Smita Rajgopal Poliak, Founder & Creative Director, SMITTEN
Smita is the Founder and Creative Director of an international branding and design communication firm, SMITTEN, for over 12 years with offices across North America, the Middle East and South Asia.
It's the era of the new normal. It has put brands in a fix, causing them to rethink their long-term goals and plans and reassess their ideations and investments.
Effective communication has turned out to be the key requirement for people and brands. Amidst the crisis, being able to spread the brand message to the target audience at the right time has been the toughest challenge.
Brands have started to look for ways to establish an emotional connect with consumers to build strong relationships and trust. In a time when everyone seems to be disconnected and staying at home, engaging them effectively has been one of the biggest challenges.
In order to ensure meaningful engagement, brands have adopted communication design as a tool, helping them stay connected to their audiences.
Here are some of the ways in which brands can keep their audience engaged through the effective use of design.
Delivering Meaningful Messages
Brands need to empathize while communicating with their target audiences and positioning their products. Strong and relevant messaging is the need of the hour.
A few brands have come up with customized designs for their consumers and have further collaborated with other brands to launch interactive and integrated campaigns to drive awareness.
Following Social Media Trends
Social media has been the most effective platform for brand engagement. Brands have started using augmented reality, through Instagram and Snapchat filters to explore other ways to engage with their target audiences.
For example, people can point their camera towards a table and tap on the screen to place the product on the table. This not only sparks interest in people to try out the new options but also indirectly promotes the product through the sharing of pictures with their peers.
It also helps in communicating with a growing network of people through visually appealing content, pictures and videos as well as keeping them engaged throughout.
“Consumer engagement gaining importance has also resulted in designers having optimized designs from the brand’s perspective in an appealing way, which not only makes the brand message clear but also engages the audiences”
Building relatability through Themes
Designers have been using their imagination and skill to come up with designs capable of connecting with the audience through work-from-home themed visuals - to demonstrate how the brand can provide solutions for the current situation.
Similarly, food delivery apps have come up with intriguing visuals to engage with students taking online classes and professionals working from their homes, demonstrating they can not only work/study from home but also order their favorite street food like samosa, bun makhan and kadak chai, delivered right to their doorstep. Brands have also adapted to the pandemic and have come up with social distancing messages using their products.
Engaging with the Consumer
There is a shift in consumer behaviour in the new normal. Demonstrating empathy through digital mediums is everything that a brand needs to focus on.
Consumer engagement gaining importance has also resulted in designers having optimized designs from the brand’s perspective in an appealing way, which not only makes the brand message clear but also engages the audiences.
The Way Ahead
The current situation has emerged as an opportunity for brands to deliver their message in an empathetic way through communication design. Design has been one of the primary factors for maintaining brand engagement with the audience. What is a trend today will become the new normal tomorrow.
The one thing that stays constant is the need for designers to keep up with the upcoming trends so that the brand stays up to date and continues attracting audiences in newer and more creative ways.
Since designers can work remotely and still deliver accurate results, they will continue to remain in demand. The industry needs desingers to create engaging content and keep up with marketing trends.
The pandemic has shown a trend in brands finding new methods to keep the customers hooked especially by maintaining an emotional connection. Brands have realized the importance of effective visual communication, leading to an increase in the demand for designers (graphics, UI/UX, and more). The different ways in which brands are growing are proof that designing is one of the key ingredients for effective engagement in the new normal.
If there's one thing that has been, and will continue to be, in demand during the new normal, it's creativity.