4 Modern Marketing Trends for 2014

Based on numerous blog posts, SlideShare decks, tweets and my own crazy thoughts, I’ve put together what I believe to be 4 important modern marketing trends for brand builders to consider in 2014.


The Future50 is an online trading market for brands, allowing people to buy and sell brands as ‘shares’. Based on activity in this virtual marketplace, FutureBrand predicts brand strength. The trading activity also surfaced five distinct trends driving brand building of the future. One of these trends is “Conscious brands will move from niche to mainstream.”

It’s not just about being green anymore, it’s about providing a balance of emotional connection, affordability, quality and responsible stewardship. It’s about a way to improve people’s lives in measurable ways.
— Future 50 Report

Insight: People expect brands to be as conscious as they are. A brand that stands out is one that regularly does things for people that makes their lives better in measurable ways.

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Mentor Brands: Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Warby Parker, Starbucks, Honda


According to Pew Internet, 91% of adult mobile phone users have their devices within reach 24/7. In 2014, eMarketer expects that 64% of these mobile phone users will also have tablets. As people continue to unconsciously browse among three screens, brands become omnipresent. This offers an incredible brand building opportunity and modern marketers will make the most of it by creating immersive experiences for people.

Entertainment, narratives, and brand experiences will become more immersive and altogether more enveloping in a bid to capture consumers’ imagination and attention.
— JWT Intelligence Trends Report

Insight: People expect brands to be in the right place at the right time. Whether it’s online or offline. Brands who position themselves in omnipresent fashion will earn remarkability.

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Mentor Brands: Uber, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Disney


A meaningful brand partnership doubles down on the importance of brand purpose. It serves as the catalyst for modern marketers to deliver the very best from two like-minded companies in one experience. Most importantly, it makes people realize the brands they love think alike.

Brands are judged by the partners they keep. Innovative partnerships can make brands seem hipper, more modern, more distinctive, more interesting, and more noteworthy. The resources both brands bring to bear are greater than either could afford alone, resulting in a synergistic impact that generates higher levels of brand awareness for both.
— Michelle Greenwald, Professor, NYU Stern and Columbia Business Schools

Insight: Co-branding has evolved to become more about authentic brand partnerships that focus on creating an experience from the ground up based on a shared purpose and common values.

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Mentor Brands: Patagonia / New Belgium, Nest / Sunrun, Bank of America / Khan Academy, Post-It / Evernote,  Starbucks / Square


As brand omnipresence prevails, modern marketers must build an experience that serves as the common thread among all of the different ways people can access brands on the web. Inspired by purpose, the most important thread is the .com experience. Even with the proliferation of social media, people continue to view websites as the most trusted branded resource online. The .com experience is a brand’s most valuable owned asset and serves as a powerful canvas to show people how the brand is bringing its purpose to life.

Christian Erickson, a partner at Zeus Jones, supports this argument further by illustrating and discussing the advantages of having a brand’s website at the hub of the digital ecosystem.

Image courtesy of ZeusJones.com.

Image courtesy of ZeusJones.com.

We take constant input and inspiration from many, many sources. We look for creative partners and co-creators (many of them from outside the agency/design/marketing world) to help us make compelling stuff. We publish that to our hub (.com) and serve it up to our social communities for reactions and feedback.
— Christian Erickson, Partner, Zeus Jones

Insight: While everyone else is obsessing over social, focus your time, attention and money on building a remarkable .com experience that serves as the thread to digital brand building.

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Mentor Brands: Nike, Red Bull, Chobani, Pepsi