Trends brand marketers can expect in 2006

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on December 9, 2005

Trends brand marketers can expect in 2006

Increasing consumer expectations and high demand across all categories are causing a lag in brand image, and the answer to the problem lies in predictive loyalty metrics that measure the direction and speed of change in consumer values, according to loyalty research agency Brand Keys, which predicts five key brand and marketing trends for 2006.

Dr Robert Passikoff, President of Brand Keys believes that brands, blogs, and branded entertainment will still be with us throughout 2006, although five other key trends are emerging that are expected to determine the difference between success and failure for both brands and marketers:

  1. Consumer engagement Inserting itself between traditional marketing activities and an increasing demand for ROI assessments, the metric of Engagement will become the 'Holy Grail' for marketers and advertisers alike. Engagement - defined as the outcome of advertising and marketing activities that substantively increases a brand's strength in the eyes of the consumers (and actually predicts sales and profitability) - will be used more and more to allocate marketing budgets. Watch out for joint task forces from organisations such as the ANA, ARF, AAAA's and AMA to provide additional meaning and metrics for engagement.  
  2. Growing expectations Consumer expectations in all categories will continue to grow. Expectations have increased more than 26% in the past five years while brands have only kept up by 8%. The smarter marketers will be taking advantage of unfulfilled expectations through values such as convenience and customisation. More and more marketers will rely upon online sites and high-tech capabilities to accommodate these values and differentiate themselves from the competition. Watch out for more tailored products and electronic kiosks at places beyond the usual airport and bank locations. "Think in terms of Jetson-like hotel check-in capabilities," Passikoff suggests.  
  3. Online activity Engagement concerns, and attempts to meet or exceed customer expectations, will fuse and will be most observed in online activities and blogs. Watch for the increased development of both, above and beyond the usual propaganda and electronic cash-register use, as both attempt to create actual Communities of One. The blurring of reality and imagination is part of the explanation for the reality show fad of recent years, so watch for entertainment and information becoming one and the same. Also watch for more and more web-based applications via computer desktops, handhelds, and mobile phones.  
  4. Advertising venue appropriateness Advertising venues that are traditionally considered inappropriate for a brand will be adopted, simply because that's where the consumers are going. Is this a case of oil and water mixing? Passikoff believes so. Current consumer values suggest a strangely bi-polar trend for experiences, such as a dramatic increase in on-line gaming, especially for adults. For example, interactive gaming with more and more players being able to compete at once will become the norm, and games such as Mah Jong could well replace poker as the most popular game (especially in Asia-Pacific). Marketers concerned with engagement will - to some degree at least - need to close their eyes to the appropriateness of these activities and use online gaming as a more acceptable venue for almost any brand.  
  5. Music culture taking over Popular culture, with its seeming insatiable appetite for music and technology, will see market and brand leaders start to use "plugging-in" techniques as a way of customising entertainment and selling their products. Music-related paraphernalia (such as tee shirts, posters, and artist related merchandise) will begin to infringe more and more on the dominance of bricks-and-mortar retail. Watch out for a marked increase in branded entertainment campaigns throughout 2006.

Brand Keys provides its clients with customer loyalty research, providing brand equity metrics to predict future consumer behaviour and anticipating shifts in rapidly changing markets.

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