Top 5 branding trends that every small business must embrace in 2016

By January 25, 2016 September 6th, 2019 Freebies

Today, I’d like to share 5 marketing trends that I find extremely important for everyone who has a business or plan to start one in the close future. But first, here’s a confession: I don’t really care about trendy stuff… What?! This whole intro turned upside down, girl!

OK, just to put everything back into order, I don’t care about those trends that aggressively push us, customers into “buying mode”.

During my university years, I worked as a hostess for an advertisement agency. It was a great job for a student and it taught me some important marketing lessons. For example: how I don’t want to advertise my future business.
One time, I represented a big chocolate brand in a shopping mall. I remember, I had to wear a purple cowgirl costume – which in Europe meant a puffy skirt, a corset and a blouse that immediately increased my breast size from B to D. So I was in this ridiculous dress, and I had to convince people to buy chocolates in the new packaging. The company was tricky, they put less chocolate into a bigger box. Everyone thought that they got a discount and made a good deal, and I felt horrible. Since then, these marketing campaigns have slowly disappeared. But for a few young adults – like me – they provided valuable experience, they showed how big was the gap between brands’ marketing tactics and real customer needs.

2016 branding trends - old marketing tricks - Andimaginary Design

Nowadays, if I hear about a marketing, design or branding trend, I always try to explore it from the customers’ viewpoint. Is it something that will disappear like the hostess in cowgirl costume and the dishonest packaging? Or is it part of the big progress to make B2C communication more transparent and human? I spent a few days this January with reading about these trends and I’m very exciting about the direction we are heading.


Branding trends 2016 - Humanising - Andimaginary Design
#1 Show the human part of your business
[bctt tweet=”Branding and marketing will move toward using more human attributes to connect emotionally with consumers. “]

What does this mean for your small business?
Show yourself, your work methods, your inspiration. People value meaningful relationships these days, even with brands. Your business can be their new best friend. You just have to listen and don’t hide the human imperfection of your business. No one cares about shiny, spotless campaigns any more. Show that you made mistakes, tell your customers how you learnt from these and how you used this experience in your business. Tell them – through honest and real stories – how your products will make their life better like they did it for you.

Branding trends 2016 - Responsive Design - Andimaginary Design
#2 Responsive websites are not optional any more
[bctt tweet=”Mobile is now the 1st screen. Customers must get great UX & all the desktop functions on mobile devices.”]

I loved how Ernesto Olivares framed this on his blog, Visual Stories“As a rule of thumb, if your users can’t fully experience or enjoy your website while using their phones on their daily metro commutes, then your whole site needs to be revised.”

What does this mean for your small business?
Your website is one of your most important presence, especially if you sell products online. If you haven’t made your website responsive yet, 2016 is your last chance. Google already rank responsive websites higher in search result, who knows what comes next.

So it’s time to spend a lot of money to fix your website, isn’t it? Not exactly!
There are many other options for those who are on a low budget. Responsive WordPress themes, Shopify and Squarespace are just a few of the possible solutions. But it worth to have at least a consultation with an expert so that you know where to start the big website makeover.

Contact me to get a free 30-minute Skype consultation and get personalized solutions. Recommended even for total code-phobics.

Brandingg trends 2016 - Usability - Andimaginary Design
#3 Focusing on Brilliant User Experience will lead to great products
[bctt tweet=”No one will care about how cool your website looks if it’s not usable.”]

What does this mean for your small business?
This trend is again a design oriented one but it has a big effect on online sales. People are less patient nowadays so websites that load slower or interrupt users in their browsing experience will quickly lose visitors. And this means they will lose income too.

A few ways you can improve user experience (UX) on your website:

  • Make navigation easy-peasy
  • Format pages so that they are scannable and readable
  • Use pop-up content (like the nowadays so popular but super  annoying interstitials web pages) only in relevant situations
  • Make page load time shorter by optimizing your content and code
  • Put relevant content above the fold
  • Site security: serve your website over HTTPS instead of HTTP
  • Make your website mobile friendly (as it was mentioned earlier)
 20160124_trends-5
#4. Focusing on Brilliant User Experience will lead to great products
[bctt tweet=”2016 will be the year when online businesses start ignoring stock photos. Happy dance!”]

Do you remember those boring and unoriginal corporate about page photos? You know, they usually include people shaking hands with perfect, tooth paste advertising smiles in a laboratory white environment. Well, fortunately you’ll see less and less of these.
Does it mean that it’s over for stock photo sites? No, I think that stock photos made by talented photographers are still valuable assets for any small business. But when it comes to your key web pages, stay away from them unless you want to look like everyone else out there.

What does this mean for your small business?
You must be original and as I mentioned above, show the human part of your business. Visuals are extremely important part of this process as they attract readers more than text. So why would you use the same dull stock photos as everyone else when you want to emphasize how awesome your business is? It’s time to think in a different way.

You can make your own photographs and show the colleagues you work with, capture behind the scene moments and the cooperation with your clients. You can also hire an illustrator to create custom illustration for your website and marketing campaigns. Or make them yourself like I did for this post.

Branding trends 2016 - Importance of video - Andimaginary Design
#5 Video and live streaming

As I said, visuals are very important when it comes to your blog or corporate website. Even on social media, pictures get more shares than text content. There’s only one thing that can beat them: video.

What shows this better than Youtube? Youtube is the second most used search engine and third most popular website in the world (Google and Facebook are the first two). Or take Facebook and Instagram. Animated gifs and short videos get 10 times more shares on these platforms than static pictures.

What about live streaming?
Thanks to Periscope, we got introduced to an entirely new social medium last year. Known as live-stream social, this video platform enables users to live-stream videos to their followers. Basically, you can have your own TV channel if you want. Isn’t that cool?

What does this mean for your small business?
Introducing your business in video and keep in touch with your loyal customers through live streaming is more than possible but not everyone has started it yet. So why not be among the first ones?

I’m going to be honest, I haven’t tried video yet. But it’s among my goals for this years to overcome my fears and get in front of the camera.

So what about your favorite trends for 2016?

Is there any other trends that made you jump up and down in excitement? I’m more then excited to hear your opinion. Please leave a comment below or on my Facebook page.

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