9 Branding Trends and Tactics for 2020

Harriet Taylor
Brand Strategy Executive
Topic
2020 branding trends

Boost your brand’s success in 2020 by using the latest trends and tactics predicted to drive branding forward this year. We’ve put together a list of the most important trends and tactics that we believe will take your brand to the next level visually and strategically.

Visual branding in 2020

Typography

Brands will use typography as a tool to break through the cluttered marketing environment in 2020. We’ll see two opposing trends develop this year, both trying to make a brand stand out – modern and bold lettering on the one hand and minimalistic and clean typography on the other hand.

Looking at the first trend, rebel and modern typography means that we’ll see more unusual fonts and shapes. More artistic and unique fonts will take over imagery on social media and advertising. This will add to the ways in which a brand can express its personality. Text will go beyond transmitting a message through words and gain a new dimension of expressing a message in a visual way.

The type of font a company goes for shows what kind of brand it is, will grab attention and will even allow audiences to relate to it. A brand that has a fun and easy-going personality might opt for a quirky font to show that off. For example, Pringles have done this brilliantly in the ad below. The ad demonstrates that pringles doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s still distinguished.

Pringles typography
Image source Saahub.com

At the same time, the other end of the typography complexity spectrum will be used increasingly this year. It’s a fact that the marketing scene is more and more cluttered with brand messages, so toning things down is the new screaming in your face. Going back to basics or going the other way when the trends dictate a certain path is a tactic that works when done right.

The serif fonts will make a return this year as hero fonts or bold text replacing images. More clean and simple fonts will be used this year as a way of making a statement and engaging busy consumers. This tendency will expand into logo design too, which leads nicely to our next section.

Logos

Motion design will make a statement this year powered by advancements in online platforms and the type of imagery they can display. For example, LinkedIn now allows its corporate users to upload a GIF image to their profile picture. Many companies have already updated their pictures to moving versions of their logos.

Brands will have to adapt their logos to the multitude of platforms they use while maintaining brand consistency and adhering to their identity. Shape-shifting logo designs will see a company’s logo change depending on where it’s being used while remaining easily recognisable. For example, you might use your full logo on your website for brand awareness reasons, but use a simplified version on your Facebook account because of the image restrictions imposed by the network.

At the same time, a co-existing trend will see logos become more simple. We’ve already seen major brands decluttering their logos and we’ll see more of that this year. If you’re looking to make your brand come across as sophisticated and stand out in a busy communications environment, this is a tactic you should try in 2020.

Brand logos
Image source businessoffashion.com

Colours

Colour is one of the most important elements of a brand and one that makes it unique and instantly recognisable. As a defining factor, a brands’ colours are difficult to change according to short-lived trends, however, they can be adapted or the palette can be expanded to include shades that the audiences prefer.

There is always a colour of the year that brands try to incorporate in their imagery. Pantone has named “classic blue” the colour of 2020, hence we’ll see it being used more. At the same time, designers from all remits or artistic industries predict an inclination to some other colours this year - sunny (saffron and yellow hues) and earth-toned shades (deep browns and saturated greens). This is being influenced by the bigger “going back to nature” trend that has been going on in the last few years, fuelled by eco and sustainability trends.

colours of the year
Image source forbes.com

As with typography, a contrasting trend will also develop in the colour remit in 2020. Some brands will opt for neons and metallic colours, however, these will be warm-toned, gradient and minimal. Brands have already started to blend the gradient and the neon hues trends together to refresh their logos. For example, Mozilla’s revamped logo channels exciting vibes.

Mozilla Firefox neon logo
Image source cnet.com

A trend that favours technology brands, metallics will be paired with minimal branding so they can steal the limelight. This trend is for brands who want to portray themselves as modern, bold and confident.

Brand tactics in 2020

Brand alignment across platforms

Already influencing the design elements of a brand, consistency is not so much a trend but a tactic that will be vital in 2020. New communication platforms pop up every day enabled by developments in technology and every single one brings new requirements with it. In addition to deciding whether you want to be on every platform out there, you will also need to decide how your brand is going to be portrayed. Your brand will need to adapt to marry the platform requirements, the audience’s expectations and its own identity.

