The 5 Branding Changes that Defined 2015

: Doron Goldenberg, Founder and CEO, Firma – The Brandhouse 18  June 2015
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The branding market is currently undergoing one of its most significant transformations in the 21st century. Technology is generating new tools and cultures that affect every aspect of our daily lives. New concepts supplant old ones, old powers crumble and pave the way for new ones. Conversations and connections are changing, as consumers’ knowledge evolves and they seek new tools they can use themselves. This list pinpoints the major branding shifts that came to the forefront in 2015.
Changing language, changing behavior:

01. Emerging Brands
People are against old institutions. International studies show that people worldwide are becoming less and less confident with traditional institutions: healthcare, corporations, government officials, and even religions. The research compared attitudes from people living in the 1970s to the people of today and found that even though many still believe in the benefits of each institution, the only one that still has widespread public approval is the army.

There are many reasons behind this phenomenon, including increasing consumer awareness and disenchantment in the digital age. One interesting theory is that new powers are simply pushing aside the old institutions. New technologies like Skype and WhatsApp are changing long-established channels of communication. In the tourist industry, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and Airbnb have replaced older companies like Lonely Planet, which has confirmed it will be shutting down this year. The travel and guidebook industry has disappeared, and travel agencies are having to start over from scratch. Even public transportation has fundamentally changed the way it operates, with brands like Uber, GetTaxi, and more. Photography has evolved due to the advent of smartphones and Instagram – do you even remember Kodak?

The common denominator is that these new brands provide their customers with tools that are accessible, effective, and, most importantly, affordable. The newest tool in the consumers’ hands will determine how, when, and what they will buy next. These are the new powers – game changers that have transformed the landscape and made older brands obsolete. It is becoming ever more apparent that these new brands will serve our needs better in the future.

02. Neverending Conversations
The concepts of time and space are changing.
Once, when we wanted to tell somebody something, we had to arrange a specific time to call them from our home phone. And they, in turn, were expected to wait next to their phone at home until the call come through. The simple act of setting a time for a phone call was a serious matter. Today, technology allows us to send endless instant messages on several platforms, so conversations run at our own individual pace. For example, one person on WhatsApp might respond immediately, while another will answer half an hour later. Everyone sees the conversation in real time. It's the same with other popular communication methods, such as Skype, email, social networks and more. Our concepts of space and time have undergone an essential change. These new habits are meeting the communication needs of the new brands. New platforms for meetings are being formed, with more coming in the future. The times and places for a consumer-brand meeting are expanding and becoming more immediate and more accessible. The "Neverending Conversation" between consumers and brands no longer relies on specific times or locations. Everything is available in the palm of your hand, anytime and anywhere.

03. A World Without Borders
We are transcending the limits of time, space, and traditional market categories.
Residents of the planet Earth have become residents of a global village, and this erasure of international borders has had a significant impact on brands. Google has shattered market boundaries (again) with the recent launch of Google Express, which transformed the company into a courier service. You can find anything on Google, and now you can also buy and ship anything directly to your home – perhaps with robots or drones in the future. Meanwhile, Netflix is breaking down the boundaries of time with the ability to download complete television series on-demand, including the popular Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, while also changing the basic viewing habits that television stations had established over the years. Now brands such as Next, eBay, and AliExpress are eliminating the restrictions of geographical retailers by providing inexpensive products and worldwide delivery. These trends are changing the very way people purchase products and services, and are dictating the future of the global economy.

04. The New Consumer
People are creating a new realit
y. By themselves.
According to an international study by the BBC, in 2006 only 7% of people using the internet were creating content (writing posts, uploading pictures and movies). Today, more than 80% of internet users are content creators. As such, they understand the power of interweaving social networks and the impact they have on corporations. In the new technological world, the consumer plays a much larger role in the creation of content than was initially thought, as the opinion of just one person can cause a stir. Look at the protests in Israel against the rising prices of cottage cheese and Milky desserts. Brands can now be exposed. They are transparent. It is no longer possible to hide issues, scars, or service problems. The internet defines the crisis, and the companies and brands need to know the proper way to respond to the consumer in the best possible way. On the other hand, these new brands also want to create a new significance. It is important to know how to do this, and therefore how to touch the heart of the new consumer with these new technological tools. In the near future, people will create even more of their own content, and possibly their own products. It might be too soon to tell, but right now the popular trend of 3D printers is becoming more accessible and will eventually allow us greater opportunities to create toys, household items, food, and more.

05. New Relationship Networks
A fair relationship redefines the rules of the game.
Once, the passive consumer simply enjoyed using a particular product, and in return gave his money to the brand. This situation has changed forever. Consumer disenchantment in this day and age is more widespread and alters natural thought processes. The consumer asks himself “Did I get what I wanted? Did I pay a decent price for the product?” Consumer silence in every part of our lives has been replaced by numerous opinions, complaints, and more. Simultaneously, brand and industry competition has also undergone a transformation. The idea of brands selling directly to our emotions and the illusion of a utopian society has shifted to a more functional focus. This is the conversation, and this is the message. Our relationship networks are more realistic and utilitarian: supplying good products brings in money, providing good customer service generates praise, discussing industry secrets results in new ideas from consumers, contributing insights and tools allows the consumers to share them with their friends, and offering opportunities for consumers to participate in commerce themselves leads to brand loyalty. It’s possible to see how these new relationship networks are beneficial on social networks via Shares and Likes. Brands now utilize social networks and technologies from a starting point of disillusionment and fewer defenses.

They are trying to lead the knowledgeable consumer, the opinionated activist, to their goals in a transparent, genuine, and logical manner.


 
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