Bynder, a global digital asset management (DAM) company that lists clients such as Five Guys, Spotify, Puma, among others has just released new research in their 2020 State of Branding Report revealing that although marketers recognize the acute need for technology, they struggle to balance productivity with creative excellence as capabilities evolve from conceptual possibilities into tangible applications.

The report found that despite 3 in 4 marketers believing automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will affect branding, they remain divided as to whether they will harm or help in the long term. Fifty-six percent of respondents believe these capabilities will negatively impact their branding efforts in 2020, either by diminishing creativity, eliminating jobs or producing less brand differentiation. Twenty-four percent believe AI will have a positive impact, while 23 percent believe branding cannot be automated at all. In addition to uncertainty about the lasting consequences of today’s investments, marketers also worry about a range of new challenges accompanying the rise of tech-enabled branding—including skills gaps, data overload and more.

Although marketing and branding professionals are grappling with how new technologies will impact some aspects of their work, they’re not opposed to capitalizing on the early benefits of new solutions—most notably in content creation. Under pressure to engage with audiences across more channels than ever, the State of Branding 2020 Report found that 58 percent of marketers plan to create at least 25 percent more content this year, relative to last year—leaning on technology to help them do it. Enabling more efficient content creation is considered the top benefit of automation in marketing, with 1 in 2 marketers planning to leverage technology to automate administrative tasks associated with content creation in 2020.

What other trends, opportunities, and challenges are top of mind for marketers in 2020?

  • Growing brand awareness is this year’s top concern: There are countless platforms, channels, and strategies to prioritize in the hopes of growing brand awareness. Users have more power than ever before, so figuring out the best way to gain mindshare with an audience is a top concern for this year’s respondents (43 percent).
  • As the role of technology in branding evolves, the martech explosion will continue: As the martech industry continues to expand, two-thirds of marketers (68 percent) plan to increase the number of solutions they use this year, while only 10 percent intend to decrease. In addition to widespread confusion about who is responsible for implementation, the rise of tech-enabled marketing brings a new set of challenges—most notably a skills gap in the marketing team (21 percent), data overload (20 percent) and too many options to choose from (18 percent).
  • The impact of enhanced infosecurity regulation is up in the air: When asked whether security and regulation are preventing marketing efforts from reaching their potential impact and audiences, respondents were split: 57 percent reported yes, while 43 percent said no. Overall, despite intensified focus and new regulation like the CCPA, violating consumer privacy remains low on the totem pole of marketer troubles, with only 11 percent citing this as their top concern in 2020.

A full breakdown of marketing and branding insights, opportunities and challenges can be found in Bynder’s 2020 State of Branding Report. Conducted in partnership with an independent market research company, the report features insights from 500 marketing and branding professionals in the United States and 500 in the United Kingdom.

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