This article has been contributed by Zoe Devitto.
Your brand is not a static concept, nor is it something you create when your start your business and forget about afterward.
Instead, you need to revisit and refine your branding continually to reflect changing consumer needs and industry trends.
Smart brands understand the importance of keeping an eye on emerging trends and they adopt new tactics in the context of their market, product, and audience.
In this post, we’re going to walk you through the top branding trends for 2022 that are likely to impact your digital marketing ambitions and how you can make them work for you.
Branding Trends for 2022 – Overview
Here is an overview of the 15 key branding trends to watch in 2022.
- Adaptable Logos
- Social Media Branding
- Official Hashtags in Branding
- Interactive Branding
- Nostalgic Visuals
- Nostalgic Visuals
- Data-Driven Branding
- Branding Without Your Brand Name
- Inclusivity and Diversity
- Typography-Driven Branding
- Hand-Drawn Branding
- Balance and Harmony
- Gradients in Logos
- Flat, Clean and Simple Logos
15 Branding Trends to Watch For in 2022
Branding is more than just your name and logo; it’s about how people perceive your business. It’s how they feel and what they think when they come across your company.
So if you want to make a strong impression in the minds of your audience, you have to invest in your customer experiences, marketing messages, story, personality, positioning, and more. Tick all these boxes with these top 15 branding trends for 2022 and while you’re here you may be interested in our NFT trends compilation.
1. Adaptable Logos
The days when businesses only had to exist in brick and mortar are long gone. Now, if you want your company to go far and expand beyond your zip code, you need to promote it across as many channels as possible. This means having a website and an active presence on social media networks.
As a result, it’s more important than ever to have an adaptable logo that can be scaled down or up and tweaked to suit different use cases.
For example, you can decide to use your logo in its full glory on your website, then use a streamlined icon for your branded products and an even simpler logo for your social media profiles.
The benefit of designing logos that can easily shapeshift is that it provides visual variety for your audience while allowing you to maintain consistency in your branding regardless of the platform or layout your logo is viewed on. People can see any of the variations and instantly recognize your brand.
Take a look at the Ultimate Responsive Logo Design Guide to find out how to design quality scalable logos.
2. Social Media Branding
Social media has been a revenue-driving staple in marketing for many years and is one of those branding trends that will not change in 2022.
If your business is underutilizing social platforms or has gone without building a social presence until now, it’s time to start maximizing the opportunities social media has to offer.
Start by finding the social networks your target market likes to hang out on, then take the time to learn how these networks work and what kind of content would work best for each one.
Next, you’ll need to decide what personality or voice to adopt for your brand. Are you going to be funny, eccentric, satirical, or formal? Make sure whatever voice and language you settle for aligns with the voice and language that your target audience uses or would appreciate.
Once you’ve figured this out, the next thing to do is develop social media marketing strategies and tactics to help you grow your reach and grab your audience’s attention.
ColourPop went from being another unknown cosmetics company when it opened its doors in 2014 to bringing home millions of dollars in revenue, by using influencer marketing.
The brand gave influencers free products in exchange for authentic reviews and even collaborated with their top influencers to create new lines of products.
ColourPop’s branding strategy worked because it gave much-needed credibility to the company. Customers got to learn about ColourPop products in a more personal way, from people like them, whose opinions and recommendations they were more likely to believe.
Since social media algorithms are constantly changing, make sure you stay abreast of any changes on the platforms you use. This will help you modify your social media branding strategies to ensure you get maximum awareness and engagement.
3. Official Hashtags in Branding
According to research done by Later, using hashtags in your posts can increase your reach by up to 11% per post. There’s no question about the efficacy of hashtags in helping you get more eyes and engagement on your social media posts, so why not take it even further by branding your hashtags?
Using official hashtags that contain your brand or product name can enable you to monitor consumer sentiments and perceptions around your business while improving brand recognition.
It’ll give you access to a treasure trove of user-generated content that you can highlight on your page to appreciate your customers, increase trust for potential clients, and promote your brand without having to pay for the exposure.
Once you’ve created a unique hashtag that’s clearly associated with your business and easy to recognize, start using it consistently in your posts. Promote it by including it in your digital marketing strategy and on your website. Encourage your followers to use the official hashtag when talking about your brand or sharing content of themselves using your product.
Here’s how Fenty Beauty does it with #FENTYBEAUTY.
Global warming and climate change have gone from niche concerns that only a few brands and consumers were interested in to mainstream. More consumers are making the conscious effort to buy from eco-friendly, sustainable brands whenever possible, even if it means paying a little extra.
What’s more, they expect companies to show their commitment to preserving the planet and resolving environmental issues by offering greener products.
Many brands are already responding to these demands by adopting more ethical business processes and implementing sustainable initiatives to limit their environmental footprint and retain customer trust and loyalty.
