7. The rise of brands with stories at the core

Tim Lawrence

Head of Strategy & Planning

What is it?

It’s getting harder for brands to stand out, with pressure from price commoditisation driven by falling consumer confidence and a slowing economy, and more competition in digital channels where using data and automation is becoming the norm. 

In 2020, we will see brands creating distinctiveness through greater cultural and contextual relevance, and by putting brand stories, or even purpose, at their core.  

How will this impact you?

In many categories, ‘mass middle’ brands are struggling, and those seen as worth the price premium (or those who offer best value) are growing. But while average disposable income is actually rising, it’s driven by the richest fifth (Office of National Statistics);  the average income of the poorest fifth of the population after inflation contracted by 1.6% in the financial year ending in 2018, while the average income of the richest fifth rose by 4.7%. 

This means most brands, not targeting the richest fifth, are fighting for a share of wallet that isn’t getting any bigger. With more price-conscious consumers, standing out from the competition has never been more important. 

To compete, brands need to be known for both quality and value in the mind of the consumer. They need to be the brand that consumers want to buy into – the brand they feel they have an affinity with. 

So, in 2020, more brands will be built on brand stories, upping communications that tap into motivators that drive purchase decisions, as well as brand-to-consumer relationships. 

The iCrossing view

Understanding your existing and potential customers is a key theme for 2020; with more actionable data available than ever before, brands need to pull this lever to gain competitive advantage. But they also need to think beyond data, finding an authentic identity built on intrinsic (and therefore proprietary) brand values, rather than solely product benefits. 

Brand purpose has become a hot topic, but while brands should have social responsibility, brand values don’t need to have social purpose. They should look for ways to connect with the right consumers through shared, relevant cultural moments, content territories and contexts.



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iX 2020 Trends

2020 Trends

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