Branding has become an integral part of business operations, especially in the last few years with the rise of digital technologies. Businesses rely on digital tools to increase their presence and constantly seek ways to improve their branding efforts. With the year nearing its end, branding trends for 2022 have emerged and are expected to be adopted by several prominent brands.
“A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir”
Keeping an eye on the latest branding trends can impressively embellish your branding efforts, helping you stay relevant and in line with the latest market requirements. Unlike branding from previous years, the modern-day approach to branding is constantly evolving. Failing to keep up with the changing shifts can make your business seem obsolete and potentially lead to a negative user experience. Accordingly, we havez compiled a list of the top 10 branding trends you should watch out for in 2022.
“The strongest logos tell simple stories.” —Sol Sender
Brands must make sure that the logos they design are versatile enough to be modified when the need and opportunity arises. Digital media is the preferred platform for most branding projects, and ensuring that the logo can be scaled up or down depending on the social media post is critical. Complex animations with florid details are another design trend that has gained traction and will continue to do so in 2022.
Using a combination of 2D and 3D animations for a logo with several moving parts will be used widely by brands. Taking a bold approach by playing with multiple details to create complexities is also a risk worth taking, and it will help you get your target audience’s attention and better convey your brand story. Another trend worth tracking is shape-shifting logos. You will often find top brands creating one master logo and keeping multiple versions of the logo used under different circumstances and situations. There will be a different logo for a print ad and a contrasting logo for Instagram stories to showcase a simple brand element. It can add variety to your brand’s visual identity, and many firms have already taken giant strides towards adopting shape-shifting logos.
“Less is more? Or Less is a Bore?”
Minimalism by no means is a new trend. Brands and top firms have already been using minimalistic designs for years, and its visual appeal is genuinely remarkable. It can significantly enhance the brand’s quality and credibility. While designing logos, websites, social media posts or blogs, adopting a minimal design feature should be significantly emphasised. It can help the brand directly communicate with the users and lets them better understand your brand message.
However, be mindful when adopting a minimalist design approach, as it can make your brand’s visual identity quite monotonous and bland. Even though minimalism will be relevant in 2022, brands have already started experimenting with maximalism. In maximalism, visceral narratives and thrilling visual experiences replace the flat, austere, geometric brand system, eclipsing modularity with distinctness. Some brands have opted for monochromic bold palettes to curate a dizzier, more ownable look and feel. If you feel your brand is too synonymous with just one colour, switching things, even momentarily, can create an element of uniqueness for your brand.
“Nostalgia marketing is the advertising equivalent of comfort food”
The 1990s were culturally quite significant. The element of nostalgia never waned, and in recent years, it has come roaring back to retake the limelight. Prominent, trendy brands have adopted retro indents, green screens and meme aesthetics, and the response to the design has been overwhelmingly positive.
As a brand, you can use nostalgia’s positive emotion and form an emotional bond with your target audience. The connection can be decisively used to communicate a personal, intimate message, forming a lasting impression of your brand on the target audience. Moreover, it can help your label stand out from the jungle of impersonal messages used by other brands. By 2022, we will see many brands, especially in the B2C sector, switching to their old branding styles, at least momentarily, to garner a strong emotional response from their users and establish a durable bond with them.
“Creating a strong business and building a better world are not conflicting goals”
In case you haven’t noticed, talks about the environment have taken on a cultural significance now. Users are proactively pointing out brands with an almost immoral approach towards their practices harming the environment and their lack of contribution towards the betterment of the planet.
Therefore, having an environment-friendly strategy can dissuade potential negative perceptions of your brand, at least with your branding. To attain this, brands are under constant pressure by the authorities and the Government to use an eco-friendly approach, and some brands reflect that aesthetically. The challenge remains for your designers and the packaging team to choose from materials and finishes which are eco-friendly, recyclable and have a significantly lower carbon footprint which can create a positive impression upon your users and the target audience.
“Place the customer’s experience at the centre with immersive branding”
An innovative trend that is increasingly becoming an essential aspect of brand storytelling is immersive brand experiences. It’s all about inviting your target audience into your world and creating an engaged and connected community. Brands are hosting themed events, creating an online game with interactive experiences, and bold packaging designs offering an unforgettable experience to their customers. It is a trend that is undoubtedly going to get prominence in 2022.