For example, Ford has implemented ten green initiatives, including switching to a geothermal cooling system and sustainable fabrics in the manufacturing process for all its vehicles. The mineral water companies, Volvic and Evian, have launched fully recyclable bottles.
Lush Cosmetics uses all-natural ingredients to produce high-quality face, hair, and body care beauty products for its customers. It even sells shampoos in solid bars to avoid using plastic and offers reusable tubs so customers can bring them back and earn rewards.
5. Interactive Branding
It’s no longer enough just to publish a blog post or share an image on social media and call it a day. Instead, customers want a more responsive experience from the businesses they patronize. They want to influence and contribute to the content they consume by interacting with the videos, visuals, or stories.
Only brands that understand that marketing is a two-way street will be primed to capture the audience’s attention and succeed in the current landscape. Interactive branding is an opportunity for you to let your creativity run wild and tell even more captivating stories about your company and its products or services.
There are many kinds of interactive branding strategies you can use to engage your audience. For instance, the wellness company, Each Night, provides a sleep calculator on their website so visitors can quickly figure out the ideal amount of rest they need to get per night.
Other forms of interactive content you can leverage include quizzes, polls, surveys, personalized emails, charts, infographics, video, clickable maps, animations, and any other visual aids you can imagine.
6. Nostalgic Visuals
Remember the time when…? That statement probably takes you back to a specific period that’s full of happy memories. That’s the power of nostalgia; it brings us comfort and a sense of stability. It reminds us of who we once were, how things used to be, and the places of things that brought us joy back in the day.
With the constantly evolving nature of modern-day life from technology to fashion and other sectors of life, the craving to return to the time that once was keeps getting stronger. This creates an opportunity for your brand to stand in that gap by providing nostalgic content that helps your customers travel back in time.
Image source: marketingdive.com
The positive sentiments and feelings that this blast-from-the-past content will evoke in them will be transferred to your brand and will help them form a deeper connection to your company. Coca-Cola provides a great example of just how creative nostalgic marketing can be.
Since the NCAA basketball tournament March Madness couldn’t be held in 2020 because of the pandemic, Coca-Cola created ads showcasing some of the most iconic moments in the tournament’s history.
It also used 3D tech to place images of Coca-Cola flavors in the hands of past players, fans, coaches, and mascots as they celebrated memorable moments.
7. Data-Driven Branding
In the age of digital commerce and networking, companies and consumers create vast amounts of data every day. This data can be instrumental in understanding your customer’s relationship with your brand. Thus, you can no longer afford to sit back and let it go to waste.
Take advantage of analytics and business intelligence tools to gather, manage, and analyze this wealth of information to aid your product strategy and market research. The insights you glean will allow you to make data-backed decisions to speed up product development.
You can also use it to refine operational efficiencies, enhance customer experience, increase marketing ROI, and make your brand stand out from the competition.
One example of this is Starbucks. Starbucks uses market research and data it gathers from research firms, its franchisees, and social listening activities to inform its branding and marketing efforts, stay updated on trends, and increase customer loyalty.
By combining customer-centric product development with data-driven branding strategies, your business can earn a spot in the economy of the future.
8. Branding Without Your Brand Name
Consumers are starting to get sick of all the ads being shoved into their faces every minute. Customers no longer care about brands as much as they do about finding practical solutions to their problems.
As an antidote to the constant onslaught of promotional content that consumers face, brands have started finding ways to market themselves without using their brand name or logos.
Rather than relying on traditional brand elements and visual identity to promote their products and services, they’re leveraging their unique value propositions to establish and strengthen their brand identity.
What are your selling points? Do you have flagship services or products that you can use to brand yourself?
You can create a blog or forum where you rarely mention your company itself and simply focus on providing valuable resources and information that your target audience needs. People will flock to it because it is genuinely helpful and not just an ad for your business.
But at the same time, they will associate your company with the blog. When they need an actual product or service that’s related to your offerings, they will come to you because they already trust you and know you’ve got their best interests at heart.
9. Inclusivity and Diversity
According to a consumer survey by Google and The Female Quotient, 64% of the participants admitted to taking some action after seeing an ad they considered inclusive or diverse. Similarly, 69% of Black consumers said they were more likely to buy from a brand when their advertising positively reflects their race/ethnicity.
The demand for diversity and inclusivity is on the rise. Only brands that can show that they’re committed to these principles in reality, not just on paper, will win the patronage of tomorrow’s consumers.
Being inclusive in your branding is not difficult at all. You just need to include and embrace people from different backgrounds with stories that many audiences can relate to.
This can mean making an effort to destroy stereotypes or just showcasing how diverse people in the real world can be. You don’t have only one type of customer, so why not make everyone using your service or buying your products feel welcome, special, and cared for.
