For the past 30 years, Brand Keys, a brand loyalty and customer engagement research consultancy, has conducted a year-end examination of our validated loyalty and engagement metrics, collected from over 100,000 consumers who participated in one of the predictive surveys we conduct each year.
This retrospective – subsuming more than 150 B2B and B2C categories and including nearly 1,000 brands – provides us with a correlated-to-behavior view of changes in category drivers, shifts in path-to-purchase consumer expectations, arrival and departure of category and consumer attributes, benefits, and values (ABVs).
Examined in aggregate these assessments provide us with a leading-indicator view of future trends that marketers will have to deal with in the next 18 to 24 months. This year’s analysis identified 22 critical trends that will become brand realities next year. For marketers looking for a head start against the competition, here are the Top 10 trends for 2015:
- Every One of a Kind: Consumers will more and more crave and expect more customized and personalized products, services and experiences, a trend that will be fueled by. . .
- Magnified Human Technology: Digital and mobile in all forms will fuel the sense of consumer empowerment and possibility for the individual consumer.
- Real Brand Engagement: Awareness is a given. Marketers will link “engagement” to how well the brand is perceived versus their category’s Ideal, rather than counting “likes” or just trying to leverage imagery.
- The Everything Expectation: The ability for brands to accurately measure real, unarticulated, and constantly-expanding emotional consumer expectations will provide significant advantages to engage and delight consumers and thereby profit.
- Real-Time Becomes Real Important: Increased real-time expectations already subsume brand and will now spread to areas of product availability, delivery, and customer service, all becoming more important influencers in purchase decisions.
- Going Native: Tools like the Digital Platform GPS will help to optimize placement and resolve issues related to native advertising, digital delivery platforms and shorter consumer attention spans. Metrics will move away from counting the number of views, sharing, and likes toward real brand engagement.
- Brands Will Get Emotional: Successful brands will need to identify the emotional values in the category they can believably own, and utilize them as a foundation for meaningful positioning, differentiation, and engaging storytelling.
- Non-Fiction Storytelling: Storytelling is all well and good, but to be bestsellers, the stories brands tell must reflect real emotional brand values (the more emotional the better) that meet consumers’ believability criteria, otherwise marketers will end up paying to entertaining consumers rather than profitably engaging them.
- The Closing of the Showroom: Five or more online sources to facilitate actual purchase decisions will reduce consumer reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar retail. But having identified that trend…
- High-End Shoppers Expect High-Tech Shopping Experiences: Retail will see a seamless transition from human-only service to digital assistants and virtual valets. Watch for more RFID, beacons, and touch screens to supercharge the retail experience.
When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of marketers: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened. These Top 10 trends provide brands with the opportunity to understand how best to embrace new methods of brand and consumer engagement, build new business models, adopt new technologies, and create new and profitable opportunities and, ultimately, end up in the group who make it happen. Success to you all!
Robert Passikoff, Ph.D. is the founder and president of Brand Keys Inc., a customer engagement research consultancy.