There is one thing we can all agree on this past year — it kept us on our toes. The new year holds tremendous promise as we continue to make strides in defeating this pandemic and work toward bringing back a sense of normalcy to our communities. As we turn the page to 2021, brands will find themselves in uncharted territory. They will need to find ways to connect with their audiences while still so much uncertainty looms.
RP3’s strategic, creative and media experts have developed a few predictions for 2021 that may provide guidance to brands looking to get a leg up in the new year:
Doing Good Will Be Expected in the ‘Shakeout After the Shakeout’
After what might be a post-vaccination surge for many industries, even those hit hardest by the pandemic, there may well be another wave of reckoning when consumers reflect back on what truly is differentiating and meaningful in their lives. As a result, companies in 2021 will be expected to take concrete actions that better benefit our society and our environment. 2020 exposed the fragile state of bothand has put more responsibility on brands’ shoulders. This means that producing sleek Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports will no longer be enough. Customers will be increasingly scrutinizing companies’ actions and holding brands accountable.
Trust Will Continue to Be King
After 2020, marketers will have to find ways to bridge the “trust gap” between the media and consumers. A Gallup poll from this past summer found that a majority of Americans (six in ten) have little or no trust in the information they are receiving from media outlets. Social media fares worse with about two thirds of Americans feeling it has a mostly negative effect on our culture, according to Pew. Brands will have to look beyond the standard top-tier media and social platforms to carry their message and focus on smaller, more targeted media outlets and other information platforms that their audiences trust.
Meeting Consumers’ Insatiable Demand for Content Will Continue to Be a Challenge for Marketers
Re-thinking your media targeting is only the first step. Marketers will need to continually produce engaging, culturally relevant content and storytelling that is authentic to the brand and to consumers. Just posting content and being on every social channel will no longer be enough to move consumers to action. Brands who are not authentic with their content will stick out since consumers will be looking for brands with more closely shared values. This is not only important for creatives, it also means that we will likely see better data, tools for social data analysis and survey creation, as well as other tools to help target audiences for media planning and buying.
And What Will Likely NOT Happen, but Should…
… are fundamental changes to algorithms dictating what content news and social media feed us. If we want to live in a less polarized and more accepting world, we need to get out of our echo chambers and ensure we are regularly exposed to different points of view. We will likely start seeing some pressure put on tech companies to do so, but the tension between platforms making money as more people stay engaged for longer and creating a more stable society will be increasingly at play.