Take a look at Bumble’s “Find Them On Bumble” campaign that highlights the real stories of interesting people from all walks of life who live in New York City and use Bumble to build meaningful friendships and find love.
Make it a point to celebrate variety in your branding and offer inclusive products in the coming year. To do this right, you need to understand your audience personas — their age, country, income level, struggles, what language they speak, etc.
Then you need to find actors or models for your campaigns that fit into these demographics because people align better with a brand when it’s sold to them by someone they can relate to or empathize with.
10. Typography-Driven Branding
Bold, eccentric, experimental, and stylish typefaces full of character are in, and brands will be experimenting with more of them in the coming year. It’s time to say goodbye to the old, boring, plain typography and get a little creative with it.
You can add some funky lines, edgy strokes, 3D elements, variable styling animation, illustrations, and colors to your brand fonts to make them more vibrant.
The text in your logos and brand visuals don’t have to be words that simply support the image; they can be a point of focus too. Consider them a chance to make your logo look original and show off your company’s personality.
Take Nike’s recent “Play New” campaign as an example. It puts a contemporary twist on the brand’s typography through sharp contrasting shapes, radiant colors, and beautiful flowing forms.
Feel free to tweak your typography’s positions, order, and even letter size. There’s no standard way to design a logo. All that matters is that your typography is legible.
11. Hand-Drawn Branding
Another branding trend worth considering and investing in are script fonts. They’re eye-catching, and they can make your branding elements look more natural and realistic.
Image source: designspiration.com
You can opt for handwritten fonts that use classic calligraphy in their designs. This branding strategy is best suited for businesses in the creative sector, niches that have to do with beauty and design, or companies that sell kids’ products or confectionery.
If you’re not sure how to go about designing your hand-drawn branding elements, you can always check out design font packages or even Pinterest to generate ideas and inspiration.
12. Balance and Harmony
Balance in branding is about arranging the visual elements of your design or content in a good composition to create structure, stability, unity, emphasis on an element, agreement of parts, and a stunning visual effect.
It makes your branding more convincing because it suggests that you’ve put plenty of thought into your content or design.
Don’t just create willy-nilly. Instead, strive to attain symmetry and harmony in your branding efforts to make it attractive and help viewers better understand the message you’re trying to pass across. For example, if you’re choosing a font for an inscription, make sure it aligns and complements the logo and the image’s color palette.
When thinking of making your branding more balanced and harmonic, don’t forget about social media. Using Instagram grids for your posts is one way to create a sense of harmony on your profile. It can also help your account stand out, boost engagement, drive profile views, and gain more followers.
When you see the emblems of your favorite sports teams anywhere, you instantly recognize them because they are symbolic and memorable. They tell a story, convey the purpose of the brand, and remind you why it exists.
Image source: Dribble
Unlike logos, your brand’s emblem gives you more room to experiment and be creative so you can infuse more colors, images, graphics, and pretty much any other details you want into it. The only requirement for your emblem is that it expresses the core idea behind your business.
14. Gradients in Logos
Using three-dimensional gradients, layers, shapes, and depth in logos and other elements is another branding trend that’s growing dramatically. Gradients can accentuate contrast in colors to give your logo a more energetic and distinctive look — like in this unoffical example from Meta.
Image source: Dribbble
What’s more, gradient logos will give you ample room to mess around with colors and produce amazing solutions with a simple and contemporary appearance that will look elegant on screens.
You can pair your 3D gradients with animations to make the elements come to life. The goal is to combine gradients, shadows, and depth in a way that aligns with the story you want the design to tell.
15. Flat, Clean and Simple Logos
When designing or redesigning your logos in the coming months, aim for a design that’s comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and practical. You want a logo that’s easily recognizable and can be replicated or used on a wide variety of platforms and objects.
The truth is you don’t have to do too much to make your logos stand out. The beauty of gorgeous lettering and simple logotypes is hard to beat. Find a font style and logotype that’s easy to understand and does an excellent job of capturing the voice and personality of your brand. Like this one from Mastercard:
Image source: wired.com
Drop the embellishments and pivot to logos with simple or no imagery and clean lines. If you can’t design the type of logo you want on your own, you can always outsource it to a logo designer.
2022 Branding Trends – Summary
The brand-to-consumer relationships are becoming less and less about transactions and more about connections, trust, loyalty, and emotions. Branding has evolved beyond the look of your brand to what you stand for, how you act, and the experiences you provide, so you need to be doing more than just the bare minimum.
To increase commercial success and improve your brand experience in the coming year, don’t shy away from implementing these branding trends alongside your tried and true branding strategies to help your business achieve its long-term goals.
About the author: Zoe is a content marketing strategist for SaaS brands like FollowUpBoss, Mention.com and more. On the personal front, Zoe is a pho enthusiast and loves traveling around the world as a digital nomad.