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Improve your brand: 4 trends to explore in 2009

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Predictions are hit or miss. A twist here or a turn there and all bets are off. Fortunately, loyalty and engagement metrics are leading indicators of what consumers think and, more important, how they are going to behave in the real-world marketplace.

Robert Passikoff, Ph.D., founder of Brand Keys, has examined those key metrics and believes the following four trends will have a direct impact on the success or failure of brand marketing efforts in 2009:

1. When price matters.
With financial pressures and a lack of confidence in the economy, consumers will continue to be very conservative in their spending.

No matter how much consumers earn and no matter how much discretionary income they have, they still want to be perceived as “wise shoppers.” The economic free-fall will feed the ongoing trend of brands being unable to provide meaningful differentiation except, of course, for those offering low, lower and lowest prices.

2. Engagement is not a fad.
It is the brand objective. It’s been proven that real engagement correlates with positive consumer behavior. Engagement is the outcome of any marketing or media initiative that substantively improves a brand’s equity (the degree to which a brand meets or exceeds consumers’ expectations).

3. How green is your brand?
Simply playing in the environmental awareness arena will not be good enough in 2009. Brands will have to position their offerings in ways that meaningfully support a sustainable future.

But as the number of companies trying to co-opt the environmental movement grows, so too will the number of skeptical consumers. Consumers will demand authenticity. Possessing such measures will aid in brand differentiation and increased consumer engagement.

4. Consumer expectations will continue to grow.
Brands are barely keeping up with consumer expectations. Every day, consumers adopt and devour the latest technologies and innovations, and hunger for more.

In 2009, expect smart marketers to capitalize on unmet expectations via newly identified values (like customization). This will help them differentiate brands from competitors.


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