Branding is a central part of business. For hundreds of years, companies have developed names, symbols, terms, and other factors to distinguish themselves from their competition, and with hundreds of millions of companies worldwide today, branding has never been more important.
As society soars into 2024 with trends and values evolving every day, let’s review what’s new and likely here to stay. Here are the biggest ways in which branding changed in 2023.
Why Branding Evolution Matters
A brand represents the heart of a company. It communicates to the wider community (potential customers and competitors) who the company is, its values, and why its purpose matters. Indeed, a brand goes as far as intrinsically telling the story of a company, which is far more vital than many people realize.
Stories are core to who we are as humans. Stories are how we pass on information and memories; we naturally view our lives and the world through a narrative lens. Stories are, therefore, one of the most effective ways to inspire brand loyalty, connecting individuals to a company and vice versa. If the brand and story of a company are relatable, customers are more likely to work with them.
Some of society’s values evolve over time, becoming more or less important based on our lived experiences. This is a good thing, and it is natural, but it’s important that businesses and their branding also evolve in tandem. The synergistic relationship between individuals and their values to a company and its brand is a key crossroad – how brands evolved in 2023 gives valuable insight for value-driven business decision-making.
Climate change has had a profound impact on society. Now more than ever, people are considering their lifestyle and how it contributes to better or worse environmental health. This might mean more recycling and less waste, but it also includes conscious decisions regarding the companies people work with. These companies are practically an extension of an individual’s lifestyle and habits, and people are aligning themselves accordingly, their business choice essentially a statement of their beliefs.
How, in practice, can sustainability be incorporated into a company’s brand? This is obviously the frontier of current marketing strategy, but some of the most common ways in which companies have incorporated sustainability into their brand are:
- Transition to renewable resources for the development of their products and services; lower carbon footprint of supply chain
- Linking financial success to sustainable objectives (ex, a percentage of profit invested in sustainability and environmental programs)
- Brand presentation on renewable or sustainable products such as employee uniforms, affiliated merchandise, etc.
Branding is evolving in more than one way at the community level. Companies are becoming more aware of the diversity of their customers’ backgrounds and the benefits of representing every person. Striving for equality is a theme that runs broadly throughout society, and linking a business to this positive social evolution is becoming a standard for successful branding.
For example, a company may:
- Increase accessibility to people with disabilities.
- Expand employee access to company-branded equipment, supplies, uniforms, welcome kits, and products.
- Promote diversity in brand representation through up-to-date marketing practices that incorporate people of different backgrounds.
- Increase transparency in their operations, such as hiring criteria.
- Evolve their values to align more broadly with various people from different regions of the world.
Humanizing and Personalizing Branding
Branding is about differentiating oneself from competitors while relating to a customer base. At scale, brands have to stand out in a crowd of hundreds of millions; therefore, the evolution of branding leads companies to lean into what makes them unique. Companies must refine their brand according to the specific humanizing values bound to their purpose, thus defining a successful niche.
Brands have also evolved to be more personalized than ever before. Marketing can now create and deliver tailored impressions to individual customers in their outreach, connecting with people through the means that are most likely to inspire action. Customizable profiles, personalized product recommendations, and data-driven brand placement create a far more intimate experience between a customer and a brand.
Companies are now using influencer marketing in their branding evolution to continue deepening their relationship with their customers. Micro-celebrities can have smaller but highly engaged and loyal communities; brands collaborate with these influencers to expand their following and brand awareness more broadly. Due to influencers’ abilities to create and retain a more personal connection to their followers, companies can leverage their credibility, leading to higher trust and support within a social group or niche.
Branding has evolved in 2023 to include more influencer marketing by:
- Developing relationships through social media
- Investing in branded items to be gifted to influencers
- Providing discounts to influencer communities
The Bottom Line
With all the above in mind, don’t forget that society is constantly changing, evolving, and never static. The way branding has evolved over 2023 is due to the collective experiences and growth that society has undergone, and it will continue to evolve in 2024 in new and old ways.
The bottom line is that a company’s brand will be most successful when connecting to the world around them. To help develop your company’s brand or realize your own ideas, get started immediately by contacting the branding experts at Accent Branding. 2023’s trends are here, but our professional team is already looking toward 2024; connect your brand to the present today!Back To Blog