2020, the year of unprecedented change. We all experienced it, from the ways we work to the ways we communicate, and although 2020 brought uncertainty, it has also provided us with insight as to what we can expect from 2021.
High street closures across the country have led to a major digital shift, spurring on rapid digital transformation. Social media soared, with companies making use of online digital platforms to communicate frequently with customers during the crisis. The use of social media has grown by 30% during the lockdown as people become more accustomed to an effortless digital and eCommerce experience. Many brands have adopted social media to engage, as focuses shift from sales to retention.
Social Media Trends:
We have also experienced a change in social media behaviours, as people utilise the space as a place for them to interact, communicate, and entertain themselves. The lockdown success story, TikTok, gained momentous popularity, providing escapism, including an appealing cocktail of fun challenges and must-try dance routines. The use of bite-size video content has become increasingly popular, evidenced by the introduction of reels and stories across social media networks. Lockdown revealed that lower production quality can receive great engagement as long as it provides value and cut through.
Consumers have adapted to a seamless, one-click-away, online shopping experience and are becoming less tolerant towards out-of-date processes and a lack of personalisation. We can expect that shopping capabilities will continue to develop across social networking sites. We can expect to see the expansion of Facebook Shops, and further interconnectivity between Facebook and Instagram.
Building Brand Trust
Building brand trust will be the foundation to maintaining consumer relationships in 2021, with a greater emphasis on retaining customers. Competition is now at an all-time-high and building brand trust will help increase market effectiveness. Testimonials, endorsements and reviews are all really influential on a buyer’s decision.
Authenticity has become invaluable. The importance of user generated content and influencer marketing to promote authenticity has been adopted by many brands. Many brands that, at the beginning of lockdown, hadn’t yet navigated towards influencer marketing are now investing more heavily and those that have been forced to slash paid influencer budgets are now turning towards organic or micro influencer gifting as a quick, less-expensive and easy-to-produce creative strategy.
Customers hold positive feelings towards a brand when they enjoy a smooth user experience across all communication channels, including the hub (your website). Approximately half of all online traffic is navigated using mobile devices, therefore having an optimised, easy to navigate and mobile-friendly website is essential. Website speed can also have a huge impact (both positive and negative) on the customer journey. Sites that load within 5 seconds see a 70% increase in longer average sessions, whilst slower loading speeds that take over 3 seconds to load have a 50% bounce rate.
Roughly 65% of consumers will now switch to a competitor after just two poor experiences, while 88% will switch after three.
It’s no secret that we have become a little obsessed with personalisation and automation technologies, we tend to rely on them so heavily for data management and automating the customer journey but we can tend to lose a personal touch. Marketeers will be focusing on not only how to make the process more personal but to also make it seamless and efficient.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion will play prominent roles in 2021, and companies will be held accountable for the values they promote and the promises they have made. Those brands that aren’t actively promoting Diversity and Inclusion initiatives as part of their 2021 campaigns will be criticised.
PR and communications will be utilised to convey brand values and inclusion. The lack of trust that many consumers now have towards brands and larger organisations make expressing brand values and validating them through action more important than ever before.
Mary Killingworth, Managing Director at Brandnation says: “Whilst we remain cautious and realistic about the challenges we face as an industry in 2021, there is much reason for optimism. Brand’s channels of communication have been rationalised this year which has paved the way for a greater focus on PR, influencer marketing and social – providing even more opportunity to demonstrate our agility, creativity and value”.
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