Pay attention to what's trending in 2021. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE

IT’S YOUR BUSINESS: Pay attention to what’s trending in 2021

By Joe Smith

Special to The Record

With the current instability facing all of us, marketers will need to pay special attention to how this will affect trends throughout 2021.

The most obvious is the reliance on social media platforms as one of the key elements in developing online marketing strategies. Coupled with e-commerce opportunities, they will become one of the most important trends for many businesses.

With all this attention placed on various methods of communication, consumers are being bombarded with hundreds if not thousands of ads per day. In order to rise above this unprecedented clutter, advertisers will have to make their message content more relevant and timely for their targeted customers. Not necessarily a new trend but one that is taking on more importance each year.

With the impact of the global pandemic, there has been a trend by consumers to source out local products and services. The same holds true for businesses whose supply chains have been or could be disrupted by delivery turmoil on an international basis. Personalization and localization of messaging will become more important than ever.

Building better relationships and high-quality customer service will become a lifeline for many companies. Because of the pandemic more than ever consumers are looking for a sense of belonging. They want to feel that they are buying into something that makes them part of a greater cause. In many cases, they are looking to businesses to help fill that void.

Another trend that will have an impact on business is the renewed focus on the environment by consumers. According to a study by IBM and the National Retail Federation, nearly 70 per cent of consumers in Canada and the U.S. think it is important that a brand is sustainable or eco-friendly. This ties in with the previous trend of building better relationships.

When it comes to messaging there are a couple of trends that are worth noting. With rising consumer interest in social issues there has been a huge increase in brand activism which highlights a company’s social responsibility. This is a trend that will continue into 2021 and beyond.

On another strategy level, nostalgia marketing has become more prominent in carrying a message. With all the uncertainty of the past year, people are yearning for simpler times. This kind of tactic is like providing a diet of comfort food. Research studies have shown that looking back on the past can have a huge impact on making purchasing decisions.

While there are other trends on the horizon it is perhaps the move to revisit strategic planning that rises to the top of the list. There have been significant changes in the way we do business, and the companies that take stock in why they exist and who they serve will be in a better position to navigate going forward.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email joesmith@shaw.ca

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