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What's on the Horizon? Future trends in brand management

It’s 3000 BCE, and you’re strolling through the bustling markets of ancient Egypt, surrounded by merchants. Amidst all the chaos, one trader stands out—he’s a master of symbols and hieroglyphs and has even incorporated a grid design layout to ensure consistency and clarity in his messaging. Sound familiar?

It should, because this ancient practice laid out the groundwork for brand design principles still used by modern designers today! Now of course, it may be a bit of a stretch to call ancient hieroglyphs “branding,” but the concept of establishing a consistent design to help sell wares has truly been around a lot longer than most people realize. Even some modern brands have roots that stretch back centuries.

Stella Artois’s iconic logo dates all the way back to 1366, and Twinings, the British tea maker, has used the same emblem on their tea packages since 1787. And then there's Kongō Gumi, a Japanese construction company boasting the oldest brand in the world—an astonishing 1445 years of business and counting!

The point is, branding and brand design have been integral to human society for as long as we've been trading and communicating with one another. Just like any other art form, it's evolved through centuries of ebbing and flowing trends, adapting to the ever-changing currents of culture and commerce.

Now, we may not know exactly what the brand trends were in ancient times (personalized scimitars? monochromatic scrolls? ethically-made togas?) but we do know what’s on the horizons for brands here in the 2020s. 

Keep scrolling to see our list of what kind of branding and brand management trends you can expect to see more of in the coming year, plus learn how you can incorporate new trends into a brand refresh without losing your brand identity. 

Brand & Brand Management Trends in 2024

Purpose-Driven Branding

At the heart of purpose-driven branding is a clear sense of mission and values. Why does your brand exist beyond turning a profit? What are your aspirations for your brand? Purpose-driven brands don't just sell products—they sell a vision and a mission. By embodying your values in every aspect of your business you can build deeper connections with your audience based on shared beliefs and aspirations. If you know your “why,” then everything else about the direction of your branding will fall into place more easily.


Flashy ads and sales-y marketing campaigns aren’t going to take anyone far these days. Today’s customers crave realness—they want brands that speak their language, share their values, and resonate with their experiences. Here are a few key ways to keep your brand authentic:

Strategy First: You can’t be authentic if you don’t truly know yourself. The first step to authenticity is understanding what your business is really all about. What sets you apart from the competition? What are your strengths, weaknesses, and unique value propositions? Taking the time to define your brand's essence is the first step towards building a brand that resonates with your audience.

Realistic, Diverse, Inclusive, and Candid Imagery: Gone are the days of airbrushed perfection and stock photo models laughing into their salads. To truly connect with your audience, use images that lean towards being more candid and embrace diversity and inclusivity. Showcasing a range of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences not only reflects the world we live in but also fosters a sense of belonging among your audience.

Consistent Voice & Messaging: Your brand's voice is its personality—it's how you communicate with your audience on a human level. Whether it's through witty social media posts, knowledgeable blogs, or compassionate customer interactions, staying true to your brand's voice builds trust and credibility. Remember, authenticity is not about being perfect; it's about being genuine and relatable to your audience.

Say Goodbye to the Hard Sell: Today's consumers are savvy—they can spot a sales pitch from a mile away. Instead of bombarding them with promotions and discounts, focus on building relationships. Share valuable content, engage in meaningful community building, and provide genuine solutions to their needs. When you prioritize building trust over making sales, the results will follow.

Ethical & Sustainable Practices

Today's consumers are increasingly mindful of the ethical and environmental impact of their purchasing decisions. In fact, a recent consumer trends survey showed that almost 80% of consumers have shifted their shopping habits based on inclusiveness, social responsibility, and environmental impact. And while these practices certainly don’t have to be the main focus of your brand, showing your customers you have a commitment to making the world a better place, even in small ways, can go a long way for your brand. Here are some ways you can boost your brand with ethical and sustainable practices:

Commit to Transparency: This simply means being open and honest about your business practices, supply chain operations, and the impact your brand has on people and the planet. By being transparent, you can build trust with your customers and demonstrate your commitment to doing business in an ethical and responsible manner.

Environmental Stewardship: Sustainable practices involve minimizing your environmental footprint and mitigating the negative impact of your operations on the planet. This can include initiatives like reducing waste, conserving energy and water, sourcing eco-friendly materials, and implementing recycling and composting programs.

Social Responsibility: Ethical practices extend beyond environmental concerns to encompass social responsibility as well. This means treating workers fairly and ethically, ensuring safe working conditions, and paying living wages. It also involves supporting your community by being involved with organizations and charities that align with your brand values.

Exceptional Customer Experiences

Delivering a customer experience that goes beyond expectations is a real competitive advantage in today’s hyper-connected world. All it takes is one interaction with your brand for a person to become a repeat customer—or for them to tell every one of their friends on social media why they’ll never do business with you again. Here are some ways you can deliver an exceptional customer experience and retain loyal customers

Understand Customer Needs: Exceptional customer experience begins with a deep understanding of your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points. By listening to feedback, conducting user research, and always delivering on your brand promise, brands can gain valuable insights into what makes their audience tick and tailor the customer experience accordingly.

Personalization: One of the most powerful ways to elevate the customer experience is through personalization. People love being provided with opportunities to customize their interactions, whether it's with a product or an experience. From adding their own design touches to products to customizing digital experiences, brands that empower users to personalize their interactions create a sense of ownership and empowerment.

Branding Design & Content Trends 

As we move further into the 2020s, consumers can expect some small shifts in brand design and content trends.

Nostalgia: Consumers can expect to notice a continuing trend toward nostalgic design elements as brands capitalize on the power of nostalgia, especially with legacy brands that have a history dating back decades.

AI on the Rise: The integration of AI technology will also become more prevalent. Consumers will notice AI usage used more broadly in content creation and integrated into the customer experience in new, innovative ways.

Minimalist Design: In a world cluttered with information, minimalist design principles will underscore a growing desire for simplicity and clarity in brand communication. By stripping away the excess and simplifying brand ethos, visual identity, messaging, and tone, minimalist design allows brands to communicate more effectively and resonate with their audience on a deeper level.

Establishing the Foundation

It’s never a bad idea to keep your finger on the pulse of emerging branding trends. Keeping your brand adaptable and dynamic is all about finding that sweet spot between stability and innovation. Dynamic branding embraces change and new opportunities as they arise—BUT (and that’s a big “but”), following brand trends just because you personally find them appealing or because they are simply what other businesses are doing is a recipe for brand failure, no matter how popular the trend.

A strong brand foundation based on a well-defined brand strategy should always be the roadmap for strategic decision-making, including any rebranding or brand refresh initiatives. When you deeply understand your brand’s core identity, you can confidently explore new opportunities and adapt to changing market trends without losing sight of who you are, who you serve, and where you’re going.

If your brand is due for a refresh, reach out to the brand experts at Quill today. We can help you define your brand strategy, manage your brand dynamically, and guide you through brand refresh initiatives—all while staying true to what makes your brand special. 

Ready to meet with a creative branding expert? Let’s chat!