Cutting Through the Clutter- What Trends Matter in 2018

Ben Olson | January 9, 2018

What are the hottest trends to watch for in 2018?

One that captured my attention came with the headline, “Death of the Brand.” Honestly, as one who’s grounded a career and a company in building brands worldwide, I was compelled to read on. If not the brand, then what are you selling?

It was an interesting spin to say the least. Because my thought is that it isn’t a death so much, as an evolution filled with opportunity.

What is dying is the archaic notion that the brand is king. That somehow big corporations control the hearts, minds and wallets of the people. Trust me, if that were true, wearable devices would have a far deeper penetration than they do right now.

Do you believe your brand commands more power and prestige? Some do. But most of us can’t just build a “better mousetrap” – we need to actively promote it as well.

Look at your integrated marketing execution, particularly when it comes to driving awareness and leads for your trade shows and events. Are you touting a list of features that are super-sexy to you, expecting a huge boost in sales – only to find that your audience doesn’t share your enthusiasm when they vote with their wallets?

Or perhaps you’ve evolved and embraced the opposite end of the spectrum. A focus that disrupts traditional marketing by telling a broader social story where the brand is secondary, much like the traditional role of product placement in movies and TV shows. The belief here is that customers crave causes and will align their purchase behavior with the brands that come along for the ride.

Don’t get me wrong – disruptive messaging helps your voice be heard. But is the outcome in line with your expectations?

You need a strategy that merges a clever, memorable and ownable experience with the action you are seeking. You need to clearly communicate why your brand solution is the best for your customer. If you don’t have a strong why, even the best “how” will fall short of expectations.

Because at the end of the day – or the beginning of the year – the trend that matters is the one that propels your business forward and delivers the numbers you need.

The brand isn’t dead. It’s just evolving.