Our 2021 Crystal Ball
We'd love to have a real crystal ball that could reliably forecast what the future will hold. Now, more than ever, that desire to know what's coming is incredibly strong, but equally strong is the idea that no-one really knows what's in store. Uncertainty aside, there are some themes that have grown, and some existing trends that have really taken off due to the pandemic, that we can be sure will be important for businesses over the next 12 months.
Something that everyone has missed out on last year is time in the office and time spent with other people. Many of us may have been surprised at just how important the social aspect of working around other people is to us, and we have all found that collaborating and sharing ideas has been different this year compared to last. Those water-cooler conversations, the snatched 5 minutes in the break room and those flashes of inspiration we get when we see a colleague's work have been sorely missed.In place of this we've learned to get used to video conferencing and group chats, however, this doesn’t have the same impact that in-person connection has.
From this, we know that anything which connects people, whether that's your product or service, events that you would have held or simply a connected way of working is in demand right now. The idea of connection might not be relevant to your particular product, but you should know that your customers are going to engage better with any content or campaign which focuses on strengthening interpersonal connections over content which doesn't acknowledge this issue.
The pandemic has forced us all to re-evaluate our priorities, especially if we have family members at risk, or we've had a personal experience with coronavirus. There has been a general shift away from the acquisition of material possessions and a renewed appreciation of the smaller things in life; like a beautiful sunset or a simple cuppa in the park with a friend. There was already a shift towards experiences over items, especially among younger age groups for whom the idea of property ownership and that acquisition of “stuff” were already largely irrelevant, and this has now pushed into other groups.If you can align your product or service with an experience, and focus on that angle of learning and growing as a person, you'll be much more in tune with your audience than those brands who stick rigidly to the idea that we want the item they're selling and not the experience it gives us.
With the situation developing so rapidly it can be hard to create content or campaigns which have any longevity. Your message may be obsolete by the time it reaches the approval stage, so we need to learn to work quickly and responsively to the situation. There's a danger of becoming reactive, rather than responsive (a topic we have explored in previous blogs) and in the current climate we need to find a balance between the two in order to stay relevant.
2021 is going to be a strange and challenging year, but we have made it through a 2020 that nobody could have predicted, and we can get through the next twelve months too.
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