The future of brand experience: 10 predictions for 2020
We picked the collective mind of the resident brand experience (BX) experts at Qualtrics to find out the main trends and issues marketers and brand managers need to be aware of in 2020. From the death of likes to a focus on brand-led marketing, here’s everything you need to know...
1. A pivot to brand-led marketing
After years of focus on performance marketing, more companies realize long-term brand strength is important and will focus on it. Toward the end of 2019 we saw iconic brands acknowledge an underinvestment in brand marketing in recent years - including Unilever, Adidas, Gap, and TripAdvisor.
This pivot back to brand-led marketing increases the importance at which marketers are able to monitor brand performance over time, and the subsequent drivers on the experience delivered.
2. Always-on brand tracking will become the norm
With attention on the long-game, lengthy and periodic brand tracking surveys will become obsolete in 2020. Instead, marketers will adopt leaner and ongoing pulse surveys into the brand experience. This agile approach enables marketers to better understand their ongoing brand health, and to conduct quick deep dives into potential areas of growth and opportunity.
The Australian company Finder is a great case study into a company winning in the experience economy by embracing a modern approach to brand management. Real-time insights into brand performance has enabled the company to lift brand awareness by 23 per cent, boost its NPS by eight points, and achieve record revenues within 10 weeks of switching its brand management platform.
3. A laser focus on identifying the brand touchpoints that matter most
The experience premium – where consumers are willing to pay more for better experiences – will be even more important in 2020. Every brand experience a customer has, whether it’s seeing an ad on a billboard, online assistance, or in-store, will be influenced by pre-existing perceptions and it will impact future decisions too. To delight customers, brands will use experience data to pinpoint the key moments in the customer lifecycle to ensure they exceed expectations.
4. Hybrid C-suite roles will be on the rise, as CMO roles fall
Roles like Chief Customer Officer, Chief Growth Officer and Chief Experience Officer will become more common as CMOs realize that their remit is too narrow for the expectation that exists. Leaders know they need to own the customer experience as well as be the growth and innovation hub of the enterprise. This demands a new role definition, which many companies like J&J, Coca-Cola, Lyft, Unilever, Uber, Hyatt Hotels, Mars Wrigley, Kimberly-Clark, and McDonald's have already embraced. Who will be next?
5. Operational and experience data joins forces
Gone are the days of simple brand metrics, such as market share and top-line growth. To win the hearts and minds of customers, businesses need to marry operational data with experience data giving insight into perceptions and preferences. This will allow marketers to optimize their campaigns, promotions, and launches accordingly. Companies will also be able to use this data to model what consumers want before the market is demanding it, which ensures brands will remain ahead of the customer decision curve.
6. The age of automation is embraced
After a few years of caution, customers will place less value on whether they are the recipient of a human- or tech-generated response. To capitalize on the impact of AI-powered systems and chatbots, businesses must ensure their brand management platforms offer intelligent diagnostic tools.
7. An end to “Likes”
Facebook and Instagram are both trialing removing likes from posts, which means companies will need to find new ways to ensure updates are seen. Experience management will equip companies with deeper consumer insights so they can create content that is relevant and resonates emotionally – all of which increases the likelihood customers will share or talk about it online.
8. Videos will get even shorter with Quibi
Quibi - a new mobile-first short form video streaming platform - is set to launch in Spring 2020. The platform has already announced 30 different projects and brand partnerships, including a number of big Hollywood personalities including Chrissy Teigen, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spieberg, Kevin Hart, and Tyra Banks. The shows will run from 7 to 10 minutes long and present new opportunities for marketers and brands to reach new audiences.
9. Brand experiences will eclipse ads
To immerse consumers in the brand, the best businesses will launch experience-led activations. Giving customers a taste of what’s on offer will boost loyalty, satisfaction, and ultimately conversion and retention.
10. Brand expertise is brought back in-house
More brands will seek to move their research needs in-house, driven by the realization that today’s modern research platforms are powerful and easy to use. While cost savings are a driver for bringing this expertise in-house, the durable business benefits allow brands to own their brand experience data and the insights that enable everyone in the company to make faster informed decisions.
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