Over the past month we have been witness to endless designer collections at New York, London, Paris and Milan’s fashion weeks so, with this in mind, I wanted to impart my own knowledge on the top brand and marketing trends that I feel will feature heavily this Autumn/Winter of 2012!
1. DO play on your cool card!
Brands that have managed to earn a coveted ‘cool status’ should use this as their competitive advantage in the market to set them apart from the rest. This week Apple took Aston Martin’s previous spot as the coolest brand in the UK in a Top 20 also featuring brands including YouTube, Google and Ben & Jerrys. Interestingly, the survey identifies that a quarter of the Top 20 are free to consumers suggesting cool is more than the price tag attached to a product (but more on that later!). That said I predict an interesting Christmas battle between Apple’s newly designed earphones and Dr Dre’s Beats headphones both of which have built up a cool status amongst young, fashion conscious consumers.
2. DO consider Halloween as a marketing trend
Halloween was once seen as an Americanised event that had little impact in the UK but attitudes are changing and love it or loathe it Halloween can spell huge commercial opportunities for brands. The event is now the UK’s third biggest festival behind Christmas and Easter with sales topping over £300 million in 2011 with this figure set to rise by 12.5% in 2012. American owned Wal-mart’s Asda brand currently has over 50% of the UK’s Halloween retail market that is predominately made up of confectionary, pumpkins, party food and fancy dress sales. I predict a 2012 trend for further special edition Halloween products such as Cadbury’s ‘Screme Egg’ and Mr Kipling’s ‘Fiendish Fancies’ as retailers look to capitalise on sales between the Back to School and Christmas events.
3. DO embrace social marketing
With 8 in 10 British internet users now being active on social media (and 68% of these being Facebook users) the majority of brands now have a social media presence. However, I predict that brands are going to have to increase their consumer interaction to ensure effective social marketing. There is an increasing trend for brands to involve consumers on social media platforms, including Cadbury’s recent Dairy Milk Bubbly secret flavour launch on Google+ that invited nine consumers to taste the product whilst streaming their reactions live via the Cadbury YouTube channel. With Christmas looming I predict further product launches using this social method to involve the ever technologically savvy consumer.
4. DO make your brand stand out from the crowd
With retailers reporting sluggish retail sales and London 2012 failing to provide the retail spark that was predicted for many retail brands, it is all about capitalising upon the peak Christmas trading period. But with consumers still feeling the pinch, how do brands stand themselves apart from their rivals? My answer and predicted trend for the season… create an emotional bond with the consumer. John Lewis’ latest advertising campaign following a couple trapped in opposing decades focusses little on the products but instead focusses on a story that has got Britain talking. However, I predict that Marks and Spencer’s decision to use a child with down’s syndrome for their Christmas advertising will strike a chord with families and prove fruitful for the brand’s Christmas ranges.
So there you have it, there are my predictions for the marketing trends of Autumn/Winter 2012! Feel free add your own marketing predictions in the comments box below…