What: OnBrand and Bynder have published the results of their latest branding report, which gathers answers from 504 marketers on branding trends and challenges for this year.
Why it matters: As consumers’ expectations rise, brands struggle to provide a seamless experience that aligns with their needs across all new channels.
OnBrand and Bynder joined forces with Survata this last January in order to gather answers from 504 marketing decision-makers in the U.S. and the UK on their goals, challenges, and priorities for this year. The selection of respondents encompassed a wide variety of industries, from Consumer Products and Financial Services to Telecommunications, E-commerce, and Sports. The main conclusion, as proved by other recent studies, is that customer experience is the number one priority in marketers’ minds; however, fulfilling customer’s expectations is not only more important than ever, it’s also more difficult because of the number one challenge that goes with it: identifying the right technologies for a seamless experience. Based on the participants’ answers, the team behind the study identified 5 key findings.
1. Brands Want to Personalize but Struggle to Find the Right Technologies
The digital landscape has drastically changed marketing. To quote the study, it has “blown up”. Customers want their individuality considered, they expect each transaction to become a personalized experience, and this forces brands to use technology in order to deliver. According to a study by Segment quoted in the report, 44% of consumers say they will likely repeat a purchase that was a personalized experience. Among the participants who answered the survey, 56% expressed intentions to personalize their marketing this year, and while 89% agreed that technology plays a key role in developing a personalized experience, 90% think that finding the right technologies to do so is a significant challenge. “The two-fold challenge facing marketers today is how to deliver relevant and consistent customer experiences across all channels, while filtering through the clutter of the rapidly evolving marketing technology landscape.” The image below shows the biggest challenges in 2018 when incorporating new technologies into marketing.
2. Voice Assistants Dominate Tech Investments
According to the report, 40% of marketing decision-makers will invest in voice assistants this year, and 39% are developing integrations that run through platforms like Facebook, Alexa, and Siri. Interestingly, brands will need to choose the voice they want to present to the consumer: “The rise of voice technology has turned the discussion of a brand’s voice from metaphorical to physical, and brands need to consider the delicate politics of gender, personality, and accents,” states the study. 75% of the respondents agree that an ethical development of voice-based technology is a top priority, and characteristics they would take into account are tone, speaking speed, accents, and personas. While gender was reportedly the least important aspect, 54% of marketers would still prefer a female voice. The chart below shows the technologies marketers will be investing in in 2018. We shouldn’t be surprised that 68% will invest in mobile apps, but it’ll be interesting to see how voice assistants shape customer experience.
3. Influencer Marketing is Still Hot
The magic of Influencer Marketing is that they provide access to an already-engaged base of consumers. Good results are not guaranteed and even though influencer marketing could still be proved to be a passing fad, the report’s results show that most marketers are still betting on influencers. 79% of the respondents will invest in influencer marketing this year, and 43% are planning to spend more than they did in 2017. To quote the study, “Influencer marketing is not just a new broadcasting channel, and the brands that achieve cultural relevance in smaller, niche communities will win in 2018.”
4. Brand Activism is on the Rise
Today’s world is interconnected and transparent: there’s no way a brand will do or say something without everyone finding out the next minute. Consumers expect brands to use their power and influence to give something back to the community; there’s no reason not to contribute to or get involved in social issues, and in fact, customers don’t mind spending a bit more in a product if they know the brand is supporting a cause. According to the study, “The most successful brands no longer market to the world, but behave in the world,” which is why 79% of the respondents said that social and cultural issues will play a role in their marketing this year.
5. Marketing Teams Are Hiring More Tech Talent
As customer’s expectations rise and the digital landscape explodes, companies will need to largely invest in hiring the right talent that can adequately handle the technological challenges ahead. 53% of respondents said they’ll be hiring experiences designers and developers in 2018, while 34% said they’ll add data scientists to their teams.