As 2022 keeps unfolding it is time to
think about how brands can tap into new post-pandemic consumer trends, rethinking their branding and
For better or worse, the pandemic prompted
us to hit the reset button and reconsider our priorities, align our sense of purpose and be more
purposeful in everything we do, finding out what ultimately makes us happy!
Because if there’s one thing the
challenges of these last two years brought to the fore is that time is too short and fragile to be
wasted. And we are increasingly seeing this mentality expressed in consumer attitudes, as in the
seismic changes in the collective mindset.
For brands and marketers, this is a great
opportunity to support consumers' pursuit of purpose and to adapt the way they speak to their
audience: encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone and nurturing a sense of limitless
That is why in this article we are going
to address how the pandemic has changed the way we build brands, covering the top branding trends on
the rise in 2022 and sharing some valuable insights on how brands can stay relevant and be purposeful
It’s a "brand new us"
WHAT IS BRANDING AND WHY IS IT
First things first: to better comprehend
the importance of rethinking branding in the post-covid scenario, let’s quickly give a clearer
idea of what branding means.
As we previously highlighted, branding is much more than a name and a logo. Branding
is about how people perceive your business - so they will choose your brand time and
Essentially, it is the way your product or
service lives in the hearts and minds of your customer.
And although some people might think
branding and marketing are the same, they are not.
Branding is about defining who you are as
a company and showing and acting according to it, while marketing is the actions you take to connect
with your customers and get them to buy your products or services!
In a nutshell: branding is what you are,
and marketing is what you do.
They are both crucial to the success of
your business and work in sync with one another! Yet, branding is what makes your marketing unique and
And it's important because, in this
saturated world of marketing with a lot of noise, compelling branding is what can make your business
stand out from the competition and create a memorable impression on your consumers. When done right,
branding has the power to influence, inspire and create change.
NEW CONSUMERS' MENTALITY IN
One of the first steps in building a solid
brand is knowing your audience and anticipating their wants and needs. Don’t do the mistake of skipping this step.
That is why, before we get into the new
trends in branding, we need to understand how consumer behavior has been changing in these last few
The fact is, your target audience has
dramatically changed, even if you haven't.
The pandemic has affected the lifestyles
and motivations of many people and led to new ways to buy goods and consume information.
Let us get into it! These are some good
pointers for the new consumers' mentality:
- The Pursuit of Purpose and Fulfilment in
Life: according to the shared stats in
this Forbes article “50% of consumers say the
pandemic caused them to rethink their purpose and priorities. (Accenture)”. Following these
times of greater insecurity and strict rules, people are demanding more from life than just making
a living. The pursuit of purpose has kickstarted again, this time with fulfillment and adventure
at its core! People feel confident to challenge the status quo and pursue what truly brings them
joy, to life to the fullest. And want to connect with brands that reflect those values!
- Treating Oneself and Indulging as a Top
Priority: also, the Zeitgeist research from GWI shows that treating oneself and indulging is among
the top three things that have become more important to consumers in the past year, behind saving
money and spending time with loved ones. This might require moving to a more settled and calmer
suburban or rural setting, or just investing in more me-time and taking care of their physical and
mental wellbeing. So, brands should also be addressing these needs and sympathizing with
- Feeling More Empowered than
Before: another remarkable
change that has been evolving is the emergence of the quantified
self and how digital is
empowering consumers in a way never seen before! Through new technologies and digital apps, we can
now track everything we do, from our food to our sleep, our exercise, and even far beyond our
activities! We can also track where our waste ends up, the supply chain of the food we buy, the
content our child is allowed to watch online, and thousands of other examples. This means that
consumers are increasingly savvier about what works or not, and more equipped with the tools to
evaluate brands, with a direct impact on customer loyalty and engagement.
- Changing Behaviors and
Expectations: 75% of
consumers say the pandemic will drive long-term changes in their behavior. (Forrester)”,
this stat is also from Forbes
article and we are already
seeing it happen in regard to what consumers expect and value. Customers know brands have the
technology tools to automate and personalize many aspects of customer service, and they expect it
to happen. They have realized the convenience of digital channels and now expect them to work
smoothly for all brands. They also seek more self-service models with the help of knowledge
centers, bots, or communities. Just look at all this data: “93% of customer service teams
say customers have higher expectations than ever before. (Hubspot)”, plus “58% of
consumers say their customer service expectations are higher than they were a year ago.
(TalkDesk)”. There is no way to ignore it! Either brands can blindly continue the same
approach to customer service or find new ways to adapt and evolve to their expectations. What is
going to be?
BRANDING TRENDS TO WATCH FOR IN 2022
So, how exactly does this change in
consumers' behavior will impact the way we build brands, in this so-called new normal that still
carries a lot of new challenges and uncertainties?
For sure, at least we should be focusing on
what we do know already changed and on what we can do better to adapt for the future.
Like everyone else, it is time for
businesses and brands to realign their routes, rethink priorities and be more purposeful in what they
do, always with their new customers in mind.
