NEW YORK, Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- CoreBrand, a leading brand strategy and communications firm, and creator of the Corporate Branding Index®, today announced trends to watch for among U.S. companies from Founder and Chairman of CoreBrand Jim Gregory.
"This will be a year like no other, as many companies have trail blazed new and resourceful paths to differentiate themselves as stand-alone brands," commented Mr. Gregory. "A fascinating and innovative marketplace has emerged out of the economic dark ages, spanning from 2007 until now," he added.
Trends To Watch In 2014:
- Bootstrapping & Entrepreneurial Resurgence: Enough with the stalemate in Congress and with the sluggish economic recovery. American business is rolling up its sleeves. The whole country is ready to get things done the old fashioned way – by bootstrapping. Bootstrapping is "having less financing costs and finding alternative resources to achieve success." Established companies with thin resources are seeking out new and innovative ways to finance their enterprise and start-ups are doing it as a way to launch new ventures.
- The Rise of Crowdfunding in Mainstream Funding: The demise of the traditional banking system, which has historically been the finance engine for small business, has faded as a resource for funding. This funding vacuum has given entrepreneurs the impetus to seek out innovative methods to finance new ventures. Crowdfunding will become more sophisticated and mainstream in 2014 and be a key catalyst for fueling innovative ideas. The breakthroughs of Crowdfunding will have everyone from investment bankers to entrepreneurs rethinking how to finance and scale growth.
- The Scalability of the Collaborative Economy: The collaborative economy is an expanding growth innovation that is emerging in the technology and business services sectors. New partnerships and alliances are being fueled out of necessity – as it is simply an effective way to success. Today's technologies provide entrepreneurs with new product creation and resource sharing abilities to network and find solutions, rather than use precious funds on equipment and people.
- Emergence of "Local" Artisans: On the heels of a sluggish economy, we are seeing an emergence of local uprisings on many levels. This concept is now appearing in consumer goods. The rise of Artisanal brands will increase in the U.S. There will be more varieties of brands in categories once dominated by giants companies (liquor, beer, soft drinks) spawned by start-ups with a "local" feel. There is something inherently American about this leading-edge trend driven by consumers supporting "organic" and "local" initiatives. Technologies and online forums will continue to fuel the momentum of these start-ups at a significantly higher rate.
- Increase in Customer Interaction and Honesty: Consumers have more power than ever and demand answers. There will be an increase in direct interaction between companies and their customers through social media (comments, product changes, customer input). This will put pressure on companies to be more authentic in marketing and focus on honesty about ingredients, processes, and benefits of the products. Honesty will be the power behind marketing moving forward.
- Convergence of the Physical and Digital Experiences: Physical and Digital interactions are coming together across a wide spectrum. Smart phones are delivering data while you shop, or watch TV. Tablets are letting you interact with television real-time. Conferences will focus on gathering and transmitting streams of data while hosting live audiences and speaker forums. This convergence of Physical and Digital is also taking place in real-time manufacturing. While 3D printing has been available for decades, it is becoming more sophisticated and very inexpensive to own a 3D printer. The MakerBot is one starter level 3D printer for only $3000. This technology is quickly evolving from rapid prototyping to mass customization manufacturing.
- Content-Driven Marketing and Communications: Consumer influence will continue to evolve the role of business marketing and communications. Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) will become even more engaged in the business operations to better face the ever-changing challenges. Content takes a seat at the head of the branding table as a key value proposition on how companies engage with customers. Customers will seek more information, through all channels than ever before and become more thoroughly educated before moving to an action/outcome.
- Big Data No Longer a Buzzword: "Big Data" will stop being a buzzword, as companies engage in the deeper use of responding with comprehensive information backed by thorough data. The CMO's role will become more influential than the Chief Information Officer (CIO) by embracing and leveraging "Small Data" (contextualized Big Data) to grow revenue and enterprise value. As this develops, the CMO's tenure will lengthen and the career path will ultimately lead to the next generation of CEOs.
- Brand Stewardship Isn't Gone: Corporate America has indeed joined the "warm and fuzzy" bandwagon - a very positive development. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability programs will continue getting attention at the board level in major companies. Employees, communities, media, customers, and shareholders are raising expectations about the role of corporations to take and maintain a leadership position in implementing high-level CSR and Sustainable standards.
- Outlook for the U.S. is Decidedly Upbeat: For the first time in decades the U.S. is seeing a trend towards lower cost of domestic energy. When combined with a drive for success among its work force, new innovations, lower borrowing and marketing costs, the U.S. will become even more competitive globally with its manufacturing efforts. By keeping costs in line, more consumers will be seeking out American made products.
CoreBrand, an independent branding firm and is the only firm that links brand identity to financial performance through data and analysis. CoreBrand helps organizations understand, build, express and measure their brands. Thanks in part to its unique CoreBrand®Analysis, the company is able to gauge the impact of a brand initiative upon the success of an organization. CoreBrand is the creator of Corporate Branding Index®, a 23 year old index that provides continuous benchmarking data, insights and corporate brand valuation for over 1000 companies, across 54 industries.
About James R. Gregory
James R. Gregory is the founder and Chairman of CoreBrand, a global brand strategy, communications and design firm headquartered in New York, with offices in Los Angeles and Tampa. He helps clients develop strategies to improve their corporate brands and bottom-line performance. James is credited with developing pioneering and innovative tools for measuring the power of brands and their impact on a corporation's financial performance. He has written four acclaimed books on creating value with brands: Marketing Corporate Image, Leveraging the Corporate Brand, Branding Across Borders, and most recently, The Best of Branding.