December 12, 2013

2013’s GREAT Moments in Brand Strategy

2013 has been a year of change and transition in the Brand Strategy field. As physical points-of-purchase have become increasingly virtual and the customer assumes ever-greater control of the brand communication process, strategic insight and emotional intelligence have become just as essential to creating a winning brand as the ability to generate revenue and optimize business processes.

Among the shifts we’ve seen in 2013, transaction-based interactions between customers and brands are moving closer to relationship-based interactions, customers and brands are now connected in remarkable new ways, the burgeoning demand for mobile interaction has opened a abundance of brand extension opportunities for any organization, and messaging has taken on a whole new meaning.

As the year draws to close, we’ve compiled a few of the shifts, trends, and developments we’ve found to have the greatest impact on strategic branding.

#1 Image-based Outreach is Encroaching on Text Messaging Turf.
Consumers love imagery. Visual became increasing central to viral marketing campaigns in 2013. Brands are leveraging image-sharing platforms and developing more initiatives that are designed to share their visual content and experiences.

#2 The Marketing Funnel has been Replaced.
Possibly with a pasta strainer. From a marketing perspective, the path to purchase is no longer linear. In 2013 customers rarely entered the funnel at the top and progressed through each stage in an orderly fashion. In fact, the new path is convoluted; punctuated with stops, starts, turns, and decisions along the way. The proliferation of digital channels has made it possible for prospects to move through the buying process in their own way, entering at any point, and no longer are any two routes to a buying decision identical.

#3 Micro-videos are Making an Impact.
Time constraints and attention deficits have ushered in the use of micro-videos to carry brand messages on any digital delivery platform. Videos of less than 20 seconds are enabled by Twitter and Instagram and delivered directly to smartphones, where they’re being shared, re-posted and, most importantly, viewed from beginning to end.

#4 Social Media is the Integration “Glue” that Helps Unify Brand Channels.
This has blurred the lines between brand messaging, brand marketing and digital marketing in 2013. Integrated teams, budgets and campaigns are fast becoming the norm.

#5 Not-So-Big Data.
Data aggregation software and services take the bulk out of all that raw data, and distill it down to meaningful and relevant “summaries.” It’s manageable, it’s useful, and it will only become more so in 2014.

In fact, 2014 is likely to see each of these strategic shifts intensify. As always, if you’d like to talk about how 2014 will impact your brand, we’re here to help.

Do you have any big moments to add? Leave your responses in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

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