If you’re not convinced this is something you need to invest time and effort into, this will change your mind - brand consistency across platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. Make it a priority for your branding team to strategically and tactically consider your brand’s presence online (and offline) this year. Modern technology will enable your team to keep on top of this. Asset management tools and cloud storage will allow your marketers to have access to the right assets no matter where they’re based. 

B2B brands acting more like B2C brands

This trend emerged recently and is going to continue into 2020. As new generations enter the workforce, B2B companies have had to become more informal and adapt to new expectations and values. Millennials as employees and as clients have a different vision and perspective than previous generations and, most importantly, they expect them to be reflected in their environment. 

Established B2B companies will have to continue to review their corporate identity to include new world visions and cater to different needs. One major change is that of becoming digital-first to stay relevant. Industry challengers and disrupting start-ups are forcing existing brands to adapt. For instance, new organisations in the banking industry such as Monzo, Revolut and N26 have set new standards for banking services and branding. Industry giants such as Mastercard, Santander and Halifax have responded by modernising their brands.

Halifax advert
Image source designweek.co.uk

Nostalgia marketing

Nostalgia marketing is a tactic that will help your brand win advocates and boost awareness this year. It’s a tried and tested formula that will make audiences associate your brand with positive memories and happy moments from the past. If you’ve never considered such a tactic, now it’s the best time to try it out.

The commercial boom in the past few years, together with wider social events, has led to a longingness for simpler bygone eras. Associate your brand with success stories of the past and make your audience develop a positive attitude towards your products or services. 

Brand ethics

Also a trend influenced by global emerging social and environmental issues from the last decades, ethical brands and companies with morals will gain more terrain this year. The new generations of consumers have grown up being surrounded by messages about how consumerism damages the planet, so they value brands who give back or limit their impact on the natural world.

Millennials, in particular, prefer brands that are authentic. As Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer shows, only 34% of people trust the brands they buy from, an all-time low. If you want to be part of the 34% this year, consider transparency in your communications about suppliers, processes, materials used, employees and many others including marketing tactics. Take an example from McDonald’s, who ran a campaign on what ingredients go into its food to reassure its customers of the quality of its offering.  

An easy way of being authentic is using real people or non-photoshopped celebrities in your ads. This is a tactic used by global brands such as Dove and Spotify and can help people connect with your brand more easily. Go a step further and include people from different backgrounds, of different ages and with disabilities. 70% of millennials will choose inclusive and diverse brands over those that are not, so you can’t afford to miss out on inclusive marketing this year. Take inspiration from brands such as Fenty Beauty or ThirdLove. 

Dove campaign
Image source dove.com

Another way to up your brand game this year is by becoming more sustainable. Opt for eco-friendly materials and processes to gain competitive advantage. Over half of Gen Zers, Millennials, Gen Xers and 46% of Baby Boomers will pay more for eco-friendly products.

Personalisation

Although not new, personalisation will still be an important tactic for 2020. Whether it’s engraving customers’ names on your products, a thank you note or a bespoke product or service, personalisation will make your brand touchpoints memorable and unique. Think of new and innovative ways you can surprise your audience. Why not try a personalised TV ad? Channel 4 has rolled them out on its on-demand video platform and they feature the name of the user.

People-driven branding

Encouraging trust and engagement in 2020, people-driven tactics will mainly involve two tactics - customers having a bigger say in the offering of a brand and working with micro-influencers.

Research shows that 77% of consumers prefer brands that allow them to co-create new products and services. This instils a sense of ownership and empowerment that differentiate brands from their competitors in the buyers’ minds. A great example is LEGO. The company allows its fans to make new toy suggestions and then selects the best to be produced and sold. 

Word-of-mouth remains one of the most effective marketing techniques and one that has been taken to a new level in the digital age of mass information and person-to-person communication. That’s why micro-influencers will see more and more brands collaborating with them this year, seeking to build on the loyal following that they have developed online. If you’re in a niche industry, this is THE marketing tactic to grow your brand this year.

 

Which trends and tactics are you going to use for your brand this year? If you need any help implementing any of the above, get in touch with our team via info@championsukplc.com, or give us a call on 08453 31 30 31.

Harriet Taylor
Brand Strategy Executive