The most important priorities for brands in 2022

February 13, 2023
B2B Brand strategy Employer branding Marketing communications

As brand research specialists, we explore and analyse changes and trends emerging across various industries. The insights we uncover through this research formulate the basis of strategic brand plans, brand design and brand activation plans.

Unsurprisingly, brands face another turbulent year of change in 2022, however, as we look at the role and responsibilities of brand over the past year, some key insights and opportunities emerge around these four key priorities for the year ahead:

  • Authenticity – consumer trust must be earned and retained
  • Positioning – be clear on your brand positioning – find ways to demonstrate this
  • Sustainability and ESG – action is required urgently
  • Employer branding – employees want an inclusive, flexible workplace with shared values

Authenticity – consumer trust must be earned and retained to keep your existing customers happy and returning

Insight: Consumer behaviour is changing at a rapid rate and it is more important than ever for brands to connect with their customers in a more personalised way and demonstrate their humanity. McKinsey’s Covid-19 Consumer Pulse survey indicated consumers have been switching brands at unprecedented rates during Covid-19.

Opportunity: To win back consumer loyalty, brands must meet consumer needs and start by better understanding each customer. Brands who demonstrate their purpose and show their humanity, empathy and vulnerabilities will resonate with consumers. Brands need to support customers and employees during these challenging times – show generosity, kindness and understanding.

Brand tracking is vital to keep an eye on consumer sentiment towards your brand. Download our Guide to B2B brand measurement or contact us to initiate brand tracking to measure your brand health as we head into 2022.

Positioning – be clear on your brand positioning and purpose – then find ways to demonstrate it with action

Insight: It is expected that the purpose of a brand should go beyond maximising profits. During the pandemic, purpose proved its worth, creating a sense of belonging and a much-needed unifying enabler.

Opportunity: Purpose is the reason to exist and will guide brands through the rapidly changing landscape. The most successful brands incorporate their purpose into their brand positioning: What do I believe? What are my core values? What is our single-minded proposition? What keeps our business heading in the right direction? What sustains it? Positioning is about perception—how your customers think and feel about your brand compared to other options.

Generally, we suggest crafting a positioning statement after in-depth research and analysis of your customers, competition and organisation. However, we’ve recently created The Brand Distillery Workshop where you can uncover the essence of your brand within one day. If your organisation has a pre-existing understanding of its customers and market landscape, this powerful workshop is an ideal way to harness the collective intelligence within your team to define your brand’s positioning or reason for being.

Sustainability and ESG – investors, consumers and employees are all expecting brands to play their part. It’s now time to make those expectations a reality.

Insight: It is no longer a ‘nice to have’; consumers are demanding brands take responsibility when it comes to sustainability and ESG. But it is not just consumers; employees and investors are also expecting brands to step up when it comes to net-zero targets and ESG commitment.

Opportunity: Brands must practice what they preach and start delivering on their sustainability promise. Not only is it the right thing to do but failing to address the issue will potentially affect the bottom line. See our recent article about some of the different types of actions brands can take when it comes to being more sustainable. Brands can also influence consumers to make better decisions when it comes to sustainability.

We’ve also written a lot on the topic of ESG in the financial services industry with our comprehensive report ‘The Outlook for Financial Services Branding.’

Employer branding – employees want an inclusive, flexible workplace with shared values

Insight: There is currently a significant skills shortage and organisations across many industries are struggling to find talent. If you are hiring in 2022, you will most likely be competing for candidates with the right skills and experience. Employee satisfaction in overall terms is lower than normal and a lot of employees are experiencing burnout in response to the ongoing pressures of the pandemic. To gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talent, organisations need to truly understand what’s important to their employees today.

Opportunity: Employees want to work in a company where there is a clear vision and common values, so it’s important to articulate an employee value proposition (EVP) that resonates with your team and is tangible enough so they can proactively embrace it.

In today’s climate, a strong employer brand will help in the recruitment process. Demonstrating acceptance and empathy in relation to an employee’s mental health and flexibility needs is more important than ever as is prioritising diversity and equality within your workplace.

See our recent e-book – The guide to employer branding for more information. This provides tangible tips and suggestions on employee alignment and how to achieve a motivated and engaged workforce.

Looking forward

In 2022, the global pandemic will continue to affect consumer behaviour, trust and loyalty. It is vital to have the right team on your side to help prepare your brand for the next phase of growth.

BrandMatters can tailor a brand research program that will help you better understand your customers, align your brand positioning and priorities and ensure you attract and retain the best employees who will drive positivity and growth for your brand in 2022.

If you would like to begin the process of energising and activating your brand and business strategy this year, reach out to the team at BrandMatters to discuss your unique situation.

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