3 brand storytelling trends for 2022

Today’s brands are looking for ways to differentiate. Brand storytelling trends for businesses and especially emerging industries or hyper-growth brands are an important strategy, especially those in competitive industries. Brand storytelling is an outstanding way to separate from the pack and it’s likely your competition hasn’t even tapped into this data.  Macro-trends for 2022 can provide insight into the brand stories you tell, what purpose to highlight, and even what platforms and channels you advertise on.

Fast-growing companies and industries in their infancy (drones and cannabis, for example) especially need to tap into these trends. Brand storytelling makes all the difference in public perception and brand superiority, especially for early movers who need to expand upon their advantages.

Whenever we’re looking to help our clients differentiate in PR, especially for fast-growing companies, one place we turn is Trend Hunter to see where brand values, initiatives, and ideals fit in with the trends of now. Regardless of pandemic status in 2022, the world is in flux. Where your customers and clients fall on these post-pandemic tensions may be a differentiator or a way to increase loyalty through your brand storytelling.

Now is really the time to think through your brand storytelling strategy for 2022, because effective storytelling is multi-faceted and requires commitment from the inside out.

The Big Box vs Local Trend in Brand Storytelling

One post-pandemic tension Trend Hunter touches on is the new push-pull between Big Box and Local shopping. Big Box includes huge online sites like Amazon, by the way, at least in the mind of the consumer. During the pandemic, many Americans woke up to realize the importance of supporting local restaurants and retail.  Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of small businesses populate Amazon. If you’re in the retail space, be thinking about this tension and how you will incorporate this consumer choice into your brand storytelling. Emerging industries and fast-growing brands seeking VC funding should absolutely tap into this trend, as it’s likely to be a defining trend for some time.

Big Box vs. Local reflects another macro-trend, and that’s a distinct distrust of the 1%, and especially the .05%. The pandemic only highlighted the enormous differences between the haves and the have-nots. While one portion of the U.S. population worried about keeping the heat on and long-term unemployment, another portion of the population was buying second homes, and banking the savings staying at home afforded them, and got on a plane to a remote island vacation at the first opportunity. This has led to a deepening sense of distrust for the super-rich.

Where are your customers on this tension and how can your storytelling reflect their current frame of mind on this issue? If you’re in the travel industry, you probably want to appeal to the portion of the country that’s feeling flush, unless, of course, you’re a discount brand. In either case, a humble origin story could be a well-placed media and advertising strategy.

 

The Robots vs. People Storytelling Trend

This one has been brewing for a while, but it’s really coming to a head as AI becomes more integrated and the country confronts global supply chain issues. This is an interesting trend because there are so many stories to be told on both sides of the equation. Even technology companies can tell stories about people, so now is a great time to think about how the technology trend is affecting your customers and where your brand storytelling can tap into this trend.

A brand storytelling trend for businesses subtrend is  “Made in America” may take on higher importance from a branding perspective. The issue, with the “Made in America” storyline, is authenticity. Most products have at least a component or two imported from elsewhere. Ironically, if you’re a foreign company operating in the U.S. you can incorporate both these trends by highlighting your commitment to people. But if you’re a U.S. brand, this story, tread lightly about how you use this trend in your brand storytelling.

 

How Big Media vs. Creators will Affect Storytelling

This is a trend started by influencers, but today’s influencers, at least the big ones now have agents and are more closely associated with the elite than your neighbor. Naturally, for every rule there are exceptions, but today’s consumer looks at an Instagram influencer with 10 million followers and imagines they live very different lives; there is an aspirational value to that, so by all means, brand accordingly because luxury marketing is still incredibly relevant.

Meanwhile, influencers aren’t the only creators in today’s global marketplace. Illustrators, artists, and writers are all finding places to hone and monetize their craft. For example, Substack made a brilliant play by tapping into BOTH these trends. On one hand, Substack contracted with content creators and creatives who are well-known or famous because of their associations with major brands. For example, journalists who write for huge publishing companies, but have their own following, have found Substack can be a fruitful side hustle (in 2020, the top 12 subscriptions averaged over $160K). Meanwhile, all these famous names exposed readers to fresh voices as well.

You can think about this push-pull as you consider ad buys as well. Are your consumers more responsive on big platforms like Facebook or in the niche communities of TikTok?

 

Monitor these 3 trends and others as you think through your 2022 brand storytelling for businesses. Tapping into the macro trends helps you understand whether you should “zig” or “zag.” Brand storytelling trends for emerging industries or hyper-growth brands requires a particularly deft touch and emotional intelligence. Do your research to be sure your using these trends in ways your customers can relate to them.