Branding is big these days. Obviously. I have observed that in recent years everyone in the design business is also claiming to be a branding expert. But what are the true branding experts observing?

An article from DesignWeek in the UK illustrates how brands are positioning themselves as more emotional, and exploiting their softer, more human elements. This trend has been developing for a while, but when you compare it to the strong-arm mentality of the 1950s and 60s, it’s a revolution in the making. And in the near future, our ability to connect is only going to matter more.

…designers should prepare to welcome ‘soft branding’ with an awareness of the rise of the feminocracy and indulgence decade … this does not mean that branding and packaging should be pink, but it is about making products more intuitive – like the ‘feminine’ Apple Mac, in contrast to the more masculine Dell design.

Another trend that is upon us is the new focus on micro-markets and other customised services. The carpet-bomb approach to retailing, advertising, and marketing in general is dead — consumers want something made for them, not for the entire neighborhood. Check out the article to read more »

Whether soft or hard, branding is big business — and it’s doing quite well. WPP, that big old advertising and communications conglomorate has reported that its branding-firm children like Landor Associates, The Brand Union, Addison, The Partners, and Fitch “have been singled out as having performed particularly well in 2007.” The news comes once again from DesignWeek.

[WPP]’s branding, identity, healthcare and specialist communications revenues rose by more than 14 per cent. This area of the business accounted for 28.7 per cent of the group’s total revenues in 2007.

Yikes! Can I get my share please?

So what’s on tap for 2008 in the world of branding? Are clients growing tired of the potential controversy that can arise from a new logo (ahem, London 2012) or will they continue to welcome the order amid the chaos of the 21st century business world? We’re seeing full-throttle branding played out in public spaces, the arts, sporting and business events, and even cities and states themselves. Political candidates are learning to love the big B as are businessmen, authors, and even regular people on their facebook pages, etc.

Branding is everywhere, and wherever it goes, I’ll be there too.