2021 Trends in the Social Space
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has disrupted everything – from daily routines to long term planning to people’s wants and needs, have fundamentally changed. This is especially evident in the way how brands are interacting differently with consumers, adapting to their changes in behavior and needs. Audiences want to be engaged and take on a creative challenge set by brands, but they also want to know that brands actually care in return for their loyalty. The shift to focus on brand purpose is a must if brands want to captivate their consumers’ attention in the advertising and social media space. Below are some 6 key trends that brands may want to pick up going into 2021 in order to stand out from the crowd.
- Messaging Back to Basics
The pandemic crisis has led consumers to reflect and re-prioritize what is truly important – practicing physical and mental well-being, spending time with family, appreciating the little things, and showing kindness to one another. Growing concerns about consumerism’s harm to the environment and the economic crisis also led some observers to speculate that consumers had become less materialistic, less possessions-orientated, and less status-driven. Many of us are returning to the “less is more” attitude and focusing on the essentials when it comes to shopping. Brands will have to tap into the virtues of back-to-basics pleasures, such as simpler design and messaging, to adapt to people’s refocus on simpler pursuits such as stay-at-home activities, and a more home-oriented lifestyle.
2. Creating Social Conscious Conversations
Socially conscious marketing will be key for 2021 and brands will have to engage more with topics such as mental health, inclusivity, politics, justice, and society as a whole. Issues such as #BLM, climate change, sustainability, feminism, finance, and healthy food trends have all been found to be important conversations on social media. Brands will have to move away from traditional marketing methodologies to a more cause-driven messaging. Sales should not be a top priority for businesses, instead, brands should lead by example by providing information, generating awareness and engagement with critical social issues in order to stay relevant in 2021.
That being said, socially-conscious marketing shouldn’t be a quick bait, as consumers will do their research and find out whether a brand is true to its stated cause and mission. In order to connect with the audience and create a stronger brand resonance, brands must authentically engage with the issues that matter to influence younger generations on where to apply their spending power.
3. Reveling in Nostalgia
The drastic shift in society and lifestyle caused by the pandemic has increased the use of nostalgia marketing by brands. When brands connect strong positive emotions to their audience, the sentimental boost will allow them to associate the brand as a good brand. People want to remember the “good old days” even if they weren’t so good, because connecting with uplifting memories from the past helps people disconnect from their current struggles, especially during times of uncertainty and economic downturn. Thus brands can use nostalgia to build a sense of positivity and emotional relationship with their consumers.
4. Building Community Through Social Gaming
Since people are not able to connect face-to-face during the pandemic, they turn to building connections in the digital space. More than ever, video games are becoming a popular form of distraction and entertainment. The focus may not be the game itself, but more so the people who are playing the game, who are conversation drivers on platforms such as Twitch, Youtube and Snapchat. Brands may come up with creative ways to collaborate with other gaming brands or develop mini-games apps that can stir up their audiences’ interest. On the paid media side, there is no doubt that more social media in-gaming advertising opportunities will arise in 2021.
Personalization is nothing new, and it will continue to be a effective marketing strategy going into 2021. With new technology that can provide data and information about customer behavior, brands will be able to provide a connected and individualized customer experience. These insights can be utilized to better target individualized offers, ads, product suggestions, and tailored content based on demographic, content preference, and even location. To execute personalization effectively, brands must take note that personalization begins with empathy, with the foundation of understanding customers’ behaviors and proactively seek what is in their best interest.
6. Remixing User-Generated Content
Sometimes the most creative and persuasive content comes directly from your actual customers and clients. Remixing is where user-generated content takes existing ideas, formats or templates and recreates them to express a user’s own personality or ideas. With TikTok and Instagram Reels on the rise, there is a huge opportunity for brands to facilitate more co-productions with consumers and influencers. At a time where consumers’ lives have changed dramatically, they look to people, not brands, for inspiration about products and services that fit into their new lifestyles post pandemic. Brands that provide tools, templates and branded hashtags for users to create and share their own content will enable more real and organic connections between companies and consumers.
Overall, it is clear that consumers are becoming more vocal about their wants and needs from brands. As consumers are looking for comfort from brands through these tough times, brands need to think carefully about the type of message they are putting out in the world more than ever. Consumers want to support brands that have social causes aligned with their end product or service, so messaging will need to focus on the brand’s mission statement and be delivered authentically and transparently to connect with their audiences.