We’d put our money on these ahead of any predictions.
1. Find your highest possible ground
When it comes to finding the right altitude for your brand, it’s NEVER wrong to shoot for the stars. It may feel comfortable to stay within your comfort zone (yes, we see that roundabout logic) but if you want to break through, you’ve got to push out and reach higher. What can you say about your brand that is truly unique to you? What is the most elevated way of talking about its benefits to customers beyond the ever-popular “efficiency, speed and confidence”? Can you push it a tad further and still be believable? Seriously, this is your baby—let it soar.
2. Tell the truth, even if it’s ugly
We all have our warts, even our brands. The thing is, warts caked in make-up don’t fool anyone. And neither do your brand’s less appealing features. Find a way to reveal your warts in a truthful, perhaps charming or self-deprecating manner. Your customers will appreciate you not trying to pull the wool over their eyes, and will probably be more inclined to believe what you say about your best features because they’ve come to trust your honesty.
3. Anticipate (and embrace) a dialogue
It’s 2024. It’s a whole new world. When Web 2.0 emerged and enabled people to contribute their voices through social media, brand owners were given the shock of their professional lives. All of a sudden, customers were starting to take control of the narrative. A brand was no longer just what the company said it was, not if somebody disagreed with it. And so began the brand dialogue. Today, more than ever, especially with the advent of AI and an ever more vocal and self-empowered customer base, brands need to not just expect a dialogue, but to create its conditions so that customers feel welcome within the conversation.
4. Make the brand everyone’s business
When your company decides it’s time to refresh your brand, make sure that it’s not just the marketing department that feels implicated. Over the years, we’ve seen countless rebrands happen not just because a company feels like it needs to (re)establish its value proposition to the marketplace, but because it is an organic and systemic way to reinvigorate and realign the company itself. Get Finance, Sales, Customer Success, Operations, Engineering and Product involved—the rewards of making your brand relevant and important to every employee within every function are exponential.
5. Be consistent, and stay the course
A/B testing is great for your product but not really for branding. It’s tempting to try a few things and see what sticks. The problem is, the more messages you have in the market, the greater the risk for confusion or dilution. You really only get one chance to make the impression that’s going to stick, so once you find your highest possible ground (see #1) and everyone is bought in (see #4), go in deep and hard on that brand message. Don’t take your foot off the gas or get distracted. Soon, you’ll know if you’re on the right track.
We’ve got a few more good thoughts up our sleeves but we’ll leave it here for now so that you have time to go and read some Predictions blog posts (we read them too, for laughs). Give us a call if you want to hear more. Emotive Brand is a kickass branding firm that does really good work for brands everywhere.