In a world of social media influencers and fake news, branding professionals need to carefully craft their company’s persona to build a loyal, trusting customer base. As the modern customer becomes more conscious of how their data is used and where the messages they absorb is coming from, branding is likely to change in the next few years. To predict where PR pros should steer the industry next, we can take inspiration from where branding has already come from.
The ancient Mesopotamians used brands to convey ownership, craftsmanship and quality during trade. This then evolved into symbols used to distinguish a company’s product in the market – early examples still around today include the Quaker Oats man and the lion of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. With the advent of social media such as Myspace and now Twitter, branding has become the complete presentation of a business to the world, from direct customer interaction to evidential employee satisfaction.
As of last year, digital ad spend surpassed TV ad spend for the first time, showing how truly digital has become the most vital landscape for marketing in modern society. However, simultaneous with this shift has been a growth in awareness from consumers on data privacy and internet transparency. 2018 saw the Cambridge Analytica scandal which exposed the misuse of up to 87 million users’ data and the introduction of GDPR brought data sharing to the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Calls for more transparency on social media have led to influencers being required to announce when they endorse a product as part of a paid partnership. This has shown that consumers are still happy to receive branded messages from their favourite online personalities as long as their intentions are clear. This will be vital for branding professionals to remember in the future as only brands with a record of trustworthiness will flourish in this more conscious digital landscape.
When it comes to forming future branding strategies, the main values consumers will best respond to haven’t changed much since ancient times: trust, quality and craftsmanship.
Check out our infographic for more inspiration from the history of branding.
This infographic was provided by The Rolling Bean, mobile coffee van hire across the UK.