Martian Productions is all about Branding, Marketing and Promotions. We know the importance of staying competitive and continuing to keep our brand in the public eye. When I see an ad for something that catches my interest, No I may not run out and buy it right away. But if I click it and watch their video, then their marketing worked. The idea is to keep your brand and image in the minds of those who will either purchase, promote or advocate.

When thinking about your brand in the new year, we have to ponder which marketing trends to follow and what to expect from your competitors.

Consumer Demand Promotes the Trend

In case you haven’t noticed, the market is flooded these days. It wasn’t that long ago that there were only a few competing brands and marketing had a budget that would drain the bank – quick.

Today, we have too much competition, which is a good and a bad thing. Consumers are looking for personal experiences, social causes and ways to make a difference with their purchasing habits. A few years ago I made the decision to try and only purchase American made products. Spoiler > It’s not really possible. But what did come out of my experiment is a new “favorite brand”. I found New Balance shoes which became the only casual shoe I wear. The point being that I started with a cause that peaked my interest. The experiment failed, but I found a new brand that I love and I’m loyal to.

What does this mean for you? Find ways to make yourself stand out and become more appealing to your target audience. Don’t just brand. Brand with cause.

Watch for these trends to become highly significant in the new year:

Two-Way Communication
Those were the days when the average consumer would experience your branding and marketing messages, then made their purchasing decisions without any brand interaction. Today consumers are looking for more personal interactions, including the communications that lead to how and where they spend their money. Martian Productions engages with our customers online via live chat, through phone, social media channels, and in email marketing. But we don’t just post. We look for feedback and invite consumer interaction. We want our face to be real, because it is. Personal interaction with a brand makes a difference for me as a consumer so it makes sense to follow this trend with our prospects and clients. Be sure your brand has a way for consumers to interact easily. Remember we live in the “microwave oven society”.  We want it in 60 seconds or less, or we move on and the opportunity is lost. Social media is growing more and more interactive each day. Your customers who interact on social media want to communicate rather than simply receive messages. Your social media channels should be a place where your ideal customers can go to express themselves and to be heard.

The Customer Experience
Today’s consumer has come to expect an “experience” with every purchase—not just a product. If you ponder some of the most influential brands today, you’ll notice that it’s as much about the experience as it is the product. Brands like Apple, Uniqlo and Bloomingdales to name a few, have an experience that is as much a part of the decision making process as the product you’re buying. I can buy a MacBook from other online retailers, Best Buy, or any authorized dealer and sometimes at discounted pricing. But I always go to to The Apple Store because I like the experience and it makes me feel more comfortable about my purchase. Product + Positive Experience = Success

Human Psychology: There’s a growing need for branding and marketing professionals to have a solid grasp of human psychology and how it works to attract people to their brand.  Understanding the consumer or your target customer is essential to your marketing. Ponder this: Think of what it would be like to watch your favorite movie with dialogue only. Ask yourself these two questions. What emotion makes your prospect want to move away from the pain your brand relieves? And what emotion makes them want to pursue the solution you’re offering?

Positioning: You’ve already decided what’s unique about your brand and used that to position it with distinctiveness in the market; however, maybe you’ve been shying away from a different type of positioning: the kind where you ‘take a position’ on a current event, political figure, global issue, etc. When you choose a position (express an opinion) that fully aligns with your brand’s corporate values, no negative repercussions will be felt. There will be people on you current list who choose to distance themselves from your brand. However, here’s the question: if they don’t share your corporate values, did you want them in your client family anyway?

Following branding trends (and implementing those that will advance your strategy and grow your brand) will not only help your brand to compete head-to-head, it will keep you abreast of recent happenings (so you can speak intelligently about ‘the latest’ with your audience), and make you more able to respond to trend shifts with maximum agility.

Most (if not all) of these trends will affect the viability of your brand in 2018. Which one will you incorporate first? Which ones have you already integrated? And which ones frighten you?