Here are the top 8 branding trends you
surely do not want to miss this year:
- Nurture Consumers’ New
Aspirations: one of the best ways
for brands and marketers to stand out is to align their messaging and tone with this new
“You only live once” (YOLO) motto - which some of the biggest brands, like Lexus in
its “No ceiling” campaign that inspires people to “let go of the wheel” or
PlayStation in its “Play has no limits” ad that presents new horizons in the virtual
world, are already doing. Not only should brands take advantage of and encourage the desire to
explore new horizons, but they should also nurture the modern sense of hedonism. And support an
improved lifestyle, where wellness and mental health take center
stage, considering how
their brand activities can become a part of healthy me-time and effectively valuing their
- Keep a Pulse on What Customers
Want: these days, as consumers, we are used to
getting what we want when we want. With the sudden changes we all recently had to face, we heard a
lot about the importance of agility and innovation in companies. And businesses and brands indeed
have to keep up with this wind of transformation, striving to be innovative and keep on top of the
latest trends! Of course, they can only do it successfully with a data-driven branding strategy,
navigating through the vast amounts of data companies and consumers create every day and taking
advantage of analytics and business intelligence tools to make sense of it. The insights you glean will allow you
to make better branding decisions.
- Holistic Cross Channels Experience: Consumers' expectations were already on the rise
before Covid-19, and long gone are the days when businesses only had to exist in brick and mortar.
Now, every company should give their customers a chance to experience their brand through as many
channels as possible. Because we are not competing with our competitors anymore, we are competing
with the last best experience our customers had. So, it’s not enough to have a presence,
with a website and on social networks. Marketers must invest in driving engagement mapped to
customer needs. And this doesn’t mean the future is entirely digital: “In 2022, we
expect to see more hybrid marketing strategies that still allow audiences to embrace virtual
events and conferences, as well as physical opportunities”, and experiential marketing
campaigns will “enable audiences to step into an immersive experience that is often in a
physical place or via an AR/VR platform”, a Hubspot article foresees. This way, online and offline are
starting to come together to offer a holistic sense of brands, as some of the most persuasive
sensations can only be experienced in the physical world.
- Bet on Creative Interactive
expression through social media is on the rise and customers want a more
responsive experience from the businesses they follow. They want to influence and contribute to
the content they consume. And only brands that understand that marketing is a two-way street will
be able to capture their audience’s attention and succeed in the current landscape!
Thus, inspiring user-generated content
is what you should double down on this year, turning your audience into your influencers!
Samsung’s “Unfold your world” campaign is a great example of this.
- Reimagine Community Building: as pandemic led individuals to come together as a
community and help each other out in difficult times, brands should not underestimate the power of
building and nurturing strong communities that recognize their values and vision. But we can start
reimagining community’ building to expand to new formats that embrace VR and immersive
worlds. Consider the endless possibilities this brings for consumers, brands, and wider societal
issues! To have a space to connect with and understand consumers even more deeply by offering them
experiences you could not possibly give in the real world, such as this wonderful example of giving a disabled kid a pair of superpower
- Stand for Something
past years have brought social issues to the forefront, and brands that don't recognize that
their customers are influenced by societal concerns are at risk of being left behind. Consumers
are more aware of the "social consciousness" of brands, which brings a new approach to
branding: if before brands should stand behind great products, now they should also stand behind
great values. They need to stand for something, adopt more ethical business processes and
implement sustainable initiatives if they want to retain their customers' trust and
- Nostalgic Appeal and
Authenticity: “Remember the time when…?” has been
often repeated by people missing the times before the pandemic banged in. It usually takes us back
to a period of happy memories and that is why the power of nostalgia creates an opportunity for
brands to help their customers travel back in time to those cherished
moments. Besides, new audiences that are trying to close the recent
chapter on the curated self and its unreal standards of perfection, are
more likely to want companies to be authentic and
go back to a more genuine,
natural, and spontaneous aesthetic and tone of voice, reminiscing previous times. It's important for brands “to stay authentic
and not overdo it” to convey credibility and trust, as pointed out in another Forbes article.
- Unpretentious Branding and
Partnerships: Consumers are
starting to get sick of all the ads and pieces of meaningless information being shoved into their
faces every minute. To counter the constant onslaught of promotional content to which consumers
are subject, brands have started to find ways to market themselves without relying on traditional
brand elements and visual identity. Sometimes without even showing their brand names or logos,
leveraging their unique value propositions and focusing on providing valuable resources and
information that their target audience craves. In the same way, several brands are partnering with other like-minded
brands to collaborate on common
causes and genuinely contribute to adding value to others.
TAKING BACK CONTROL WITH PURPOSEFUL BRANDING
While the chaos from these years has made
it increasingly difficult to predict what is in store, it is possible for brands to take back control.
More than that, it can be an exciting opportunity to rewrite their future and put things back together
in a way they haven’t done before!
In a world of increased scrutiny, what all
brand stakeholders demand more than ever is authenticity, meaning, and purpose! So, bring your
customers along with you and empower them to participate in your vision, help create their own
experiences and become your biggest ambassadors!
Brands have an unparalleled opportunity to
“get rid of bullshit” and stop bombarding the right clients with the wrong message. To use
data as their fuel, yet use the power of storytelling to drive meaningful human connections - in a
perfect blend of science and art!
Customers are not separate from the
company anymore. They are here for the products and experiences they love, so we should be putting
them at the center of all decisions, only communicating when relevant to them.
This is about creating your brand’s
best customer experience, by remembering that old saying of “being more, by doing less”.
With a renewed focus on betterment, more intuitive technologies, new products, and services that
prioritize the customer perspective above everything!
Now is also a great time to try out new
things, reinventing companies and brands where necessary. To rethink branding and marketing strategies
as a way to stay relevant and cope with the changing consumer behavior.
As 2022 is promising to be a roller
coaster, the only way for brands to survive in this ever-changing world is to regain control with
purposeful, lasting branding!
Netwired team can
seat right next to you,
offering branding & marketing services with an intentional and mindful approach for long-term
impact. Are you ready to take the ride?