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Brand Strategy

Looking to amplify your brand in 2024? Here are 5 trends to help you do it

Beanstalk

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March 4, 2024 | 8 min read

From simplified messaging to brand collaborations - here are the top strategies for brand amplification in 2024, says Allison Ames (president and CEO, Beanstalk).

Every year, companies take a deep look at what will make their brand stand out. As a licensing and brand extension professional, I spend a lot of time thinking about what strategies and trends will resonate with consumers and build brand value. This year, there are five key trends that I believe smart marketers should tap into to strengthen their brands.

So, if your 2024 resolution is to amplify your brand, read on to learn about the trends you should be considering.

Keep it simple

We live in an uncertain and complex world. While that has, of course, always been the case, it feels even more turbulent now. People are craving a simple connection with brands. They want their needs met easily, without hassle. They don’t want to spend extra time understanding a brand’s purpose.

What a brand does (and why) needs to be simply messaged in an easy-to-understand way with products and services that properly reflect its mission.  In other words, know what your brand is, stand by it and succinctly tell its story.  Simple storytelling not only fosters immediate understanding but an easier sense of connection for consumers. 

According to a global survey with more than 15,000 respondents, brand experience firm Siegel+Gale found that 78% of people are more likely to recommend a brand for its simpler experiences and communications – and 64% are willing to pay more for simpler brand experiences. 

To be fair, this isn’t a new trend. Simplicity has been a winning formula for years. Think Google, Apple, Amazon. Their brand results should be proof enough that simple can be plenty.

The age of AI – use responsibly 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly become a daily part of life – and business conversations – for many people across multiple industries. But with this rapid ascension comes many questions, especially about how to use it ethically and responsibly. Unfortunately, that is not so simple.

As brands plan their use of AI – both internally and externally – they’ll need to consider a host of complex issues and questions, including: brand voice (can AI accurately capture the brand tone?), training bias (is training data accurately diverse and representative?), regulatory (are you infringing on copyrights or other laws?), security and privacy (are your systems properly secured?) and employee use (are you providing appropriate guidelines for your talent?).

A number of companies are already deploying generative AI to get ahead. Colgate-Palmolive is using it to create more impactful marketing content as well as e-learning content for its employees. Coca-Cola was one of the earliest to use OpenAI for marketing and consumer experiences. And Tastewise, a proprietary gen AI platform that helps CPGs with new product ideas and market research reports, has listed Nestlé and Mars as users.

Female power

2023 was a year for women. The Barbie movie was a cultural milestone, sparking both feminism and hot-pink Barbiecore fashion. Taylor Swift’s Eras tour was the first to ever gross over $1 billion, causing Michaels Stores to experience a 300% jump in sales of beads and jewelry ahead of concert dates as fans looked to make friendship bracelets for the shows. Beyonce’s Renaissance Tour caused inflation in Sweden as fans' pilgrimage to Stockholm sent hotel prices skyrocketing. Expect that dominance to continue in 2024, and cross into new areas.

Let’s take a look at the rise of women’s sports, for example. We saw new attendance and viewing records last year across multiple women’s sports. A University of Nebraska volleyball game broke the all-time attendance record for a women’s sporting event, while the semifinals of the NCAA Women’s Final Four were the two most-viewed college basketball games ever on ESPN+ (men’s or women’s!). Speaking of which, Caitlin Clark, a college basketball player at Iowa, might be one of the most well-known athletes in sports right now. Last year, the WNBA had its most-watched regular season in 21 years and its highest average attendance since 2018. 

For 2024, two of the top five sporting prospects to watch out for at the Olympics in Paris are women. The first athlete to qualify for the U.S. Olympics team is Katie Grimes, a 17-year-old swimmer. Women’s sports revenue is expected to cross $1bn this year, up 300% from 2021. There’s a lot of opportunity for brands here.

Nothing beats an experience

Location-based entertainment (LBE) has been on the rise for a few years. I expect the experience economy to boom in 2024 and beyond as the post-pandemic trend continues, spurred by a desire for shared connections. Unique, immersive experiences are an effective strategy for brands to engage with consumers across generations, relaying their brand equity in a shareable, fun way. 

Opening in 2024, Mattel will turn its multiple toy properties into a theme park with Mattel Adventure Park, including a Barbie Beachhouse, Masters of the Universe laser tag and a Hot Wheels rollercoaster.

But LBE is more than just theme parks. The FRIENDS Experience allows fans of the popular sitcom to explore set recreations in several cities around the U.S. In London, Monopoly: Lifesized combines the board game with escape rooms and team challenges. Also in the UK, Peaky Blinders Nights at Black Country Living Museum gives visitors the chance to visit the 1920s and immerse themselves in the period drama show.

If your brand’s a good fit for experiential marketing, be sure to consider a licensing model, which can minimize a brand’s up-front investment and maximize success by partnering with an expert operator.

Collabs are still buzzing

Unexpected collaborations continue to be a source of lightheartedness and hype for today’s consumers. For companies, they’re a proven brand extension tool that can generate revenue and impressions – and most importantly, help brands reach new audiences with new touchpoints. In fact, I’d say collabs have become an essential marketing tool. 

Here are some great examples of recent collabs that are unexpected, strategic - and fun.

Doritos and Empirical launched the limited-release Nacho Cheese Spirit, an alcoholic beverage that smells and tastes like Doritos. Pringles partnered with The Caviar Co. to introduce the ‘Crisps and Caviar Collection,’ a limited-edition collaboration that merged the world of high-brow snacking with social media trends. Body care brand Native released a limited-edition collection inspired by Girl Scout Cookies. K-pop supergroup BTS and LEGO created a BTS Dynamite set. Levi’s dropped a collection with Studio Ghibli based on the epic Japanese animated film Princess Mononoke. 

Start the year off thinking about the above, as these five trends have proved successful in building brands and are effective strategies to consider for amplification and disruption. 

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