Branding Trends Borne Out
It’s funny how things come at you in waves. I wrote this blog post earlier this week – Health and Wellness Branding Trends in 2022. A couple days later, I received two articles in my inbox from firstname.lastname@example.org, which tackled a couple of the same subjects I wrote about in my blog. Both provide sound brand building inspiration.
The first article is What A Raft of CPG Rebrands Portend for Marketer Priorities in 2022. The article speaks to how brand refreshes including those from M&M’s and Anheuser-Busch serve to remind brand marketers that they can connect purpose to brand identity – if it’s authentic.
As noted by Chris Kelly in the article, M&M’s and Anheuser-Busch unveiled brand refreshes earlier in January that look ahead to the new year and beyond. Both branding initiatives involved updating brand elements, from logos and mascots to typefaces and colors. But both initiatives also involved surrounding these updates with more strategic branding efforts.
M&M’s Brand Refresh
M&M’s modernized its mascots and put a greater emphasis on the ampersand in its logo – to put a larger emphasis on inclusivity and belonging.
But that’s just one element of a larger (genuine and authentic) brand program. The strategy begins with unifying messages (in M&M’s humorous brand voice), and spans advertising, retail stores, brand activations and the personas and appearance of M&M’s longstanding candy mascots.
The company is backing up the effort with a commitment to increase a sense of belonging for 10 million people globally by 2025. The initiative will be tracked in part through a new M&M’s Fund encompassing financial support, mentorship and resources in the arts and entertainment industry.
Here’s the supporting relaunch video:
Anheuser-Busch Brand Refresh
In the case of Anheuser-Busch, they’ve refined their “A-B Eagle” in a gold that mirrors the color of beer and barley. The logo, which features the eagle in flight and facing to the right, is intended to be more premium and forward-looking than before, reinforcing the company’s new global purpose, “To a Future with More Cheers.
AB’s purpose centers on encouraging growth and creating shared value with consumers and partners; fostering innovation in its portfolio; advancing sustainability and playing a role in the economic recovery of the country by supporting communities.
Here’s the video that supports the brand refresh:
Assessing Efficacy of Branding Efforts
As noted by Karthik Easwar, Associate teaching professor, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business – For these efforts to take root, brand touch ups must be paired with tangible efforts that reinforce and communicate brand values — from sustainability to equity and inclusion — to consumers. Simply put, the refresh can’t stop at the logo.
Both of these efforts reflect what’s critical about staking out brand purpose. Actions speak louder than words for today’s more values-driven consumers, and actions need to be ingrained across the organization from the inside-out. So they’re not just looked at as lip service.
The second article – How Americans ‘Cancel’ Brands, According to Forrester, appeared on mediapost.com. It relates to Trend #8 (Elevating Consciousness) from my post about Health and Wellness Branding Trends in 2022.
The article recaps Forrester’s research to find out exactly how consumers “cancel” brands they no longer support. The number one action demonstrated by 61% of consumers is to stop buying the product. Other actions include no longer recommending it to others (45% of respondents), unfollowing the brand on social media (32%) and “calling it out” in personal posts on social media (20%).
But more important is understanding the “why” behind these actions. Numerous recent studies reveal that consumers are becoming more active about pressuring brands whose products, services — and increasingly, policies and ideologies — don’t align with them.
“In some cases, cancel culture is regarded as consequence culture — conscious appeals for accountability,” Vice President-Research Director Mike Proulx writes in a post on Forrester’s cited, adding, “In other cases, it’s slated as call-out culture — snap condemnations for ostracism.”
As I wrote in my post – consumers have formed new expectations around brand purpose. They’ve elevated the importance of not only the environmental impact of a business but its stamp on everything from racial equality and other human rights to mental health, body positivity and politics.
It’s nice to see these trends borne about by the above.