A brand’s focus towards making the year an efficacious one.

Identifying opportunities and trends gives every brand to be on top of the industry and successfully surpass competitors. It is crucial to understand the popular industry trends and tactics so as to reduce the risk of losing potential or current business associations. Having said that, it’s vital to cull out a definite brand strategy that empowers businesses to coherent a unique identity that helps register in the minds of the target audience. It’s rightly said that ‘Consumer is the king’, hence the year of 2018 is going to be more consumer-centric, to make sure they have a unique experience, not just with the product but also with the brand. Talking about brands, branding has seen a wave of change that has been noticed in how agencies are striving to stand out from the rest. It’s important to be in the game and hence below are some game-changing trends, the market is heading into 2018:

Artificial Intelligence

Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) improve branding? The answer is YES. Artificial Intelligence has slowly been taking on larger roles in the branding industry, by creating engaging customer experiences. There seems to be a great demand in today’s competitive marketplace about appealing customers and hence brands are considering Artificial Intelligence as the heart of technological advancements. This year will see brands using AI as a core growth strategy to reach out to a wider audience. Understanding AI as a tool will give brands an edge over others and will help identify the right equilibrium that perfectly fits their purpose. According to a report released by MIT Technology Review and Genesys, more than 90% of renowned companies with great brand recognition and high levels of customer satisfaction use Artificial Intelligence solutions to increase customer satisfaction and enhancement. Adoption of AI by some of the global identities like Amazon, Google and Apple has created a distinct place for them in the industry. Talking about UAE, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has recently launched the world's first initiative for measuring customer happiness by using AI technology, thus building a desired momentum towards being a successful brand. In the world where technology is taking a leap, no one desires to believe in the concept of ‘slow and steady’, rather everyone wishes to be a trendsetter.

Retail sector enhancements

The retail sector has never been lagging in terms of trends, and so, this time as well it proves to be an absolute trendsetter, by giving emphasis towards customer shopping experiences. The retail sector is among the other few sectors, who are on the run to make sure every customer has a memorable involvement with the brand. With Amazon acquiring Souq.com and with the rise of noon.com, shopping experience and brand interaction with consumers, in the Middle East has only seen an enormous change. This change of creating remarkable customer experiences has not just been adopted by online players, but also has been embraced by traditional brick and mortar stores. These traditional stores are finding ways to make the target audience leave the comfort of their home and visit the stores to experience the brand and the product. 2018 will see the retail sector more inclined towards making customers feel involved and friendly. Customer involvement will also be considered as one of the key to increase sales and reach the desired business objectives.  Stating the picture-perfect example would be of the Apple stores which are globally turning their spaces into more community driven spaces, with their 'Today at Apple' concept.

Employer branding

Another increasing trend over the years and a vital component for businesses looking to recruit top talent is, employer branding. This is considered as an important tool to upsurge current employee satisfaction. Businesses have been facing tremendous competition these days and during this time, what will help them be successful, would be attracting competitive resource pools. In today’s world, employees have a major influence on any brand just the way consumers have on corporate brands, thanks to social media and other websites.  Thus, employer branding is given detailed attention to make sure they stand out from other potential employers. Global brands such as Google, L’Oreal and Microsoft have strong employer brand strategies to embrace employer branding, thus leading to maximum employee satisfaction.  Some brands think it’s crucial to give dedicated focus towards investing in the happiness and comfort of their employees and this is what helps them have a successful team and in turn a flourishing business. Having adopted a different route towards employee satisfaction, companies feel that they can no longer simply rely on recruiting efforts to build the brand image.

Cryptocurrencies getting mainstream

The UAE has adopted various technological advancements and the year 2018 has some definite plans. 2018 would be a year of blockchain, to make sure all paperless bids are recorded and linked in an impenetrable network. The UAE government has been particularly emphasising on the Smart Dubai project and a part of the initiative is to allow property ownership to change hands directly through blockchain. On the other hand, cryptocurrencies have made a crucial way into the UAE’s ecosystem and this important technological innovation will have the potential to change the way business transactions are conducted. Safety has always been a concern in terms of financial dealings, however with cryptocurrencies coming in, it will not only keep a detailed update of the transactions, but also about record keeping. It is said to change the way

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