The global pandemic had an impact on every business. From a brand standpoint, what will 2021 bring?
With the whirlwind that was 2020 now having passed, many brands are now preparing to up their game in 2021. While last year has proven that life is very unpredictable, we can’t help but try and predict the future.
So, with the help of technology, industry experts and numerous reports, here’s a list of 7 key trends that your brand needs to be aware of in 2021.
1. Content is king
By 2020, many brands have distinguished themselves from their competitors by rewarding and educating their consumers with insightful and valuable content. With more people working from home than ever before, informative content (such as blogs and reports) is becoming increasingly important to consumers, as many rely on it as their source of news and information.
The key to a successful content strategy is to create value for your audience. 83% of marketers surveyed for a Content Marketing Institute report said that publishing content that provides value to their customers significantly contributed to the success of their content marketing efforts.
2. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Every day, technology becomes more advanced, which means that it becomes more useful to us and we become more dependent on it. With technology enabling consumers to achieve results by clicking a button, expectations are increasingly high. Salesforce research has shown that 80% of business buyers expect real-time responses from the brands they interact with, and this is now becoming a reality thanks to AI (chatbots).
AI not only helps improve customer experience but can also help your business to become more efficient. 72% of decision-makers for brands say it allows their employees to focus on doing more.
3. Embracing a new virtual world
Consumers have become more accustomed to video calls and virtual events and it’s highly likely that changes in preferences (along with further potential restrictions resulting from COVID-19) will influence a more ‘virtual’ approach to brand marketing in 2021.
As many consumers have faced limited social interactions throughout 2020, people are eager to be involved and rely on businesses to make them feel more engaged by providing them with opportunities to feel part of the community. From encouraging social media conversations to hosting virtual events, creating virtual conversations and communities, and encouraging interaction, businesses can help consumers feel more connected while obtaining valuable data and effectively tracking key metrics.
4. Investing heavily into branding
Many brands have made a large investment in branding in 2020 with no signs of slowing down in 2021. Deloitte notes ‘trust’ and ‘purpose’ as two of the largest global marketing trends for the coming year – both of which can be addressed through powerful branding.
At a time of such uncertainty, consumers are relying on brands to provide a sense of purpose and clarity. Whether you’re a start-up or an established brand, you need to be able to communicate clearly why you exist, who you’re there to help and how you’re going to do it. However, to truly gain the trust of your audience, you need to ensure that you deliver on everything you’re doing.
5. Powerful video marketing
Video is the most widely used type of content on the Internet and is expected to account for 82% of all online traffic by 2022. Video content will not only benefit your SEO, but also your sales, with 70% of consumers saying they are watching videos to help inform their purchasing decisions. Nowadays, the most popular videos are how-to, professional reviews and product features, but there are endless possibilities for your content.
6. Cross channel integration
Incorporating multiple channels within campaigns is much more effective than simply putting all your resources into one channel. There will be a rise in channels and varying tactics continuing to cross-integrate in the coming year.
For instance, channels will adopt services such as loyalty programmes to better connect brands to customers through a variety of strategies within a single platform. Also, customer interaction in one channel could trigger a customized, automated sequence in another, creating data-driven and behavior-driven campaigns.
5. Increasing digital marketing spend
There’s a gap in digital innovation between what customers demand and what brands are currently capable of delivering. That’s why digital leaders across industries are saying that they plan to spend 25% more on digital on average in 2021. With 25% just being the average, some plan to spend significantly more.
We are humans, serving humans. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, customers are looking for brands they can trust to meet their needs and make their lives easier or more delightful. Now that we’re well and truly into the new year, it’s important to have your brand strategy prepared and ready for 2021.