5 non-branding trends for 2015

Branding may be changing, but these things aren’t.

1: Boring names sound like boring products. It doesn’t matter how much we look at the research or optimize its efficiency, if your product has a boring name it isn’t going to help you sell it. Boring, descriptive names are fine when you use them with a strong corporate brand and you don’t want the name getting in the way. For almost everything else, it needs to have some life to it.

2: Getting sued is a stupid strategy. Even in an open-source, sharing economy, trademarks still matter and you’re going to need one that you can own and defend. You may want the free publicity of a high-profile lawsuit, but it’s going to come at a serious cost. Make your trademarks work for you. Use better goods and services descriptions, add distinctive design, and be inventive. This way you can still build a unique brand that’s legal.

3: Logos are more important now than ever. As much as typographers would like it, brands are going to have to use more than Helvetica to represent their business. In our visually driven culture, logos are doing more not less. In fact, some brands like Starbucks, Twitter and Apple are abandoning their names completely and just using an icon. They may have to be smaller, flatter, and simpler, but in a world where differentiation happens at a pixel level, they will matter more.

4: Websites are not dinosaurs facing extinction. Not all websites are good and most still don’t work well on your mobile phone, but unless we get another meteor strike, they aren’t going to disappear overnight. They’re still a great place to share your story, engage with people, and do something meaningful. Yes, they need to be smarter, more social, and more integrated into your business, but you don’t need to get rid of them – you just need to make them work a lot better.

5: Brands will continue to screw up socially. It’s amazing. Like a bad case of Tourette’s, brands will continue to make those uncontrolled outbursts as they attempt to engage through social media. All that immediacy has a downside, and that killer one-liner or shoot-from-the-hip tweet, will continue to be just one character too far. Social media is incredible, but make sure it’s run by someone who actually knows what they’re doing, knows what their brand’s voice is, and always thinks twice before hitting send.