Branding Trends we’ll see in 2014

Pantone, the world’s authority on color, announced that the color trend for 2014 will be Pantone Radiant Orchid, meaning that we’ll see a lot of purple palettes in the year ahead.

What are some of the other brand-related trends we’re likely to see next year?

The Adwiz took a look around the web to see what marketing communication experts were saying. Here’s what we’ll be seeing more of.

Adwiz branding trends of 2014 - getting real

Getting real

In 2013, we came to terms with the realization that nothing we do, even in the privacy of our homes, is private. With the NSA and who-knows-what other government agencies looking at everything we do and say no matter where we are, there has been a growing trend towards being real. Photos of people in 2014 brand messaging will be much more organic, based on real-world demographics rather than some ideal model look. We’ll see older people with all the character of age lines in place. We’ll see figures in a wider variety of shapes and sizes. We’ll see people in casual poses and more realistic settings than the overly-staged approach that has been the norm in the past.

We’ll be seeing parents more involved with their kids, especially fathers being more natural as they reflect real-world parenting situations.

And speaking of men, beards won’t be limited to Movember anymore. We’ll see increasing stubble, from fashionable five-o’clock shadows to actual beards. But, just as men’s hair styles are getting shorter, even full beards will be restrained and well-groomed.

As part of this overall trend towards authenticity, I think we’ll also see more use of hand-drawn artwork and handwritten fonts, as well as more organic graphic design structure.

Adwiz branding trends of 2014 - lens flare

Lens Flare

The trend towards lens flare was already starting to appear towards the latter half of this year, and will increase in popularity in 2014. Previously regarded as a technical error, lens flare has become an artistic element that speaks of a casual type of photography that didn’t utilize professional equipment or complex setups. This is all part of the trend towards authentic elements in brand communications.

Along the same lines, we’ll see more photography that suggests hand-held, spur-of-the-moment shots rather than something deliberately staged. In the aftermath of political leaders posing for a selfie, look for such extreme executions as executive group shots also done as selfies.

Adwiz branding trends of 2014 - experiences over things

Celebrating Experiences over things

We’ll see less emphasis on products as things and more on how they are used to create experiences. What does this mean in terms of brand expression? Instead of showing products isolated as individual product shots, we’ll see more examples of products playing a role in the experiences we enjoy. Bottles of alcohol, rather than shot on a tabletop set, will be featured in the background of a party scene. Likewise, everything from cars to computers will be featured in more granular ways, being used and forming the basis of greater enjoyment of life.

Advertising will emphasize the experience of using products, making the experience more important than the features-and-benefits marketing structure we’re used to thinking of. Think of the remarkable new Chanel No. 5 commercial featuring the newly released recording by Marilyn Monroe. It’s all about experience. In the process of feeling the emotions, we experience the essence of the product itself.

In the shadow of such changes, there will be business opportunities for companies offering experience-based products. People will look for rentals of things normally out of reach, unusual restaurant experiences and more. Consider the increasing popularity of “Dark Table,” a restaurant experience with no lighting where you have to feel your way through dinner. Travel and adventure will become more visible and sought-after as adults of all ages seek to re-create the life-changing experiences of youth.

Adwiz branding trends of 2014 - collaboration


No man is an island, and as our global community becomes more connected so will we as individuals. Not necessarily in a physical way, although we may seek out more face-to-face interaction. But we are certainly becoming more interested in working together to achieve goals. Networking will continue to grow as a key marketing element. Companies will increasingly form alliances to build synergy, increase credibility and gain value from the additional recognition.

Adwiz branding trends of 2014 - localization


Yes, we’re living in a world in which we’re ever more willing to go outside our local environment to do business. But we’re becoming more aware of the power of local connections. Mobile devices, pinpointing our location, can and will be used more frequently to personalize our shopping experiences. For example, iWallet used in Apple stores already allow shoppers to buy products in the store using their mobile device and walk out without having to wait for a cash register. We’ll get loyalty rewards for responding to spur-of-the-moment offers made as we enter in the mere proximity of a retail store. Marketers should ensure that they are maximizing these opportunities.

As Google continues to add search engine value to websites that have a mobile element, responsive design will be increasingly important in both website and Email design. If your site is a few years old, this is a good time to look towards a mobile-friendly redesign.

What are your predictions for brand or marketing-related trends? Use the comment form below to share your thoughts.

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George Pytlik

George Pytlik has been involved in the advertising industry for over 30 years and designed his first website when the Internet was one year old. He was an internationally recognized speaker on advertising and branding and served on a number of communication committees at various times throughout his career, as well as writing a regular column for Marketing magazine.

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