The quality of a certain product or service means nothing unless it is properly unveiled to the public. Keeping the updates of a certain brand or its competitive advantage within the realm of companies alone jeopardizes this brand’s positioning and share in the market. Bad communication would have a disastrous impact on the perception of this brand by consumers. Hence, there are current communication trends that brands have to follow to properly reveal the intended image to the target audience.
1. Real time content creation and scarcity of time:
The notion of time has gained more importance in the world of business as the competitive cycles kept getting ever fiercer, with complexity on the rise. When talking about scarcity of resources in economics, time has become an integral resource in addition to land, labor, and capital.
The elimination of activities and strategies that waste a client’s time has the potential to become a competitive advantage. Real time and relevant consumption of updated content meet the customers’ expectations. Snapchat and the communication dynamic it creates is a representative example.
2. User generated content (UGC):
User generated content (UGC) has become an important communication and marketing activity. Customers and other stakeholders are participating heavily in some of the brand-building activities. Customers trust peer recommendations more than a company’s sales messaging; hence, companies are adding features on their websites to facilitate users sharing comments or running competitions to engage audiences.
3. Brands are developing a sense of citizenship:
Companies are assuming a role in brand activism on issues related to sustainability, especially in matters related to environmental and social factors. 2015 was a significant year in terms of advancing the global sustainable development agenda following the launch of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement.
4. Brands are developing a personable approach:
Corporate communicators are loosening up a bit and showing their more authentic and realistic side. Live social media chats with company leaders help in showing a more personable approach to communications.
It is not weird to check into a certain restaurant or mall and get greeted by the brand itself afterward or have your name mentioned by the brand in a reply to a comment you have written about the extent of satisfaction after a dining experience or using a certain product.
5. A shift from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to Customer Managed Relationships (CMR):
According to Markus Kramer of brandsaffairs.com, CRM has become a cold, dry and rigid (transactional) science. He adds that for good practice on how relationshipmarketing works well with a very consistent and high degree of integrity and a real humanistic approach to the “relationship” aspects, one ought to take a look at the high-end luxury sector. Brands such as Aston Martin or Patek Philippe are mastering the process of genuinely bonding with customers. So are Apple and Harley-Davidson.
Marketers are asked to re-think relationship marketing. CRM is becoming a model of the past, CMR (Customer Managed Relationships) is the new paradigm. Brands must rework their segmentation models and the way they interact and communicate with their customers accordingly; they need to start the journey with the customers and not the other way around.
6. Purpose, real values and humanizing: Branding inside out:
According to Ernst and Young, appearance alone is superficial and will increasingly be recognized as such. Purpose driven brands are becoming increasingly able to demonstrate higher returns, more loyalty, and repeated business. Brands are embracing the concept of CSR and even looking beyond it. So both the outside and the inside of brands will need to be meaningful and led by shared and aligned purposes. Forward-thinking brands that add meaning to their customers’ lives will occupy more space in their consumers’ minds. Millennials and Gen Z cohorts find this approach of doing business more meaningful. Developing user-friendly interfaces has become even more important starting 2016. This can be referred to as humanizing.
Humanizing is about smarter cities, reducing complexity, innovation, and technological tools adapted to humans rather than the other way around. On the brand and product side, Apple and Bang & Olufsen are among the leaders of the humanization agenda. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for simple, beautiful, and reliable products. Brands, according to Kramer, should keep on improving what they have innovated until it is also fully humanized.