Over the next few weeks we’ll be providing an overview of the top 2020 brand trends. Each trend will be added to this article until we have a full set. Visit again to see the others as they come out.
Everything will seem to be in motion! Not only will motion storytelling be clever and branded in terms of graphics we will see a focus on brands developing an ownable motion style that is distinguishable from the competition. Video and animations will be emotive and understandable with and without sound. Sharable gifs will be ubiquitous and created for all occasions, holidays and product releases.
2020 will see a rise and focus on brands communicating through all of our senses. Audio will be prominent as more resources are poured into developing memorable and pleasant sound effects, music and AI voices. Voice training for podcasts will also likely be taken more seriously as the medium has grown in prominence and popularity.
Tactile, immersive environments will further distinguish from the digital space as stores and offices become an experience. We will see more of our olfactory senses targeted as scents are pumped through these spaces. Haptics will be increasingly incorporated into products for enhanced user experience.
Brands will incorporate technology through product, service or experience to beef up customer interaction and enhance their competitive edge. Trademarked algorithms, smart objects and virtual assistants will be ever more responsive offering immediate, personalized solutions. Through VR, AR, or other ingenuity, companies will demonstrate a realistic product experience to prove fit and value to their customer before purchase. We will be sure to see more from facial recognition, wearables, bots and interactive kiosks. The use of tech will vary depending on the needs of the business and the creativity in which they can be implemented, but it will be sure to proliferate into its own budgeted touchpoint.
Two trends that are continuing to grow for social media will be online communities and customer service. As a pushback to online bullying and unhealthy social media habits, we’ll see users drawn to healthier online consumption patterns. For brands, this offers opportunities to not only communicate outwardly with consumers, but to host forums and online communities where users can interact with each other, fostering respectful conversations around common interests.
Outside of the forums, social media channels will continue to grow as a space for customer service as users find it an easily accessible way to get answers through a direct response. Brands will benefit as considerate replies show authenticity and encourage trust while reaching large audiences.
From production value to the trustworthiness of players on screen, the trend is to be real. In places that should feel of the moment, like how-to videos and behind-the-scene segments, low-fidelity production will be the prevailing choice. More iPhone footage will show up especially across social media. We also see a move towards opening up about how products and decisions are made.
As authenticity fits within this category, it should be top of mind for brands to make sure they are messaging and living their values consistently across all touchpoints.
In a time of Facetune and a copycat brand culture where everything and everyone is starting to look homogenized, there is a swing in the opposite direction of embracing differences and featuring real people with imperfections. People want to feel good in their own skin and see others like themselves in the ads of the products that they buy. Those brands that understand this trend not only feature people across the ethnic spectrum, but are diversifying with age, disabilities and weight. This also includes going against traditional notions of beauty and adopting photoshop-free images that show scars, blemishes and cellulite.
Products are evolving, too. They are being designed for all people as we’ve seen in a variety of nude skin tone shades and clothing fits.
Personalization and adaptability proliferate as they move beyond services and advertising to the products themselves or the curation thereof. Customer data, predictive technology and compatibility with smart devices and activity trackers have made it possible to accommodate the customer’s daily habits, preferences and physical traits and to present an adjusted formula to fit their exact needs.
From clothing, to creams, to shampoos, to vitamins, brands are moving to individually modify for climate, air quality and allergens, amongst others.Where the product doesn’t change, we’ll see personalization in the experience or packaging.
Online brands will find this trend especially vital as they try to replicate the in-store expertise of a clerk that knows both the product and the customer.However, all brands will look for unique ways to adapt their product and use personalization, as it is a prominent point of differentiation.
VR and AR will continue to break new ground as smart phone functionality and inexpensive cardboard devices have made the technology increasingly accessible to the public.
Brands will find success using the technology as a customer conversion tool that drives foot-traffic to stores, creates interaction with brands, and helps customers with purchasing decisions. Those that can simulate a realistic product experience, and show pre-purchase fit and value, will increase basket sizes and reduce returns. The new novel shopping experience will also see graphics highlighting additional information about store items and providing inside wayfinding.
AR will continue to be woven into the customer’s personal narrative to create sharable social media content. Following the lead of charities and medical researchers, we’ll see companies start to use VR to increase empathy and illicit emotion. For brands, the mastery of VR and AR will lie in connecting the online and offline worlds.