Did you know that companies without any branding to connect with their audience had a -18% customer value?

Branding is what creates the unique identity of your company and includes the design elements as well as the personality you portray across online and offline channels. It's what makes your company memorable and drives revenue.

Here's a quick snippet of statistics that show the importance of branding:

  • 77% of consumers purchase items based on their brand name rather than the name of the object itself (eg. iPads, Kleenex, and Scotch Tape).
  • An effective branding strategy can boost click-through rate (CTR) on online ads by 2 - 3 times.
  • Having a great brand can bring down hiring and training expenses by as much as 50%.
  • Brand recognition can be increased by 80% simply by employing a signature color

If you want to succeed in a time when customers are always on, always connected, and endlessly bombarded with brands, it's time to look at the branding trends for 2022/2023.

  • Brand Activism πŸ“’
  • Brand Authenticity And Relatability πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ½
  • The Public CEO πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©β€πŸ’Ό
  • Official Hashtags 🎯
  • Nostalgia Marketing πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ€
  • Minimalism And Symbolism 🎨
  • Adaptable Logos πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
  • Gamified Content πŸ¦Έβ€β™€οΈ
  • Quirky Products And Unique Styles 😺
  • Conclusion πŸ™Œ
  • 1. Brand Activism πŸ“’

    Let's face it, we've been through a rough a few years and the post-pandemic world is still a struggle for many. Tie numerous world events with a decreasing trust in formal institutions and you have the perfect storm that has created a rise in the conscious consumer.

    Potential customers are seeking out brands who raise awareness and take a stand on issues such as sustainability and social justice.

    In fact, 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values and 13% of customers are willing to pay up to 50% more to companies that align with their values or view as making a positive impact in the world.

    If you're a consumer brand hopping onto brand activism to make the most profit, be warned, consumers will give backlash to those found "woke washing". Β They're looking for brands with real empathy who are actively helping to change the current situation.

    A great example is Tommy Hilfiger's socially-driven campaigns. The brand launched a "Moving Forward Together" campaign which aimed to help both fashion and creative industries recover from the pandemic.

    In the initial activation (AW20), it asked consumers to get involved in the digital co-creation of new clothes using left-over fabrics, further backing its commitment to minimize waste while helping those unemployed due to the pandemic.

    Two other brands that have "walked the talk" are Toms, who ran campaigns to end gun violence, promote equality, and raise mental health awareness, and Ben & Jerry's who launched a limited-edition ice-cream (Pecan Resistant) and donated proceeds to Color of Change, Honor the Earth, Women's March, and Neta.

    2. Brand Authenticity And Relatability πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘πŸ½

    Tying in with the above is the search for authentic, relatable brands. Inclusivity and tolerance, diversity, and body positivity are just some of what is reshaping customer expectations in 2022 and 2023.

    With companies expanding their reach across the globe, they'll need to take note of this trend to gain access to people from different cultural, religious, and social backgrounds

    According to stats, 20% of consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they thought the content was too corporate or not authentic enough.

    Some great examples of embodying this trend include:

    • Tapping in to economic inclusivity by offering products at different price points.
    • Offering products that can be used by differently-abled individuals (functional inclusivity).
    • Creating websites with versions that cater to people with special needs. Think more readable fonts for the visually impaired or color palettes aimed at those with colorblindness.
    • Using images and videos that are not heavily edited and show people of different body sizes, skin colors, social backgrounds, and abilities.

    Show people what your brand is about by including "behind the scenes" content such as clips of your manufacturing process, a post and photos of where you source your materials, a page on your website that introduces your employees, etc.

    • Take a step toward customer-driven branding and involve your customers in the development of your products.
    • Collaborate and tap in to more authenticity by investing in micro influencer marketing.

    Marketing campaigns run by Dove, ThirdLove, Fenty Beauty, and MacDonalds are all good examples of how to reconnect with your audience.

    Stats show that customers who are fully connected to a brand are 52% more valuable than satisfied customers, while emotionally connected customers have a staggering 306% higher lifetime value.

    3. The Public CEO πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’ΌπŸ‘©β€πŸ’Ό

    Alongside authenticity and relatability, we see the rise of the public CEO. Why? Because people want to know what a brand stands for and who better to walk the talk than the leaders of that brand.

