Influential Branding Trends of 2017
As 2017 comes to a close, we are taking a half-nostalgic, half-calculated look at the year’s biggest branding trends. As we shift into the increasingly digital world of branding, we are seeing major changes in branding visually, functionally, and strategically. We believe awareness of the top current and past branding trends is essential to anticipating upcoming trends and market demands.
Digital, Digital, Digital
While we are far beyond marketing’s paradigm shift to digital media, we continue to see an increasing importance in the use of image-based social media. With over 800 million active users on Instagram and 2 billion (yes, billion) active users on Facebook, building a brand with a strong social media presence is practically as important as having a decent credit score. Your online reputation is the first thing customers, vendors and potential partners are likely to reference when determining the value and strength of your business. An easy-to-find, visually appealing digital presence is no longer an option for growing brands, but a full-fledged necessity.
Authenticity and Accessibility
A call for transparency from major brands is the seismic result of the mass proliferation of media. We are seeing a digital landscape that looks templated and unoriginal, and consumers are no longer feeding into it. Brands from the likes of Amazon to Man Repeller to Gucci are pioneers for authenticity in branding and marketing. Nowadays, we are seeing product manufacturing processes via Instagram Stories and Facebook Livestream; companies are utilizing customer feedback via social media to improve products and services; brands are no longer veering away from controversial political discourse; and a “better-than-thou,” unattainable attitude no longer attracts consumers to big brands in the way that it used to.
Simplicity is Key
This trend is all encompassing; from logo design and graphics, to packaging and overall customer experience, more and more brands are looking towards subtraction rather than addition to add value. Today’s chaotic, technologically-driven lifestyle calls for easy-to-find packaging with clear messaging to help consumers find relief from busy shelves and cluttered ecommerce.
Color of the Year
Every year, Pantone chooses a color to represent the cultural climate of the coming year. Greenery (15-0343), a “fresh and zesty” yellow-green, was attributed to 2017. Greenery was meant to signify new beginnings, but unintentionally contributed on a much larger scale. We see it across branding, marketing campaigns, social media, as well as store, restaurant and residential design. As we delve deeper into the digital era, nature, foliage and greenery (not just Pantone’s color swatch) provide consumers with a sense of escapism. Check out our thoughts on Pantone’s color selection here.
Most brands now recognize influencer marketing as the industry’s top “go-to” strategy. Last year’s greatest struggle was figuring out how to best leverage influencer marketing and measure it in terms of definable business results. Thankfully, emerging services like Fohr Card and TapInfluence made this easy for businesses in 2017. According to TapInfluence, over 73% of marketers claim they have a budget dedicated to influencer marketing. Influencer Orchestration Network (ION) found that over 71% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase an item based on social media references. As we head into 2018, influencers will remain defining voices in consumer marketing; brands will continue to give advertising control to influential brand advocates; and the line between entertainment and advertising will continue to blur.