What Will Exceptional Branding Look Like in 2021?


As 2020 nears its end, branding professionals are in high gear while assessing how to tweak their efforts for 2021. Consumers have changing tastes, and their priorities often shift. As those things happen, company representatives can make their brands stand out and prepare for what’s ahead.

Personalization Will Become Even More Prominent

The days of taking a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing and hoping for the best results are over. People prefer things customized for them rather than products meant to appeal to thousands of others.

As 3D printing became more accessible in 2020, companies began offering customized items that catered to personal preferences. People especially appreciated products like jewelry and apparel made just for them. What does this trend mean for branding? Look for it to become more personalized than ever in 2021.

According to Innovid’s 2020 Consumer Attitudes on Personalized Advertising study, 29% of people would be more likely to purchase something from a brand that offered personalized content. Additionally, 31% said such personalization would increase their loyalty to a company. As branding teams determine the best ways to concentrate on personalization for 2021, they should strive for relevance and visual appeal.

Brands Will Continue to Explore the Possibilities of Voice Assistants

Many of today’s smartphones have voice assistant features. People can get answers by speaking a few short, simple phrases. Relying on a voice assistant becomes incredibly convenient when doing something like driving or cooking. Many individuals became acquainted with them during COVID-19 lockdowns, too.

According to a study from the United Kingdom, 53% of respondents use voice assistants more now than before lockdown. Moreover, 58% said voice assistants helped them feel happy and positive during the pandemic’s uncertainties. It’s also notable that 53% of people said Alexa and Google Assistant have become more like part of the family.

These statistics strongly suggest that voice assistants will not go out of fashion anytime soon. Many of the exceptional brands of 2021 will capitalize on that fact by launching voice assistants that help people engage with companies in new ways. Whether users want style tips or to track a package, voice-recognition tools can help them with those things and many others.

Company Signage Will Remain a Crucial Branding Element

Anyone who has ever noticed a sign for a familiar business while driving through an area they don’t know well understands the power of that display for boosting brand recognition. Excellent signage can also cause positive responses when individuals haven’t dealt with brands before. Statistics indicate that nearly 40% of people made assumptions about a company’s quality based on clear, attractive signage.

Succeeding with signage in 2021 requires assessing a wide variety of factors. For example, an outdoor sign needs weather-resistant material and may require lighting for maximum visibility. Colors, contrast and fonts are other essential elements to consider.

Whether a company installs a sign indoors or out, characteristics such as a slogan or logo strengthen overall branding efforts. They also help a business stay consistent as it expands.

Brand Messaging Will Frequently Have a Social Consciousness Slant

Many companies spend months or years building the most effective brands. Their efforts often concern what the business stands for and why. Your message is part of the outside image projected by the brand.

Companies previously decided that the best approach was not to take stands on social issues. Leaders preferred to stay silent on the matters and not get involved. That’s starting to change, and the shift will become even more apparent in 2021.

Ketchum, a global communications consultancy, found that nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) found it more important to support brands that improve diversity and inclusion after the recent racial justice protests in the United States and elsewhere. That suggests brands will have have to take societal happenings into account or risk seeming tone-deaf.

COVID-19 shifted brand loyalty, too. Statistics indicated that 45% of those polled changed at least one brand preference during the pandemic, and 62% expected to stick with that new brand once the heath crisis eases. Many people are now paying attention to which companies work hard to prioritize customer and employee safety or contribute to relief efforts. That trend will likely continue into the next year, and businesses should prepare for that outcome.

Live streaming Will Become Increasingly Important for Brands

Live streaming was somewhat of a niche brand-building activity not long ago. That changed significantly as more people got accustomed to watching live streamed events due to COVID-19 self-quarantines. People could not attend concerts, store openings or seminars in person, but many did so online. They were surprised at how connected they felt despite the physical distance.

A survey from Matter Communications found that 50% of those polled spent more time watching livestreamed content on social platforms. Also, most people aged 18-29 (55%) mentioned engaging with livestream content more often recently. COVID-19 got people more acquainted with livestreaming, but the appeal spans beyond that period and will impact 2021.

Companies can benefit from livestreaming by sticking to a schedule. Offering two streams a week on the same days tells people when to watch and helps them get into the habit. Additionally, question-and-answer sessions are excellent for conveying authoritativeness while finding out what the audience wants to know most.

Outstanding Brands Will Offer Top-Notch Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are well-known ways to urge customers to stay engaged with brands. However,  consumers could also conclude that interacting with them is not worth their time. Many people are more cautious about the information they share with companies. Those that choose to give details want assurances that their decision was worthwhile.

A March 2020 poll found that only 8% of respondents had not signed up for at least one loyalty program. That finding indicates that people are already on board with that method of connecting with brands. Keeping participants signed up is more challenging, however. The same study revealed that 43% of consumers stopped using these programs because the rewards were not sufficiently valuable. Similarly, 32% quit because of irrelevant incentives.

Company representatives will find that loyalty programs can support branding goals, but only if the offerings make sense for the participants. Brands will get the biggest payoffs from loyalty initiatives in 2021 when representatives take the time to find out what consumers genuinely want. They can do so by asking them directly or digging into internal data to find essential clues about keeping people interested.

Eyeing the Future With the Help of Recent Data

It’s impossible to know with certainty what’s on the horizon. However, business owners and people who develop branding initiatives for them can get a clearer idea of what’s likely by studying statistics, including the data points included here. Those give valuable glimpses into the things that will likely happen.

People who develop visual assets for brands should also consider how they affect the trends mentioned here. For example, if a graphic designer creates an infographic to show how easy it to use a voice assistant skill, more consumers will want to give it a try. Better branding for 2021 is a team effort worth taking the time to perfect through collaboration.


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