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Point of View: Reimagining branding in the "new normal"

Kaitlyn Rhyne
Kaitlyn Rhyne

Though 2020 was a challenging year for many, it also gave businesses opportunities to innovate. Out of necessity, brands developed new ways of conducting business, making way for 2021's marketing and branding landscape.

Here are three trends that separate good brands from the rest and bring some much-needed optimism and connection to consumers in 2021 and beyond.

Last year was all about adapting, and 2021 is no different. Brands must adjust the way they operate to keep up with the times' demands and embrace risks when needed. In 2020, shopping, dining, and recreation changed drastically, and successful brands changed their strategy to stay relevant.

One local example of a brand adapting is Citizens Bank of Edmond. In the face of the pandemic, Citizens launched a curbside banking offering, which increased capacity to serve customers beyond the traditional drive-thru. Citizens also supported more than 260,000 small businesses nationwide in navigating PPP forgiveness by creating, in partnership with Teslar in Arkansas and Mark Cuban. The bank also launched RISE, a retail incubator program to help local shopkeepers take their concept to the next level with a low-risk, low-cost brick-and-mortar opportunity.

With attention spans decreasing, brands must also engage their customers in unique ways. Immersive, experiential content is more relevant than ever. Online quizzes, worksheets, tangible objects like stickers, and on-brand playlists are a few unique marketing tactics that kept customers engaged in 2020.

Another local example could be seen at The Study, a casual wine pub in downtown Oklahoma City. Understanding that many customers preferred to sample new wines at home, The Study created virtual tasting experiences, complete with three carefully curated wine selections and accompanying snacks from other local retailers. The partnership with other retailers provided an opportunity to support additional local businesses.

Finally, we saw organizations using “vintage” and decade-inspired branding and products to create an emotional connection with customers. Whether through logo styles, color palettes or capsule collections, if embracing nostalgia works for your brand, consider it as a way to further connect with customers in 2021.

Cycle 66, a new cycling event coming to Edmond in November, adopted vintage-inspired branding from day one, pulling inspiration from Route 66. From the vintage neon lights to retro diners to 50s-era Cadillacs, you know Route 66-inspired artifacts when you see them. The Cycle 66 brand includes a modern design that pays homage to Route 66, using a combination of the highway's known marker and winged detailing from a 50s-era Cadillac, bringing a vintage vibe to the brand.

When the going gets tough, good brands innovate to stay relevant and create a genuine connection with their customers in 2021 and beyond.

Stansberry is founder and CEO of Nominee, a boutique branding company in Oklahoma City. Rhyne is its brand strategist.

Related Photos
<strong>Matt Stansberry</strong>

Matt Stansberry

<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Matt Stansberry " title=" Matt Stansberry "><figcaption> Matt Stansberry </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Kaitlyn Rhyne " title=" Kaitlyn Rhyne "><figcaption> Kaitlyn Rhyne </figcaption></figure>