2020 was not the roaring start to a new decade we were all hoping for, and the name of the game this year for many brands has been adaptation and survival.
However, global lockdowns in the spring merely compounded and consolidated the existing consumer shift online. Brands that already had an effective forward-facing digital strategy in place were able to respond quickly, whereas businesses that had under-invested in this area got a timely wakeup call.
For most of us, restrictions are once more a part of life. This has left brands unsure how to prepare for the next quarter - let alone the next year.
However, there are some clear trends and consumer shifts that marketers should anticipate in the upcoming year.
1. Big changes in the Data landscape
The shift away from third-party cookies will continue, particularly as Apple is set to significantly change its IDFA settings with the release of iOS14 in 2021, requiring users to opt-in instead of opting-out of tracking. To meet this change head-on, a key objective for many forward-thinking brands must be a renewed focus on digital transformation and the ethical collection, management, and use of first-party consumer data.
2. Continued rise of Performance
On average, people need 5-8 touch-points with a brand or campaign to be enticed to purchase. With that, content creation and content distribution need to work hand-in-hand, guiding a consumer from initial interest to the point of sale.
We are bridging that gap.
Our creators tell a story, and we then integrate influencer and performance marketing to expand the audience and keep up the communication funnel with the viewer to the point at which they convert into a customer.
In 2021, influencer content amplified by performance marketing will be indispensable in every influencer marketing campaign.
3. VR & AI integration into Retail E-Commerce
The shift to digital during Covid-19 has raised consumer expectations in terms of personalised interactions. People have little patience for brands that don’t know who they are, what they need, and how they prefer to be served.
Virtual fitting rooms will gradually replace the in-store experience through necessity and consumer preference. With the help of augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) technology, fashion brands are bringing the customer changing room experience to the home. Developing and offering technology that allows customers to see themselves in clothes before buying, and then learning their preferences to make pertinent recommendations is likely to be the way forward in a year where “try before you buy” is not a given.
Enhancing your existing apps and technology to be a first mover in VR retail could result in huge benefits for your brand; eventually, we anticipate this will become a consumer expectation.
4. Increase in Short-form
TikTok is the most talked about and downloaded app of the year, contributing to the meteoric rise of short-form video content. Other apps are already snapping at TikTok’s heels: Triller, Parlour, Snapchat, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels have only cemented the popular trend. To generate exponential brand awareness and reach, these are the platforms to be on in 2021. A successful method to market with short-form video is to build a featured challenge.
The industry will become more crowded in 2021, as many more brands switch on to the fact that it is by far the most efficient ROI form of marketing, particularly in a post-COVID landscape.
Influencer marketing campaigns will become more strategic, demand more organic authenticity, need more man-power to execute and require more originality for brands to reap the full benefits from this form of marketing.
5. Continued importance of Social values
As the world tries to navigate the current situation, there is a strong desire - particularly among Gen Z and Millennials — to ensure that things are “built back better”.
of people approve of brands running advertising that shows how they’re responding to coronavirus and helping customers. More broadly, recent research showed that
of consumers are mindful to purchase from sustainable brands. Businesses need to connect with the customer by addressing them as citizens first before they address them as consumers by demonstrating an awareness of their concerns, motivations, and values.
For brands that want traction with Gen Z and Millennials, the best way to achieve this is by demonstrating that they’re listening. Gen Z’s loyalty can be particularly fickle: quickly won and lost just as fast.
They’re 22% more likely to say they’ve stopped following a brand online in the past month. Brands need to remember that Gen Zs respond well to “infotainment” content if they want to retain the favour of this tough crowd.