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Ivan's picture

Brands of the future

starbucks in the future

Let me contemplate for a minute what the logos will look like in let's say 100 years. (I admit the comfortable thing about predicting the future so far ahead is that nobody will be able take you up on it.)

I think three distinct influences will shape the profession of branding and identity design.

Influence 1: Simplicity

The first aspect of branding will be simplicity. This is required because brands will increasingly become international and they will need to talk to multinational audiences who come from different cultural backgrounds. The most simple and universally understood symbols will be the most successful.

Influence 2: Chinese

The second one is the worldwide spread of Chinese characters for global brands. Within a few decades China will be the strongest economy in the world, and as such it will generate the largest brands as well. Just like English dominates the global brand environment because of the anglo-saxon economic and cultural dominance, Mandarin will be a major influence in the foreseeable future.

People will grow up to be comfortable with brands like 日出 (sunrise) ultra healthy cereal and other such Chinese brands.

Influence 3: Going beyond 2D

The third force will be the increasing need for symbols that are not simply two dimensional. They will be animated and 3D. The media of the future will allow for movement and depth regardless if it's a small or big screen. We will see animated holographic branding even on packaging.

I would go even further. I'm pretty sure within 100 years most brands will have an interactive branding identity that will create the ultimate brand experience for the consumer.

Real world objects and especially living things are close to us because of their predictability and interactivity. If you smash a boiled egg against a hard surface it will always make the same cracking sound, and you will always be able to peel it to get to the tasty part. Similarly, if you pet a friendly cat it will always bend it's back and purr the same way.

Brands and products of the future will recreate such unique and recognizable experiences virtually and digitally. If you think this is unreasonable think about what Oreo does today with their twist, lick, dunk campaign. Or what Snapple does with their trivia caps. These brands successfully created a unique experience around their product that goes way beyond 2D graphics.

Imagine if technology will allow for much more. Envision you're in a supermarket and you grab a bottle of Hawaii Brekky pineapple juice. Suddenly, but not unexpectedly 5 holographic hula girls will pop-up to do the Brekky dance to a recognizable jingle you've known since your childhood. When you go home and open the bottle the same girls pop-out again and cheer for you while you drink up. Such experience will be so strong and bonding to your mind you will truly feel sorry for yourself when the supermarket runs out of Hawaii Brekky. I'm sure you can come up with much more involving and better ideas, but you get the point.

minority report

Stretching it even further the brand messages will probably be tailored to your specific areas of interest by pulling your public FB profile. For example if you're a muslim the hula girls will wear more modest clothing to be respectful to your beliefs.

Alternatively we may get really unlucky and the predictions of the movie Idiocracy will come true. Our language and taste will deteriorate resulting in a truly dumb and idiotic brand culture. But, I have more faith in humanity. What do you think?

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ianw6705's picture
5 pencils

I think you are incredibly optimistic .. possibly foolhardy. It's hard enough to predict 10-20 years ahead, let alone a century. I think by 2109 we will be well past the age of fossil fuels, and if there isn't population stabilising/decline, we will be very local, and out of necessity, very hard-working. The best brands to be in will be wheelbarrows, bicycles, seeds, water, fertilizer (non-fossil fuel stuff).

Kids at 15 will be learning to be farmers, fishers, carpenters - just to survive sustainably - not gay young things sipping a 3D Starbucks or zipping around the FaceBook world. My two cents.

Ivan's picture

It's certainly a possibility especially if we gravitate toward socialist and dictatorial systems worldwide. Hope it doesn't happen. I hope we will invent ourselves out of the global issues with the help of science and technology.

seiben's picture
15 pencils

I think you're overlooking the simple fact that most people hate being marketed to... we are bombared at every moment of our waking lives with ads, billboards, commercials, jingles, etc. People are growing more hostile to this ceaseless hyper-marketing where everything from your morning coffee to your prescription medicines insist on taking up valuable real estate in your conscious and sub-conscious mind. Just look at the number one tweak for every major browser: ad-blocking. Look at how many people flock online for their tv shows and movies -- even though they have a perfectly good tv set in their living rooms -- they want to avoid the commercials.

In one hundred years, if the advertising industry even exists at all, it will have evolved into a more subtle, helpful and interactive version of Google, not some screaming, 3D monstrosity that blares 24/7 at all 6 senses. If it does not adjust, society will simply pass it by and create their own solutions, much as the younger generations bypassed the music industry with .mp3s and downloadable media.

Ivan's picture

Very good point. We can add a 4th point. Becoming low key and non intrusive.

jozefk's picture
249 pencils

We will not going to be on this planet too long anymore.

"But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up."
2. Peter 3:7-10

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sandman6665's picture

Interesting topic. Maybe as people living with technologies some may think of something like this (I do some time), but I also think there's a possibility that things be back to basic.But if ever this happen, it would be another great accomplishment to branding and marketing. So far now we have now embedded video ads on print magazine, what's next?

wgzn's picture
2122 pencils

how did i subscribe to this idiotic thread?

Ivan's picture

I'm not sure I understand what you are asking... You can set your subscription settings under your account.

ianw6705's picture
5 pencils

Back to your OP ... I think the point made up-thread is a good one. Because 'capitalism' (which includes everything from America to Norway to Albania to China) has been using cheap energy and cheap labour for decades, there are now far more consumer goods available than there are people who want them or can afford them.

