The ANA’s Marketing Word of the Year for 2020 is particularly representative of a year marked by the ravages caused throughout the world by the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice issues, reports ANA.

Since 2014, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) has surveyed its members to identify the marketing word of the year. This year the word to the wise is “Pivot.”

As in years past, the ANA staff identifies a list of finalists and then asks members to vote to determine the winner. This year, voting was done online from December 2–8, with 279 ANA members participating.

The ANA asked members of its Global CMO Growth Council, which mobilizes the largest-ever group of CMOs from around the world to accelerate economic growth and advance societal good, “How did your marketing pivot in 2020?” Select responses included:

“Everything has changed. In general, marketers should be focused on saying and doing things are that are immediately useful to their customers. In a crisis, you connect by helping in a meaningful way.” Norman DeGreve, CMO at CVS Health

“We pivoted from physical experiences to digital experiences. We call this ‘Priceless At Home.’ Brand-building never stops. It’s not just advertising; it’s a collective result of all the activities a company does that drives a brand, in good times and in not-so-good times. Just because your budgets have disappeared doesn’t mean that your brand-building efforts disappear.” Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and President, Healthcare at Mastercard

“When the pandemic began, we started with a message focused on availability. We then pivoted to a more emotional message, celebrating that people were still enjoying our food, but in this new socially distanced world. We then went to a message around Thank You Meals that supported frontline responders. Through all of this, we’ve let the consumer guide our messaging.” Morgan Flatley, SVP and Chief Marketing and Digital Customer Experience Officer at McDonald’s

“Our executive team pivoted immediately from meeting every other week to daily briefings. Assessing the constantly changing situation enterprise-wide allowed for swift decision-making and organizational alignment. Reflecting on this time, it not only strengthened our C-suite leadership relationships but demonstrated to all our team members that our culture is strong.” Lynn Blashford, CMO at White Castle

Other top choices in the ANA 2020 Marketing Word of the Year voting were virtual, agility, and resiliency. Previous ANA Marketing Words of the Year were personalization (2019), brand purpose (2018), artificial intelligence (2017), transparency (2016), content marketing (2015), and programmatic (2014).


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