• 2013 – The Year Cultural Traction Will Arrive & Some Trends to Look Out For

    Post by Jeff Lawrence: A fantastic study by Added Value shows a new way to look at branding. That is, the level of Cultural Traction that a brand has. As we head to 2013 we feel it is vital to dig up this metric and run through the key basics of it.

    Added Value says that, “Great brands are constantly evolving.  And one of the strongest indicators of change is culture. Added Value measures a brand’s vibrancy in culture, and the extent to which it is gaining or losing traction.  We call this Cultural Traction. ™” This is broken down into 4 core areas, these are the level to which a brand is: Visionary, Inspiring, Bold and Exciting. It conveniently spells the word VIBE. VIBE is the measure of brands Cultural Traction.
    The study (started in 2010), and repeated again in late 2011, is to measure brands’ VIBE score. They spoke to 7500 people, age 16+, across 9 broad sectors, and people provide feedback on 1 of 50 brands they were randomly assigned to. To qualify, the 7500 participants needed to have heard of and have some familiarity with the brand. Let’s go through each one and give examples of what brand scores well for each (all 2011 US results).

    Visionary - Leading the Way & Getting Our Attention
    The top scoring brands being perceived as the most visionary (in order, highest first): Apple, Google, Amazon, Sony and Microsoft. See the full list here.

    Inspiring - Have a Point of View & Stand for Something You Want to be a Part of
    The top scoring brands for being the most inspiring are (in order, highest first): Google (looks like the privacy issue has not impacted this), Sony, Apple, Amazon and Samsung. See the full list here.

    Bold - Have Swagger With Substance – Victoria’s Secret Makes the Top 5!
    The top scoring brands for being the boldest are (in order, highest first): Sony, then Apple, Amazon and Google (all equal) with Victoria’s Secret in fifth. See the full list here.

    Exciting - Disruptive & Have Momentum
    The top scoring brands for being exciting are (in order, highest first): Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. See the full list here.

    Overall Top Places
    The brands that have the highest VIBE score, a combination of all of the four metrics above are: Apple, Google, Amazon, Sony and Microsoft. All of these share one simple rule, they make it very easy for people to get what they are about. Google do this through their simple interfaces and easy-to-use products, Apple do this by having such clean communication and minimal features. Amazon makes shopping easy and Facebook and Microsoft know what people really want to do (don’t forget that Microsoft have a stake in Facebook valued at $1.36 billion and their search powers the back end of Facebook when you look someone up through their search box.)

    What This Means?
    Get simple in a smart way, or as we call it Advanced Simplicity™. It means, if your brand is big or small you must always think forward as to what trends are coming up for the next year and beyond that. At all times you must think about your brand and if it is on point for the next 12 months and past that. Even if the research shows up content you think is wrong you should at least think very hard as to why you are ignoring this information. Sometimes the output of trends that build ideas can make you not have faith in the final product, if that is the case then ask yourself why you want to buck the trend and what are the pros and cons of doing this, a risk assessment. In fact, mixing this up in the with an educated risk can improve your VIBE score with regards to Exciting.

    For Tech
    With the growth of mobile gadgets a site that works well on all platforms is vital and 2013. With tablet sales expected to hit 100 million by the end of 2012 you see that having content that works at an optimum no matter what the screen size can no longer be ignored. And this is all about responsive web design. Ethan Marcotte is a good person to keep an eye on in this subject; his site ethanmarcotte.com will give you a good background on this as he is the author of Responsive Web Design.

    As said, mobile is vital for this industry too and if money is a worry then simply using sites such as howtogomo.com from Google will help you. This site will test to see how mobile ready your site is and provide an easy to download PDF report. Next year you can’t ignore free tools like this any more as consumers don’t want to be frustrated at your mobile offering.

    For Data
    Data, data, data is what people have been saying for years. But the biggest error is companies became obsessed with the most stunning scorecards and not look at next steps. The reason this is an error is that if you have no-one on the ground to action the data, the data is not connected to a wider group then it is just going to gather digital dust. That’s where actionable analytics comes into play. Making data work hard for you and making all members of your organisation know this is a must for 2013. A creative must know words such as MVT, A/B and more to succeed in 2013. Gartner have a good breakdown of 10 trends for 2013 here.

    For Fashion
    If you are in fashion you can use sites like Vogue Trends, Fashion Trends which will both give you a good idea of what colours, styles and more are round the corner. ASOS is a great company when looking at how to sell fashion on-line. You should look at reports such as econsultancy’s study on their eCommerce offering and see how their approach can work for you. 

    In this industry mobile will be king for many, and this is set to really take hold in 2013 (yes they always say that, but sooner or later it will). Also, for colours of advertising campaigns for 2013 you can’t ignore sites like Pantones’s and their easy-to-read colour trends for 2013. And, if you need to know the codes for these colours you can use colourPicker 0.9 which is a plug-in for chrome that will help you click on an image and know the tone. There, simple, within this one paragraph you know have all the colour tones you need to know for 2013.

    So, for next year you have to know your data, know how to think in the right way and always have a think about your VIBE score, after all a party with a bad vibe is no party people will stay at. Your party will have no Cultural Traction!