Friday, January 14, 2011

12 for 11

I thought by now, I'd be done posting predictions for 2011, but last night I was reviewing some of the emails that were in my inbox and found this from local advertising agency B.I.G.

The 12 truths of 2011

No crystal ball. No tea leaves. No cootie catcher (if you don’t know, ask your kids). Using the power of Big thinking, we are ready to glimpse into the future with our branding predictions for 2011.

1. Italic fonts are making a strong comeback.
Ten years ago, italic fonts were considered a design faux pas and were relegated to captions and other minimal uses. More and more, italic fonts are finding new life as corporate logo fonts.

2. Microsites will continue to multiply.
More businesses are developing small-scale Web sites to promote a single product rather than one large site to handle the entire product line. Microsites allow businesses to communicate a single, powerful message to prospective customers without distracting or overwhelming them.

3. Muted shades of last year’s colors are going to be popular.
Soft citrus yellow, carnation pink and powder blue are all being combined with light, cool grays for a more reserved, clean look. It’s interesting that most of the popular colors from 2010 are returning in 2011 in softer shades. This may be a reflection of the economy. With branding dollars, or dollars in general, harder to come by, businesses are playing it safe and going with colors that already worked last year.

4. Heavy use of stock photography will continue.
Commercial photographers are finding it harder and harder to compete with the speed and affordability of stock photography. Increased quality and selection make stock photography even more attractive. While stock photography continues to enjoy popularity, the dangers of accidentally "sharing" an image with a competitor still exist.

5. Typography-based designs help slim budgets.
With decreased branding budgets, advertisers are getting more “bang for their buck” by foregoing photography or illustrations, and using typography-based designs. Color, clever writing and type direction will be seen in more ads, brochures, TV, Web sites and banner ads in 2011.

6. Content marketing (aka brand journalism or thought leadership) continues to be strong.
Content marketing attracts customers and prospects—and positions you as an expert. It’s all about creating valuable, educational (and sales-free) content that’ll improve customers’ lives. Examples include e-books, podcasts, videos, newsletters, blogs, workshops and more. To learn more, download our free e-book on thought leadership.

7. Be prepared to react in real-time.
Now more than ever, your brand has to be prepared to act and react as events occur and conversations emerge. This includes not only looking for opportunities, but also making sure you have a savvy team monitoring your reputation on an ongoing basis. Learn more with Real-Time Marketing & PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers & Create Products That Grow Your Business Now by David Meerman Scott. Or check out his free e-book sample.

8. Brands serve more than sell.
With increased parity in every industry, it’s harder than ever to differentiate your brand. So what’s a brand to do? In addition to crafting a compelling brand story, consider this. Define a purpose for your brand and how it uniquely touches and improves lives. For more on this idea, skim this article from one of Procter & Gamble’s marketing execs.

9. Show me the ROI.
Analytics and measurement continue to rise in popularity. Tools like Google Analytics provide a wealth of information that’ll impress your boss, drive real-time marketing decisions and help assess ROI.

10. The shift to blog-style Web sites will escalate.
Today’s Web-savvy market demands real-time information. Rather than wait to accumulate, organize and write formal “white papers” or case studies, businesses in every industry are turning to blog-style Web sites. Short bursts of content covering everything from recent success stories and testimonials to new product or service announcements enable businesses to keep their online content fresh and relevant.

11. Facebook will be full of fan pages.
Why try to convince prospective customers to visit you when you can go to where they are? More and more businesses are creating fan pages on Facebook. Fan pages are loaded with rapid-fire, newsworthy content and updates. Businesses build relationships with customers through interaction. No matter what the industry, businesses are looking to boost their Facebook presence.

12. Facebook pages will be full of tabs.
Facebook tabs are a fast, convenient way to bring traditional online content to where potential customers are. These tabs make it possible to open a microsite within the Facebook page. These microsites can include current news, calendars, FAQs – even opportunities for customers to share their opinions and recommendations with other Facebook users.

Want to see more? Check out our Big Talk archive

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