Even my local shopping village has something like 40 coffee shops and probably 20 shoe shops and 20 hairdressers - this is replicated right round the developed world. How many varieties of breakfast cereal are there in every supermarket?

So brands (and their logos) are seen as critical to get your product noticed in this huge market swamped with goods. You only need a small share to make a good profit, but it is still really hard to get that share, given the competition. And so many products are effectively identical, despite hugely expensive campaigns by Nike, Adidas, etc, that try to create difference.

I really don't know if average (young) people are resistant - even immune - from the tidal wave of media they are exposed to. And 99% of it is trying to get you to CONSUME MORE and MORE. If you do not, you are a total looooooser. You will have no friends - on and on these messages go. Or maybe young people are totally enmeshed in it - there is no difference between their "reality" and the ad, brand, and logo-driven, media world that surrounds them in 3D.

Anyway - I still think we should be teaching every young person to be a producer, not a consumer ... there is a day of reckoning coming I think - quite possibly in the lifetime of our young people.

Ivan's picture

I fully agree with you. Especially the last paragraph. It can be framed.

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

I wish I had your faith in humanity. ;)

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Mintsauce's picture
1000 pencils

I'm thinking branding can go two ways in the future. One is the Fifth Element way which I think links to Ivan's article. Considering the remote possibility of interplanetary population this could even mean things like "light speed" billboards (leave the practicalities to the MIT boys) on the way to Mars - bar a global apocalypse.

On the other hand as the world grows into a global, and what seems to be a more totalitarian society we might see a decline in consumer oriented products. 100 Years from now we might be stuck with the global brand of "Big Brother Corn Flakes - with artificial corn", "Big Brother Burgers - artifiicial ...", etc. which of course leads to JosefK's conclusion...

I think trying to imagine what it might be like if we chose route 1 is exciting now because we might imagine ideas that are implemented only 5 years from now. When I was a kid (in the 80's) none of what we have today was imagined to be within my foreseeable future. Unless you though we'd be living on the moon in the year 2000.

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Ivan's picture

It's funny that certain things happened which we never thought would in our lifetime, and others just won't work that have been predicted to happen, like cold fusion.

Art D. Rector's picture
3164 pencils

Advertising will be less in-your-face if you ask me and more viewer-oriented. In other words the type of advertising you see on a lot of blogs where certain words are underlined and the reader can pick the ones they want to view. Ever seen Leverage - the tv show with Timothy Hutton? They're doing a lot of brand placement type of stuff in more subtle ways than you'd see in the past. For instance, he tells everyone he bought an electric car and the response is "Oh that's too bad" - then he says "Electric doesn't have to be boring" and hops into a sporty Tesla and speeds away. That's the kind of advertising I see in the future - you know you're being sold - but you don't care because it's not tacky or annoying. So far as branding? Nothing will change. No matter what happens - how far technology advances - how fancy we can get with holograms or interactive displays - a corporation will always need a logo/brand that can be reduced down to one color for certain applications. That's why - and I know you're feeling me on this one, Ivan - EVERY LOGO HAS TO REPRODUCE IN BLACK AND WHITE!

As always... jmho. ;-)

ianw6705's picture
5 pencils

I love Americans ... I really do. Your faith in a future which is just an exciting extension of the present is both charming and disarming. I wish I could share it, but I don't think it's going to happen.

As for predicting the future, all that stuff from EPCOT to the Jetson's, effectively hasn't happened - have you noticed that? It's all about energy folks, and the cost thereof. We are headed to a downsizing I think - and I am not into doomer porn - I am not a crashist - but I think the current denial is huge - in all those rich countries (including mine, Australia, of course) where we have such a soft exciting world, that we simply cannot imagine a harder, more local, life. Meh.

Art D. Rector's picture
3164 pencils

Actually some of that stuff HAS happened. When I was a kid they had a ride at Disney called Flight to Mars (or something like that). Anyway, as you're standing in line on one of those moving sidewalk things it took you past all these displays of "What the Future Will Look Like!" One of them had a family gathered around a television which had some kind of products for sale - this being the future where "You can conveniently shop and purchase items right in the living room of your home!" 20 years later that's exactly what we're doing on the internet. So you never know - those flying cars might be right around the corner.

Ivan's picture

Btw, I'm not American. I wish I was. I'm Hungarian and I currently live in Australia.

ianw6705's picture
5 pencils

Nah ... being a Hungarian in Australia is a far better life choice, I reckon! And when I said "You Americans", it wasn't directed at you in particular (although I confess I did think you were based in Seppostan)!

And purchasing more and more stuff via the Internet is precisely the type of problems we face (and the manufacturers face). The high cost of making, shipping, moving, storing, despatching, and delivering billions of goods - I suspect it is unsustainable. But to be fair - I don't know the figures on whether home shopping is more energy effective than lumbering the 4WD (SUV) down to the shopping mall.

Whatever it's like, there is no doubt the future is where we're headed!

Ivan's picture

Don't worry so much about all this. We'll innovate ourselves out of the environmental disaster we're heading for. We just need to support science and technology. It's our only option. Cutting back on our spending and use of resources will only work with a small amount of population. It's not a solution.

ianw6705's picture
5 pencils

Heaven forbid we find an "innovation" to allow everyone to buy, drive, buy, drive for ever - all seven billion of us! Good grief - cutting back on use of resources is the only solution, I suggest. But your faith in technology (like human nature it seems) is heart-warming!

Dysentery Fairy's picture
4 pencils

"Idiocracy", gotta love that movie.

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