Insights

Brand Marketing Will Dominate in 2024: Here's Everything You Need to Know

By
The Desiree Team
January 16, 2024
Economic pressures and changing consumer spending habits are fueling a growing demand for engaging brand storytelling that transcends mere product promotion, captivating the audience's aspirations and interests in more profound ways. As we move into 2024, understanding and adapting to these evolving dynamics becomes crucial for brands aiming to not only survive but thrive in this new marketing epoch.

During recent years, brands, especially in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector, have responded to soaring inflation rates by increasing prices. This strategy, a direct reaction to the highest inflation rates in decades, has been a cornerstone for maintaining sales growth. However, it's crucial to understand the nuances of this approach, given the current economic climate.

As of the end of 2023, there were signs of inflation beginning to ease, with a drop to 3.9% in November, marking its lowest rate in over two years. However, projections from the Bank of England suggest that a return to the "normal" inflation rate of around 2% per year might not occur until the end of 2025. This extended period of economic uncertainty demands strategic adaptability from brands.

The UK's economic growth is expected to remain "well below" historical levels. For instance, estimates showed a monthly GDP fall of 0.3% in October 2023. Overall, GDP growth is likely to stay under 1% in 2024, with only modest growth anticipated.

These challenging economic conditions imply that brands cannot depend solely on the broader economy for growth. Alternative methods and innovative strategies are essential to driving sales and revenue in such a constrained environment.

The reduced viability of price increases as a growth lever, coupled with the challenging economic landscape, compels brands to explore other strategies. This shift requires a more nuanced understanding of market dynamics and consumer behaviour. Brands need to be more innovative and adaptable in their approach to growth, considering the economic constraints and evolving consumer behaviours. This involves a deeper dive into market research, consumer insights, and agile marketing tactics.

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Emphasis on Brand Strength

In 2024, the focus will increasingly be on the strength of a brand, moving beyond superficial metrics like clicks on Instagram ads. A strong brand resonates more deeply with consumers, creating loyalty and trust that transcend economic challenges.

The Business of Fashion touches on the remarkable sales growth of Saint Laurent under its current leadership and serves as a prime example of the power of brand development. The brand has focused on reinforcing its identity, value proposition, and connection with its audience rather than solely relying on traditional sales tactics.

The backdrop of financial pressure underscores the value of strong branding in challenging times. Brands that can maintain a clear and compelling identity are more likely to weather economic storms and emerge stronger.

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How can marketers turn brand purpose into real action and business success?

Suzanne Mendes' insights point to the necessity of integrating a company's values across all operational areas, including product development, supply chain, distribution channels, and leadership. This holistic approach is crucial for value-led businesses to thrive in today's market.

Mendes emphasises viewing marketing not just as a cost centre but as a strategic tool for holistic business development. Marketers should build business cases for their strategies, ensuring quantifiable outcomes that align with broader business goals.

Adopting these strategies has led to a 35% increase in brand awareness, improved customer satisfaction, and substantial company growth. These results highlight the effectiveness of value-led marketing in driving both brand recognition and business success.

Key actions include identifying and integrating core values from the inception of a business, understanding the target audience to effectively communicate these values, and employing marketing practices that ensure engagement and establish the brand as an authoritative voice in its sector.

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Get Your Brand Purpose Right: Don’t Leave It to Advertising

Despite criticism and challenges, the brand purpose trend continues. Brands are finding that purpose-driven strategies, when authentic and well-executed, can significantly enhance consumer engagement and loyalty.

Dove, for instance, has maintained a strong commitment to its purpose-driven strategy, focusing on social issues like self-esteem and body positivity. This approach demonstrates that purpose can still be a powerful differentiator in a brand's strategy.

While the concept of brand purpose is encountering challenges, it's not the end. Instead, the evolution is about refining and authenticating these strategies to ensure they resonate genuinely with consumers.

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Brand Purpose vs. Business Purpose

It's essential to differentiate between a brand's purpose and its broader business purpose. While the business purpose addresses the fundamental reasons for a business's existence, the brand purpose should align closely with consumer needs and enhance their interaction with the brand.

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Consumer Consciousness and Brand Choice

In an era where consumers are increasingly aware of social and environmental issues, their purchasing decisions are still primarily driven by brands that satisfy their functional and emotional needs. This emphasizes the need for brands to align their purpose with what consumers truly seek from them.

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Starting with Consumer Purpose

A successful brand purpose should originate from a deep understanding of consumer desires, both in relation to the product category and their broader aspirations. This approach ensures that the brand's purpose resonates authentically with its target audience.

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The key takeaway for brands is to focus on the consumers' reasons and needs rather than starting with the brand's internal motivations. Understanding and aligning with consumer desires ensures that the brand purpose is not just a marketing message, but a core aspect of the brand's identity and value proposition.

As we navigate through 2024, the landscape of brand marketing continues to evolve. Brands facing economic challenges and shifting consumer behaviors must adapt by strengthening their brand identity, aligning with consumer needs, and integrating purpose into their core operations. By doing so, they can turn challenges into opportunities for growth and solidify their position in the market.

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