The Marketing and Brand Strategy Trends that Will Define 2013

Welcome to 2013, Year of the... What, exactly? No matter how well-reasoned any prediction sounds, it’s still just that: a prediction. And like the weather, the marketing trends of the future aren’t clear until we’re waist-deep in them. 2013 might be the year of the green brand. It might be the year of the engaged consumer. Or the subscription model. Or the branded app. Or the orange pie. So why make predictions at all? Because it’s fun. But also because we have opinions, because predictions—more often than not—aren’t just about what we expect to happen, but what we want to happen. Guessing at what the future might hold helps us plot a course through it as we grow, change, and do better as businesses, consumers, and people. Here are a few of our predictions and/or hopes for the world of marketing and brand strategy in 2013:

Everything mobile, all the time

Will 2013 be the year we stop calling it a “phone?” That brick-shaped thing in your bag or pocket has about as much in common with a telephone as it does with a laptop, home theater, or tracking device. It’s also increasingly the first place brands spend their marketing budget—on apps, advertisements, and branded content. 2013 will mark an important step in the march toward mobile singularity: the point at which consumer experience is equivalent on any device. Look for

  • websites starting to call themselves apps
  • marketing on one device to trigger behavior on another

Smarter social media advertising and UI

Twitter is a mess.* For a social media platform devoted to communication that’s simple and direct, Twitter’s UI is anything but. While there are a plethora of add-ons and third-party services to help users navigate Twitter, the average user still faces difficulty finding relevant information or reaching an interested audience. In 2013, that will change. As more and more brands become social media-savvy, platforms will start to evolve to favor advertisers, and that means more targeted content, better-directed consumer experiences, and bigger audiences for the brands willing to spend the necessary time and money on social media. Look for

  • more banks and credit unions on Facebook and Twitter
  • celebrity endorsements in social media
  • Facebook pages replacing brand websites

*See also: Facebook, Google+

Consumer-driven content

The Old Spice Man and the Most Interesting Man in the World are Internet icons. They’re also the creations of brands. Consumers don’t mind where content comes from, as long as it’s interesting, funny, or relevant, and they want to interact with it. Whether they’re posting reaction videos, reblogging GIFs, or creating their own parodies, consumers respond to content that recognizes their own. Look for

  • interactive commercials
  • branded posts and articles on community-driven sites like BuzzFeed and Reddit

Targeted video advertisements

Targeted video ads are the new local commercials. As videos become easier to produce, cheaper to host online, and readily accessible to a larger population of consumers, the arena of online video ads will open up to more local and specialized brands. Oh, and targeted video ads might start showing up on something called a “TV,” which is sort of like an iPad whose screen you can’t touch. Look for

  • ads for local retailers prior to place-specific YouTube videos
  • short-form mobile video ads within apps

Optimized customer experiences

The future is looking brighter. And warmer. And more comfortable. And legible. Whether it’s through typography, UI, sound design, or tactile sensation, brands are taking customer experience seriously, devoting more resources to making every experience with their brands better, safer, and happier. Look for

The best trends are the ones no one can predict

It’s tempting to predict what businesses, brands, individuals, and ideas will dominate the next twelve months, but the real thrill is being proven wrong. Here’s to the new year. Here’s to uncertainty, ambiguity, and possibility. Welcome to 2013, the Year of the What, Exactly.

Post Date
January 9, 2013
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