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7 Branding Trends that will Shape 2022

From constant disruption, to changing consumer behaviors to virtual-everything, the past 18 months have made it increasingly difficult for brand leaders to anticipate the future.

At Branding Africa we’re experts in adapting with the times to drive growth for our clients. And as we prepare for 2022, we sought advice from every level and every discipline at Branding Africa to uncover what’s next for our clients and those building great African brands out there.

Here are our 7 predictions on what 2022 will bring to the world of brand strategy, innovation, design and more.

1. Nostalgic Branding

It’s true, history does have a way of repeating itself. Or in marketing terms: repurposed content. It’s that feeling of old times, reminiscing on how brands made you feel in the past and the emotional experience that unified consumers. Nostalgic marketing is effective because it takes an audience back to a time and a feeling that feels familiar and evokes positive associations with the brand. You might have noticed significant pop culture and significant event references in merchandising and advertising already. Brands will leverage assets such as logos, time period influences, jingles and other archived references to recapture audiences and increase brand recall.

2. Quirky Design

From a design perspective, expect to see more retro and bold branding. We are talking logos, imagery, typefaces and illustrations. We suppose that this move plays into the rise of nostalgic brand marketing. Think tie-dye, neon, arcade-inspired, asymmetric, distorted shapes, psychedelic visuals – basically, the 1960’s have made a comeback. This style of design is not only fun, attention grabbing and bold but it also displays the fun side to brands. 

3. Brand Authenticity

This should come as a no-brainer. The name of the branding game is all about standing out and that entails being unique and staying authentic to your uniqueness. The overall brand experience is all about how an audience relates to a brand and how it makes them feel. What better way is there to relate to consumers than to be your authentic and unique self? Now more than ever consumers are looking to believe in brands than stay true to their values and purpose. Authenticity in how a brand conducts its business and keeps its promises is they key to building trust and loyalty.

4. Bauhaus Design

Founded by German architect Walter Gropius in the 1920’s, Bauhaus design is a style of visuals that include geometric shapes, striking primary colours and sometimes abstract shapes to give a fine-art-meets-craft-arts retro look and feel. You can expect to see brands incorporate this design style in their visual communications because of its simple yet eye-catching form. If you’re looking for more design inspiration you might like

5. Phygital Marketing

Phygital simply combines the words physical and digital to create a new word: phygital. While it’s not exactly clear who coined the term, we started using it at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? Because we noticed more companies quickly adjusting their strategies to digitally accomplish tasks that had previously been accomplished in-person.

Experiential marketing is going hybrid. A marriage between the physical and digital brand experience. “Have I had a phygital experience?” is something you might be asking yourself. Yes! It’s everywhere around you. Think of a chatbot. While you may be communicating on a website or app, the purpose of the chatbot is to provide you with the same customer service that you would have received in person all from the comfort of whatever location you may be in. To create the best phygital experience for your customers think about which touch points of the customer journey you can make effortless for them. Those might include digital payment methods, customer portals, applications and automated customer service chatbots.

6. Online Community Building

After spending just over two years indoors and in isolation, people are looking to resocialise again. More than anything people are looking for other people who share the same interests as them. Brands are capitalising on this innate human need for connection. In fact, it is brands that are now becoming the connector. Through branded content, forums, online events, reshared content, discussion portals people are being brought together by the brands that they love. The key is to have in-depth knowledge of your audience. Remember that every branding and marketing activity that you perform stems from your audience and how you can best meet their needs.

7. Unconventional Brand Communication Efforts.

As metaverse platforms and ownership of digital assets and NFTs continue to break into the mainstream, brands will need to consider how they create relevance in an entirely new world of virtual identity, community and entertainment. This couple with brand alignment, which we mentioned a bit early will be what differentiates a brand that is ‘for’ its people and one that isn’t in touch at all. In 2022 we predict seeing a better and more rigorous effort to connect to its audience and to do that, brands have to break free of convention.

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