It’s without question that the events of 2020 have introduced—or pushed farther along—new and exciting ways of communicating with consumers. For brands everywhere, it’s time to prioritize those marketing tactics that will deliver the biggest returns in an ever-changing world.
We’ve pulled together a collection of trends that our team of experts believes will be solid gold in 2021.
And with that, here we go…
Elevated Digital Brand Experience
Consumer expectations of a brand’s digital experience is more important than ever as we continue to keep our physical distance in the pandemic. If there’s ever a time to get a digital strategy right, it’s in 2021. Going forward, a brand’s “digital handshake” should elevate rather than simply complement the in-person brand experience. Younger consumers, especially, have low patience for unsophisticated brands in the digital space.
Video Continues to Dominate
While video in general is not something new, consumers’ viewing habits and behaviors are definitely shifting. It’s out with the high production quality, famous talent and long-form videos and in with the authentic, inspiring and educational content that users are craving. The number one reason 12,000 Google survey respondents from around the globe say they watch videos? To unwind.
Not sure how or what videos to create for your brand? Start by watching videos your competitors are producing. Focus on ways you can better inform or entertain consumers and develop a plan to create and post on a regular basis.
The Consumer Spending Shift To Ecommerce
2020 brought a lot of change, and we’re not talking about the foreseeable, gradual type of change. Both consumers and traditionally brick-and-mortar brands embracing ecommerce pre-COVID suddenly found themselves diving in, with little time to figure out such unchartered waters.
We think consumers might prefer this new style of shopping moving forward. After realizing some of the ease and benefits of ecommerce, many consumers may not fully return to brick-and-mortar shopping, especially during the holidays when more consumers are apt to head to the stores to score the best deals.
If the idea of taking a car out for a test drive makes you shudder, you’re not alone. The coronavirus has unequivocally had an impact on our comfort level with product trials, like shopping for that new car or even just a pair of jeans. Now, marketers are making it possible to do this from the comfort of home, thanks to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. These “immersive experiences” have made it possible for some brands to maintain revenue despite a decrease in physical shopping throughout the pandemic.
One brand that has already got the ball rolling on VR? Nike. It recently introduced 3D holographic content to some of its products online. Consumers will be able to choose a hologram that matches their body type to see how the clothes and shoes will actually look on them. Nike is hoping to see fewer returns and more people purchasing these products as a result.
Content has to shift to represent what people may imply they need—not just the terms they search for. We will need to be able to predict what else they may need and what the intent of search may have been beyond the key term. Understanding this relationship and providing all-inclusive content that will help users discover what else they may have been looking for will be critical in 2021.
When creating content for your brand, focus on certain topics rather than keywords. This will allow you to answer more questions and give valuable information that consumers are looking for.
We’re seeing a huge boost in searches for a number of design trends in 2020, expecting to increase as we move into 2021. For instance, the ornate, geometric, Art Deco style of the 1920s is reemerging—incorporating elegant patterns and retro fonts against a linear, geometric style.
Like in many of our homes, plant life is also growing in popularity in the design world. The big, bright and bold blooms are eye-catching and refreshing to see in a somewhat solemn year. Background patterns, murals, video and animated blooming flowers bring a feeling of new life and hope to designs, web, social, content and more.
Also on the uptick are the use of muted, organic colors, minimalist shades of black and a newfound interest in Chinese painting and calligraphy.
Nature and Activity Based Photography
As the pandemic restrictions continue across the globe, we see more interest in the great outdoors and being active when it comes to photography. Search results show terms like “Wild Journey,” “Camping,” “Hiking” and “Out in Nature.” Images that capture the moodier side of these adventures, where people (and their pets) are connecting with awe-inspiring outdoor places, are increasingly meaningful.
Interactive content is key to increasing customer engagement. This can be in the form of GIFs, videos, quizzes, polls, etc., and can be used in both digital and email executions.
Creating unique GIFs and other interactive content doesn’t require graphic design experience, either. There are plenty of free online tools available. Check out some of our favorites below:
Companies Taking a Stand
Last July, more than 1,000 companies hit pause on their Facebook ad spending in response to the “Stop Hate for Profit” movement aimed at social platforms for not doing enough to end hate, bias and discrimination on social channels. As the unsettling events of 2020 continued to unfold before us on the news, brands began taking a stand in ways they hadn’t before—and consumers noticed. From healthcare to racism to climate change, there seems to be no topic that’s off-limits—and consumers today expect their favorite brands to take a stand on important social issues.
For more of our predictions, visit Commit’s 2021 Marketing Trends webpage.