    Some great examples include:

    • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who reach the masses when he relayed his personal struggles of coping with his son's severe cerebral palsy, how it taught him the value of empathy, and how this empathy is so important to the process of innovation within a company.
    • Marc Benioff, Salesforce's CEO, uses his social media to help promote political policies he is passionate about, including preventing LGBTQ discriminatory legislation, raising awareness of deep-sea mining dangers, and other controversial topics.

    Richard Branson's LinkedIn column with a Q&A that allows anyone to ask Branson questions and gain access to some of the lessons he has learned along his journey as well as the insight he gained and uses today to run his billion dollar brand.

    • Bumble dating app founder and CEO, Whiteny Wolfe Herd, posts inspiration and stories on Instagram, giving us a glimpse into the journey of a startup and even snippets of her personal life.
    • Doug Conant, prior president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company (2011) and current founder and CEO of Conant Leadership, actively shares leadership knowledge and advice, on Twitter and LinkedIn, from his many years of personal experience.

    94% of customers are likely to show loyalty to a brand that offers complete transparency and 89% of shoppers are loyal to brands that share their values.

    Research shows that having a CEO active on social media is incredibly valuable for brand personality, driving brand loyalty, and increasing revenue.

    4. Official Hashtags 🎯

    While hashtags have been around since their debut on Twitter in 2007, they have become increasingly popular and you'll be hard done by trying to find popular social media posts that don't include them.

    Over the last few years we've also observed a rise in official hashtags.

    In fact, according to Omnicore, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded and a post with at least one hashtag sees approximately 12.6% more engagement than those without (2021).

    Here are a few reasons why branded hashtags are so popular:

    • Potential customers can easily find your products and search for further posts about your brands.
    • Existing customers can post about their recent purchases using your official hashtag which extends your reach to their followers.
    • Creating specific hashtags for particular products/services and encouraging their use means you can easily track the product/service impact and review honest feedback.
    • Screenshots of user-generated posts can be shared to your social media pages to encourage other customers to share their experiences and can also increase lead conversions.

    If hashtags are the Dewey Decimal System of online content, then it makes sense to want branded hashtags as a way to easily categorize your content across the web and reach more people on social media platforms.

    5. Nostalgia Marketing πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ€

    If you haven't felt like you're in a time-warp of the 2020's infused with 80's and 90's nostalgia, then you're somehow missing out on one of the biggest pop culture trends.

    Marketing strategies based around invoking old memories and attaching positive feelings to products is not a new concept. We tend to cycle through eras, adding a little something modern each time it comes around.

    Blame it on the exhaustion of trying to keep up with the latest tech and always being "switched on"; consumers are going full vintage.

    However, the current trend is permeating a lot more than just pop culture and fashion, with various tech, food, and media brands incorporating retro design elements and bold, bright color palettes.

    This is predicted to continue with the Y2K style of the late 90's and early 2000's. Try incorporating this trend into an ad campaign using fun, bold colors, quirky fonts, clashing patterns, and nostalgic references.

    Companies who have successfully harnessed the power of nostalgia marketing include giants such as Adobe, Spotify, Adidas, Microsoft, Apple, Pepsi, Nintendo, Buzzfeed, and even the Australian Tourism Board with a clever Crocodile Dundee "reboot" trailer.

    6. Minimalism And Symbolism 🎨

    As far as core brand design goes, the current decluttering and simplifying theme continues. The goal with this design trend is to remove visual clutter, stripping branding back to it's simplest forms.

    Some of the key aspects of this trend include:

    • Providing "visual rest" for customers and clients in a visually cluttered online world.
    • Easy-to-use, customizable elements with fewer colors, simpler typography, and lightweight visuals.
    • Bi-color or monochrome designs using geometric shapes that are easily recognizable, flexible, and understandable.
    • Creating an iconic brand that is simple enough to stand out through the years but not so bland to be boring.
    • Sans Serif returns with designers looking to geometric sans or grotesque Swiss-style typefaces for inspiration.

    95% of top brands use only one or two colors for their logo (Nora Kramer Designs, 2017). Just take a look at companies like Starbucks, Ford, FedEx, Apple, IKEA, and Spotify.

    While the bold colors and retro designs mentioned above are far more fleeting trends, core brand design trends are longer lasting with more subtle shifts taking place.

    This is why companies can utilize the same logo and style for decades, before updating their look, instead of needing an overhaul every year or two.

    Good examples include Google and Airbnb who simply updated their logo to sans-serif, a font more in line with the current minimalist trend.

