What will it take to be a successful brand in 2014? How will this differ from 2013 needs? With all of the 2014 predictions offered at this time of year, we would rather bring a taste of what the best of the best will need to do in order to bring brand success in 2014.
Offer an Unbeatable Product or Service, Deliver it Effectively
If you want the base level success of any brand, look no further than the 4 P’s: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. Any day of any month of any year, effective delivery of your brand and offering is tantamount to success. In addition to this, however, is another P: Personalization. Customers are now looking for more than just rational processes such as quality, price, and customer service. Now more than ever, consumers are making emotionally driven decisions based on new criteria.
In order to be a strong brand, one must create close bonds with consumers and differentiate itself as a viable alternative to anything else on the market. A great example of the emotional connection that a brand can create is that of the Apple “Designed by Apple in California” Commercial released earlier in 2013.
As the economy becomes more collaborative, marketing and branding professionals will need to find the best ways to find new ways to work together and avoid disruption. The speed of information is increasing, and professionals will need to adapt or fall behind.
In this collaboration, multiple media will need to be considered; including those of cross-channel marketing, crowdsourcing, and inter-department communication. An example of successful collaboration between consumers and companies, Airbnb (Crowdsourced Alternative to Hotels) reached over 10 million bookings in 500 thousand properties.
Combine In-Store and Online Retail
How are retailers reacting to the showrooming phenomenon? As potential customers become more connected, companies have to react to potentially lost sales. If this hasn’t been cause for concern in years past, 2014 will be the year that brands must adapt or fail.
The purchasing process, both online and in-store needs to become more and more interactive; allowing users to experience all of the sensory reactions, sometimes without even experiencing the product first-hand. For example, Wal-Mart, Nike, and Ikea have beaten showrooming by offering increased demonstrations, interactive facilities, and more relatable product information.
If you haven’t heard it enough, content is king; and contrary to popular belief of certain brands this does not mean creating keyword laden content that is in no way engaging, interactive, or useful. 2014 will be the year of personalization; and this will be the prime opportunity for brands to engage their customer base by seeking user-generated content, creating unique user experiences, and opening the doors to community engagement. Just remember, if you build it, they will come.
Take for instance, the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” Campaign. It tells a story that generates deep thought in potential consumers. It is relatable, shareable, and perfectly planned.
Excel in Customer-Focused Technology
Half of all social interaction happens using mobile devices. Subscription to cable is decreasing. The future includes both a lack of keyboards and screens. How are you going to adapt?
As mobile technology becomes the predominant means of communication, companies need to begin focusing on anything from location-based technology to mobile-friendly ads. In addition to this, companies will need to focus on strategies that match the consumer need and desire for streaming and on-demand media. As customized and instantaneous delivery is becoming a need for customers, companies will adapt and fit the needs.
Understand Data and Use It
If big data wasn’t one of the key buzzwords in 2013, it should have at least made the list. Marketers are finding new way to manage insights, collect information, and monitor said information. The key to successful data management is understanding. This will allow marketers to manage consumer and business consumption and anticipate what will happen in the world. Furthermore, with great amounts of information comes great responsibility. All information needs to be collected ethically and measurably, in order to prevent public relations data breach nightmares.
Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility
Another key word that has gained use in the past years is that of Corporate Social Responsibility. Environmentally, socially, or financially; potential customers will associate with brands with which they feel share values. This goes back to the focus on building relationships with customers. If you find that people who associate with you or a competitor support a general cause or group, it may be best for your brand to associate with such causes. From Nike researching sustainable textiles to Coca-Cola improving water quality for third-world countries and emerging markets, companies are basing brand success on what matters to the world and their followers.
Align, Plan, and Conquer
Tie everything together. Plan it correctly, manage the information flow, and align your brand goals with that of your company’s mission and vision. Considering the fact that there is an increase in need for content, creativity, and management; it is important for marketing teams to align themselves for the purpose of clear and consistent information flow. With the fact that everything is so instantaneous, your brand will succeed if you embrace the power of collaboration for performance.
What do You Need to Know to be Successful in 2014?
Branding, as with any marketing plan, is a touchy subject that is run most efficiently through collaboration and planning. As you enter 2014, where does your brand stand? What strengths and assets do you have that you can leverage to your advantage? How will you plan for not only the upcoming year, but 5 years down the line?
We offer a complimentary Brand Audit, answering the aforementioned questions and allowing you the information needed to bring increased performance and brand value. Contact Chief Branding Officer Neil Brown to see how you can ensure a bright branding future.
Please share this information with associates, bookmark, and do comment on your brand priorities for 2014.