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The Future of Branding for Online Entrepreneurs

I have a confession to make. Whenever Adam Mosseri, head of instagram makes an announcement about the platform, I hold my breath in dread. I dread the million and one posts about the update, discussions about the update, and countless expert opinions on how we can make the most of the update. I know I’m a website and brand designer, and immersing myself in technology is second nature.


But I’m a human first. And the human part of me wants to create and connect in a way that’s unique to my brand, and feels good to me, not to tick a box to please a platform’s algorithm-of-the-week.


So how can we stay relevant in a way that makes sense for our business?


The answer is to look ahead. We need to be proactive in our approach to connecting with our clients and customer, rather than constantly reacting, in some cases blindly, to the next new thing we are presented with.




What’s the future of branding for entrepreneurs?

Our brand identity and positioning form the foundations for how we connect with our customers/clients in a way that’s effective. It’s the first place to start when we are re-evaluating how to communicate in a way that’s relevant.


The last two years have seen an immense shift in the branding and marketing space. What was relevant mere weeks ago, might no longer serve as the best way to connect, increase reach and to make an impact. Our communications need to be agile, adaptable, while still reflecting the core of who we are as a brand.




Here are some of the most important shifts that will shape the future of branding:


Personalisation of experiences via Ai

We are already well aware of the ability of social media platforms to curate and personalise our content feeds. In 2022 and beyond we will see the increased popularity of platform personalisation across service provider websites, and ecommerce websites.


Tools such as google optimise, proof, sleeknote and personalyze allow you to change your website’s messaging and content based on user activity and preferences, allowing you to increase conversions.


Purpose first, profit second

This is by no means a new concept, but having a purpose greater than ourselves has become increasingly relevant. It’s no longer enough to simply exist for profit. Clients and customers want to know, and connect with our greater purpose. Have a strong sense of purpose will set you apart, no matter what tactical trends come and go.


Social justice: Proactivity over reactivity

It’s not enough to simply react to social justice and environmental issues, by way of statements over social media, email, or simply a commitment page on our websites. Clients and customers want to know that we have established, ongoing commitments to causes that matter, and a continuing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Although commitments to social justice and the environment by no means should be seen as a branding exercise, it is important to see the link between who we say we are as a business, and who we actually are when it comes to our actions.


Changing culture from within

For businesses with a team structure, it’s become increasingly important to shape positive and sustainable team cultures that value inclusion, wellbeing, and empathy. Our work environment must reflect the core identity and purpose of the business. Customers and clients want to know that we embody our values from the inside out, and want to see us sharing how we create these environments. This is especially important for Gen Z as they enter the workforce, and younger audiences.


Accessable design

Visual brand design has seen a shift towards more accessible sans fonts. Countless brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Balmain have opted for simpler, easier to read logos. Tools such as webaim.org , siteimprove and contrast checker can now help small businesses improve the readability of websites and design assets.


Emotional intelligence

Sick of seeing copy that does it’s best to shame you into investing into a program or product?


Yeah…..


The good news is that emotionally intelligent messaging that values empowerment over belittlement is here to stay. Treating people like intelligent adults capable of making their own informed decisions, rather than simply sources of cash, is the future of the entrepreneurial space.


Vetting and regulation of the entrepreneurial space

The last 12 months has seen a shift towards better vetting and research of individuals in industries such as life and business coaching, tech services, courses and programs. Now more than ever, it’s important to take care with the claims that we make online, and substantiate them with testimonials, real results, and investing in creating high quality customer experiences.


As more and more people leave the workforce to join the entrepreneurial space, I’m predicting that there will be greater regulations placed on many industries, which for the most part, have remained unregulated. What will this mean for us? Perhaps the need to invest in ongoing accreditation, standard-level certification, and badges/endorsements from platform providers such as websites, SAAS and email marketing providers.


Strategic partnerships

There is a greater sense of distrust and disillusionment in the major social media platforms, as primary sales channels. This is mostly due to continual experiments and updates made by platforms like instagram. This has brought about a shift in the way that we connect with other business owners and with our target audience. Strategic partnerships that specifically target problem/solution aware buyers are on the rise. These include methods such as referral networks, collaborations, partnering with major website and software platforms as a service provider, directories, regular online meetups and masterminds, and marketplace platforms such as behance, dribble, creative market.


Creative content

In a similar thread, more and more entrepreneurs are questioning the mainstream content models that value output and followers over connection. We have seen the echo chamber effect of creating more content- it’s the same as everyone else. It’s bland, boring and a waste of time when it comes to actually making sales. Now is the time to get creative about the type of quality content that will add something new to the space.


More seamless experiences thanks to all-in one SAAS platforms

More and more website platforms, CRMS and project management systems are making the move to become an all-in-one platform. With this in mind, we can look forward to providing more seamless cross platform experiences for our clients, and less stringing together of platforms using Zapier or other integrations.



Branded experiences: IRL nostalgia VS the Metaverse

In a post-isolation world, clients and customers are craving real-life experiences that incorporate all of the senses. Think intimate events with personalised touches, thoughtfully crafted gifts, handmade products, and beautiful experiences that give them an escape from the mundane of the home. People want to feel connected, cared for, and that they are not alone. Businesses that are able to provide for this need will have a distinct competitive advantage, and are set to increase their referral power.


On the other hand, we have become more and more familiar with the creature comforts of the home. We aren’t ready to fully relinquish these in favour of experiences in real life. With the developments of augmented reality experiences, such as networking, virtual fitness spaces, virtual events the future may hold opportunities for brands to connect with customers and clients in spaces such as the metaverse.



Blended events

Blended events, that included both in-venue attendees and online attendees were made more mainstream during the pandemic. Blended business events are an opportunity to reach a wider range of attendees by opening up ticketing to online attendees as well as live attendees, and to provide an interactive branded experience that surprises and delights.




 


Thinking about Rebranding?


You want to rebrand successfully but you’re not sure how to be confident that now is the right time.

Well, you can stop wondering.

My FREE Rebrand Checklist will help you know when it’s the right time to rebrand, and what it will take to rebrand successfully, so you can have the confidence to make the right choice for your business.




I acknowledge the Yugambeh and Jaggera language peoples as the traditional custodians of this land on which I operate and pay my respects to elders – past, present and emerging. Sovereignty of this land is not and has never been ceded and remains stolen. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

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