    When creating your brand, keep this trend in mind as simpler is definitely better.

    7. Adaptable Logos πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ

    As companies expand their reach via multi-channel marketing we see an increasing trend regarding adaptable/ responsive logos.

    These shape-shifting logo designs simply mean that size, complexity, and/or color can be changed to suit different platforms and media.

    An adaptable logo can also include a one-tone logo that can easily be used as a watermark on photos. This is a great idea as visual content continues to take the lead in 2022 and 2023.

    A good example is having your master logo on your website and marketing emails and a simplified version that can be used on your app, social media accounts, and adverts.

    The catch here is to make sure that your logo is not change so much that it isn't instantly recognizable, it still needs consistency no matter what medium your logo is viewed on.

    Companies that have effectively implemented adaptable logos include Disney, Chanel, Nike, Google, and Pinterest.

    8. Gamified Content πŸ¦Έβ€β™€οΈ

    With so much content being posted daily, it's easy to see how regular posts can be swallowed up within minutes and brands can easily be forgotten. Enter gamified content!

    This just means using interactive adverts and posts to better capture the attention of your customers and potential customers.

    Adding gaming elements to content makes it stand out, entertains your readers, and increases memorability.

    To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Michelin launched a scavenger hunt where customers had to find one or more of 2000 plump Michelin Man tire gauges. Once found, the customers had to share an image with the #MichelinQuest hashtag and at the end, the top ten photos would win Michelin tires worth up to $1000 and the most liked image would win a trip to an exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant or a trip to the Formula E electric race car series in Miami or Los Angeles.

    Examples include:

    • Polls and quizzes on topics relevant to your brand, for example, SAP's Road Warrior program.

    This is also a great way to unobtrusively gather user data and also makes your customers feel like they are more involved with your brand.

    • Digital scratch-off tickets within your marketing emails that offers small discounts or free shipping.
    • Loyalty programs. You could reward loyal customers with points which can be used as a discount on their next purchase and even have tiers where customers earn bigger rewards once they spend enough to reach the next tier.
    • Hide and seek games where you hide something (a fun character or symbol) on your website which a customer needs to find in order to unlock a discount.
    • A Wheel of Fortune pop-up on your website or included in your emails where customers can spin and win.
    • Apps that relate to your brand, for example, Duolingo's gamified platform for learning a new language.
    • Real life scavenger hunts that include social media participation.

    9. Quirky Products And Unique Styles 😺

    Creativity is key in a saturated market and the only way to stand out is to take a radically different approach.

    Apple got it right (and still does) long before other brands started catching on to this trend. But now we're talking about more than luxury branding, we're talking about linking your brand to a product that is totally unforgettable.

    Think Cards Against Humanity. Not only did they launch a card game that threw political correctness out the window but their totally tongue-in-cheek advertising captures attention every time.

    As part of a black Friday promotion, this brand asked people for a donation to dig a giant hole and raised more than $100k. To keep it going they said, "as long as the money keeps coming in, we'll keep digging."

    Intrigued yet? Laughing at the pure genius of it? Yes, us too.

    Some other examples include:

    • Nordstrom's $425 "mud caked" jeans. Also available in fake paint if mud isn't your thing.
    • Light Phone, a cellphone that is just a phone. It calls, it texts, and it has a menu of simple tools but no access to social media, news, email, or internet browsers. Their tactic is to encourage reconnecting in real life.
    • Fenty Beauty's ketchup-themed lipgloss Β in collaboration with art collective MSCHF. Six tiny ketchup packets which contained either lipgloss or ketchup which started quite a few conversations on social media.
    • Testamints, normal mints in packaging that contains quotes from the bible. A brilliant way to sell an ordinary product to a niche market.
    • Yoga Joes; essentially little green soldiers but in yoga poses. This company cleverly expanded their range of unique yoga products to include items such as a burrito yoga mat bag.
    • The Twelve South BookBook, a cover to disguise (and protect) your Kindle Paperwhite eReader and make it look and feel like you're reading a classic book.

    Not only are unique products making waves, but also unique content. In fact, stats show that 61% of people are more likely to buy from companies that deliver unique content.

    Conclusion πŸ™Œ

    There you have it - the top branding trends for 2022/2023!

    It's worth remember that trends come and go, so it's best to keep ahead by cleverly mixing the current trends with the core and goals of your unique brand - nobody wants to be rebranding every year or two!