A great example of this branding strategy is adopted by Stranger Things Immersive Experience. Giving access to their locations in San Francisco and New York, they drop fans directly into the Hawkins Lab, which gets featured in the show to discover “The Secret Within The Walls”. It features over-the-top microsite illustrations, offering a truly remarkable experience to the visitors.
“Personalization—it is not about first/last name. It’s about relevant content”
Before the advent of social media, responding to customers was a challenging task. Browsing through mails and emails and sending responses was not ideal when trying to increase your customer engagement. But Social Media has given brands the ability to form a personalized communication channel with their customer and target audience. It can significantly transform a brand’s perception amongst the users.
It’s important to understand that users want to speak to the brands instead of receiving annoying marketing messages. Therefore, the conversational style of messaging is a trend that is nicely shaping up to be an effective branding strategy for 2022. Brands are eager to appear more human and establish a personal relationship with their customers. To attain this, top brands are coming up with dedicated campaigns focused prominently on social media. Moreover, be mindful of the comments section. Gone are the days when brands could ignore the comments from the users. Responding to the comments makes the brand seem more humane, and resolving peculiar problems through comments can significantly enhance your brand reputation.
“Other forms of marketing increase your visibility. Cause marketing enhances your favorability”
With most online shoppers actively engaged on social media, they have become increasingly aware of the social and cultural inequalities prevalent in society. Therefore, supporting a cause and actively promoting it on your digital platforms is a sure-shot way to get traction. Marketing teams in 2022 will implement branding strategies to make their brand appear like champions of a particular social cause. It will be expected next year to see brands taking multiple social causes and ardently promoting them. Even at present, brands are working for social causes such as climate change, preserving biodiversity, racial justice, and more.
“Strengthen your brand with visual designs that move”
Motion design is everywhere at the moment, they are visible on billboards, brand websites, and you will even spot them while navigating an app. Experts in the field believe it’s a positive trend that will likely gain momentum next year. Static graphics aren’t enough anymore. With the continuous introduction of new and inventive digital and virtual reality platforms, brands constantly find new ways to live online. It has given brands new possibilities of keeping the customers engaged through motion and animation.
Furthermore, the trend is going to influence inert materials such as packaging significantly. But why has motion gained such prominence? On a superficial level, static images can’t compete with a looping gif. On a more profound level, movement creates identity and tells a different story. A brand can now have its choreography or behaviour, which provides incredible personality, enabled by a screen. This shift has had a significant impact on the design industry as design and motion are fused. To remain relevant, designers will need to have a deep understanding of movements, rhythm, and time wedded with motion software skills besides traditional design skills.
“Your brand is what other people say when you are not in the room”
Social media marketing is a whole universe of topics itself. There are several approaches to it, and one of the most common ones include social media ads. However, influencer marketing has taken great strides in recent years. An increasing number of brands are approaching influencers prominently on Instagram to promote their products or services. But many brands have had an unpleasant experience with influencer marketing. Many influencers on Instagram have paid followers who likely do not express any interest in the products or services the brands promote. But the trend will be reshaped and redefined to help brands choose the right influencers using data. Adidas is one of the most famous brands using influencer marketing to promote their products. They wanted to focus on a younger audience, so they chose to do an Instagram influencer marketing campaign.
Various online tools are now available which can be used by the brands to gauge their reach, genuine followers list, expertise and real-time statistics of all their posts. This can help brands make the right decision when choosing the right influencers.
Customer expectations are rapidly changing as social justice movements have taken great prominence. Integrating body positivity and diversity in your branding approach will become necessary in 2022, as studies have shown that millennials prefer buying from inclusive and diverse brands over companies that are not. Besides, brands that failed to deliver their inclusivity message have received backlash with their sales being affected. Victoria, Therefore, it is critical to include diversity and inclusivity in your branding strategies if you haven’t done that already.
Some examples of businesses that have greatly benefited from inclusivity include Dove, Thirdlove and Fenty beauty. Use images that clearly show inclusivity, even if that means replacing picture-perfect models with actual women with no filters and effects. Several brands are creating marketing strategies to shatter stereotypical beauty norms by showing women of all ages, ethnicities, shapes, sizes, colours, and gender orientations. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
The future is always uncertain. The pandemic has taught us that very well, but one thing will remain confident, sticking to the old ways is no longer an option. Brands need to evolve and adopt new strategies constantly. The trends discussed in the article above are an excellent place to start when planning your branding strategy. Customer preferences should always prevail, and while adopting modern strategies, gauging customer response to a particular brand element should be earnestly considered, and strategies should be planned accordingly.