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It’s fair to say we've all had enough of 2020, so don't worry there's no pontificating over the 'new normal' here - instead we're looking forward with optimism at what next year has in store.

Agile Brand Availability

The potential for disruption is greatest when consumers’ decision making systems are out of synch.

Purchase habits have changed and 2021 will be the year of constant alternation between online and offline brand focal points - depending on lockdowns, impending freedom and cultural sentiment. The good news is that with an agile strategy and consumer journey, brands can capture the move between online and offline by encouraging impulsive decision making. 

 

What to do about it

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Understanding your brand’s physical and mental availability to consumers has never been more important. Creating an ownable always-on approach to content but with the ability to quickly and tactically ‘pulse’ physically (store offers, POS, D2C) and mentally (campaign bursts, increased digital reach) will help your brand stay top of mind for the right moments and at the right touch-points.

Always-on

Influencer Marketing

The role of influencers will go beyond message amplification to become a fluid brand pillar.

Influencer marketing will no longer be seen as a simple one-off campaign, and instead an ongoing link to consumers.

 

The real opportunity lies in finding the right influencers and using them on a continuous basis to increase their reach and brand loyalty, through increased frequency. To channel these influencers effectively into sales will rely on choosing consumer relatability over brand fame.

What to do about it

 

Start thinking about influencers in terms of ‘bond and buy’ - using broad reach ‘lifestyle’ influencers to build a story, and more authentic micro-influencers to drive direct purchase association ‘on the ground’.

Rapid Brand

Experiences

Social currency has been in short supply, so expect an experience economy overdrive.

Consumers will be demanding instantly gratifying experiences in a bid to make up for lost time. So, finding the sweet spot between what you want to say, and what people are actually interested in and packaging it as branded ’episodes’ will be the key to success.

 

Being able to tell that short story at every brand touch-point in a way that consumers can easily retell will help bridge the gap between consumer demand and brand function. 

What to do about it

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Ephemeral content that grabs consumer attention, using limited edition drops for products you wouldn’t normally expect and packaging micro-experiences into your product (e.g. an element of DIY) will help create ‘events’ worth sharing.

Content is

Going Lo-fi

Create real-brand experiences in real-time that solve real consumer needs.

Instagram Live, Zoom and of course the huge surge in popularity of TikTok has meant the use and acceptance of lo-fi and 1:1 video content has opened up new opportunities for brands.

 

The behind the scenes reality of branding has been laid bare and now should be celebrated  - the days of hiding behind a fluffy brand purpose could be over, and instead content should react with quick-fire (un-polished) responses to consumer needs.

 

What to do about it

 

Being more nimble with production, being prepared to go live with brand events and re-inventing the use of experiential and UGC to resonate with people’s day to day lives (warts and all), rather than interrupting with ‘perfect’ content.

Re-direct to

Consumer

Less potential for impulse will mean D2C will have to work harder to avoid brand fatigue.

We all know consumers have changed how they shop, and direct-to-consumer will continue to be fundamental moving forward.

 

The danger is, our brains are fundamentally lazy and will quickly default to auto-pilot decision making, and what with so many brands shifting their commerce models - the problem becomes cross-category D2C commoditisation.

What to do about it

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Utilising delivery and packaging space to help connect to traditional physical touch-points, pop-up stores or even limited edition retail partnerships can help brands re-ignite consumer impulse.

 

Brands will also need to create new relevant occasions for their story to live in to help blend the offline and online brand value perception.

Connecting

Fragmented Media

Think about media in terms of mindsets and mood-states.

Over the course of 2020, the landscape for reaching consumers became more fragmented and more polarized. This means not only that certain people are only available through certain channels, but they can no longer be easily defined demographically.

What to do about it

 

Create an omnichannel strategy that can reach those most likely to buy your product by building ‘micro audiences’ across various media that link directly to mood states within the consumer journey.

 

Pair this with a hands-on approach to social listening and you can track (and ultimately amplify) the most valuable brand moments and conversations.

Branded

Joy-scrolling

Brands need to play their part in interrupting doom-scrolling with meaningful escapism.

Doom-scrolling is a new term for reading a long stream of disheartening headlines on social. In 2021 brands need to make sure they create a welcome distraction for people.

 

The very function of a brand is to offer guidance, convey an expectation of quality and offer solutions - the difference here is that those solutions need to be packaged in a more exciting and engaging way than ever.

What to do about it

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Being prepared to push your creativity, big ideas and TOV to have more fun. The rise of TikTok has seen content increasingly embrace the lighter side of life, and has made social (and branded social) inherently fun again. Getting involved in lighter conversation with branded meme banks and even transparent / honest customer service teams will be a winner in 2021.

Creativity

Reigns Supreme

Creativity is your biggest catalyst for change in 2021.

Emotive acoustic soundtracks, lo-fi video and poetic voiceovers created a comforting blanket of samey content during the pandemic. But moving into next year, brands will need to up their creative game to gain attention. 

 

What to do about it

 

You won’t find it in board meetings or buried in spreadsheets. It doesn’t come from peering over your shoulder at the competitors. It comes from the freedom of imagination and its ability to deliver the unexpected – creating big ideas that will take your brand somewhere new. 2021 is the year when all those agency ‘wildcard’ ideas may well be worth re-visiting!

What now?

Successful branding is about adapting to the latest consumer trends and connecting them to good solid thinking with great, imaginative creative ideas.

 

Drop us a message to find out how we can help your brand reach new heights in 2021.

We are an award-winning full service advertising and marketing agency in Bournemouth. We offer integrated advertising, digital, social, branding, media, direct marketing, design, TV advertising, brand strategy, videography and content planning.

01202 414 200 | hello@walkeragency.co.ukWalker Agency, Wootton Mount, Bournemouth, Dorset BH1 1PJ, United Kingdom
 

©2020 Walker Agency Ltd. All rights reserved. Registered No 2814178

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