Looking ahead, the brand and customer experience trends we expect to have the biggest impact are those that make brands more relevant and more valuable to people in their daily lives. I see 5 trends that will impact 2018:

2018’s 5 Biggest Brand & Customer Experience Trends

1. Purpose is going mainstream

In the past, purpose-based companies, building on empathy and shared connections, were niche brands. Now, purpose powers brands in almost every category. Laurence Fink, CEO of BlackRock and one of the world’s most powerful investors, recently told companies that if they want his backing, they need to “contribute to society.”

2. AI gets real

2018 will be the year the world spends less time trying to explain technology, and more time using it to drive business forward. There’s been a lot of time and attention given to pulling back the curtain on artificial intelligence, for example. But what AI is and how it works matters far less than its ability to create and deliver personalized, on-demand products and experiences.

3. B2B focuses on CX

B2B companies are turning to B2C brands like Sephora, LEGO, Amazon and more to learn how to create new and differentiated customer experiences.

4. Relevance is more critical than differentiation

We’re seeing strong signs that consumers are hungry for more innovation – it’s a buzzword that hasn’t lost its luster. And while the innovation game has historically been led by companies like Apple, Samsung and Netflix, don’t count out the classics: In our latest Brand Relevance IndexTM, names like Tide, BAND-AID, Levi’s and LEGO rose to top, primarily because of their strong scores specifically focused around their ongoing focus on innovation.

5. The power of storytelling

Personal, authentic and relevant stories are the newest tool in a marketers’ arsenal. Learning how to tell your brand story in an engaging way is more critical than ever. Learn more about the power of Creating Signature Stories in a new book by David Aaker available everywhere March 6.

Final Thoughts

2018 is going to be an exciting one for brands and brand-builders. Now more than ever you can connect in better, deeper ways with customers to drive relevance and growth throughout your organization.

Learn more about how to leverage branding to create great customer experiences.