A Brave New (Entertaining) World
"Avatars are becoming
more popular in marketing. Recently, stars like Ludacris and corporate mascots
such as Tony the Tiger of Kellogg's have been utilized as a form of brand
promotion. Much like a pop-up window, a singer such as Ludacris will appear
on your desktop and walk you through various tasks on your computer (shopping,
web browsing, etc.). He even will sing and dance based on voice-activated or
keystroke commands. For many, this makes the online experience much more user-friendly
and simple. It also provides entertainment and brand strength."
Dave Seidler, Designer
Baer Design Group
"The sports industry is booming like never before. A multi-billion dollar
global business on the cutting-edge of entertainment, new media technology,
and marketing synergies, the sports industry will continue to boom. However,
amid the prosperity, the consumer of sport—the fan—has never been harder to
reach…. To date, fantasy sports have changed the way major sports are viewed.
A multi-billion dollar industry [in its own right], it has yet to be fully
embraced by blue-chip marketers…. I expect that to change as the industry continues
to grow by leaps and bounds, not to mention the prime demographic [comprising]
John Meindl, President/CEO
Sports Branded Media Inc.
Some Things Don't Change
"I believe we will see more
and more brand extensions over the coming years. An example of this would be
World Gym creating its own line of energy drinks. (This is strictly a hypothetical
example.) While World Gym does not have a core competency in energy drinks
or nutritional supplements, it could leverage its brand as experts in the physical
fitness industry to create relevance and credibility for extending the brand
into other niche markets. As companies with established brands gain more awareness
in the marketplace, the brands become a commodity that can be used to leverage
new products into new markets with a reduced amount of risk and a reduced barrier
David P. Smith, President
Envision Creative Group
"Brand identity is more important in 2007 than ever before for small
and midsized companies, which need to establish some recognition before they
go out and try to sell their unknown products and services. Integrated marketing
communications and brand consistency across functions and divisions are imperative."
Todd Baer, Creative Director
Baer Design Group
Think Good and Green
"As we look to the future of branding, my thoughts have moved toward
inspiring and guiding our clients to create new ideas, products, and experiences
that make our world a better place. The tipping point of 'green thinking' has
arrived and more and more people will search for ways to participate or choose
brands that are actively making a difference. I believe—and I am optimistic—that
we are moving toward something new: an era of new opportunity."
John Creson, Executive Creative Director
"Sustainability will be a theme that resonates with consumers as it becomes
better understood; and it will be a focus for companies looking to do well,
while doing good."
Peter Dixon, Creative Director, Retail Design Practice
"More and more celebrities are supporting environmental causes and 'going
green' with emphasis on supporting alternative energy sources…. Cause-related
marketing and PR will continue to rise among brands as an effective tool to
'achieve success by doing good.' Socially conscious baby boomers—who are now
in the decision-making roles in corporate America—are driving this trend, as
are consumers who are much more likely to buy products from companies
they perceive as socially responsible and supportive of causes."
Rita Tateel, President
The Celebrity Source
The Corporate Landscape
"[Worldwide,] 2006 saw some of
the most heightened activity in mergers and acquisitions, across all sectors
of the healthcare industry. As pharma and biotech converge to form potential
powerhouses of the future, companies are going to have to look hard and fast
at the role of the corporate brand as never before.
"Recent levels of attrition in both pipelines and the rate of new drug
approvals coupled with some substantial patent expiries looming on the horizon,
will continue to challenge the way in which companies approach both the development
and management of their product brands. The watchword for the industry in 2007
will be how to make brands work smarter."
Rebecca Robins, Global Marketing Director
Interbrand Wood Healthcare
"[In Europe] I predict a shift from companies focusing on building their
brand experiences to building their customer experiences. With good clothes
you notice how good the clothes look, with great clothes you notice how great
the person looks: so [it goes] with great brands—customers shouldn't notice
the branding, but the great experience."
David Hensley, Senior Partner
Lippincott Mercer London
"[In Eastern Europe] there is a certain surge of the demand of branding
jobs, mainly in the product branding and packaging areas. The shelf has been
rather dull until now, and the EU accession brings also a tide of better-designed
Western products, which put the local brands at a disadvantage in front of
the consumer. Rapid change of consumer lifestyles is another factor to accelerate
Aneta Bogdan, Managing Partner
"[In Asia,] even as media gets fragmented with more customer touch-points
than ever, the importance of brand building cannot be overstated. To a large
extent, the customer still buys with his heart rather than his head, and so
it's imperative that clients and advertising agencies continue to project the
right brand image for a product or service by investing in brand building."
Suresh Kumar, Creative Group Head
Gosh Advertising Pte Ltd Singapore
"[In the US,] corporate fraud, misdeeds, and lies will continue to be
major problems for global and national corporate brands. Most corporations
are still not walking the talk to become more honest, transparent, accountable,
humble, and consistent to build long-term excellent reputations. As a result,
a growing trend with corporation brands continues to be corporations with reputations
"Ironically, fraud and corruption in the corporate world is so bad that
simply doing the right thing has become a major differentiator."
Mike Paul, President and Senior Counselor
MGP & Associates
My own branding prediction? 2007 will continue to follow the laws of nature:
only the fit will survive.