The New ‘New Normal’ Playbook For Marketers – ET BrandEquity

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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Marketers and ad agency offices see a few key themes emerging more strongly in 2021, which will inform their strategies. These central themes are ‘back to our roots’, ’empathy’ and ‘hybrid experiences’. Here’s a breakdown of marketing trends which will define how brands engage with consumers and build their communities and business in the post-pandemic world.

101 new ways to boost immunity

‘Immunity’ was the buzziest word in the marketing world in 2020. Marketers launched all kinds of immunity boosting products – haldi ice-creams and bread, neem infused mattresses, anti-corona shirts, immunity booster biryanis and more. Some of these “innovations” will disappear in 2021 but health, safety, and physical and mental wellbeing will remain a priority for consumers. Marketers believe 2021 will also be a year full of potential to scale up on the back of innovation. With movements like Vocal For Local and Fit India brands have a lot more room to play and boost sales.

Back to the roots

The at-home culture has changed the way people eat, drink, play and consume entertainment. According to marketers BE spoken to, the unexpected positive of the lockdowns has been the rekindling of family ties. As the year unfolds, going ‘back to the roots’ and ‘nostalgia’ will emerge as powerful advertising themes for brands and agencies to explore.

Marketers are also expecting everything ‘local’ to take the center stage. From insurgent homegrown startups to multi-regional content will make deep connections with consumers. The successes of these local business and entertainment pieces will create a treasure trove of insights. However, many also think the complexities of breaking down the insights to strategies could be a challenge.

‘Mein Bhi Influencer’

In 2020, ‘dalgona coffee’ and ‘pass the brush challenge’ made everybody an influencer. Digital practitioners believe 2021 will be the year of influencer marketing. Swathes of new micro-influencers will emerge on social media as “spokespeople for brands.” Brands will need to focus on micro-listening for micro-targeting. The new breed of influencers will rewrite the rules of engagement.

Hybrid experiences

2021 will also be the year for hybrid solutions. Brands will have to create a seamless blend of virtual and real shopping experiences. For a distance-friendly world, brands will have to uncover opportunities that will help them create new commerce channels.

Organizations are also expected to get smarter about building scalable digital relationships with customers, which are personalized and specific to each of them. Balancing the data and scale of digital with a personal connection at an individual level will be the most important trend for the year ahead.

The year creativity makes a comeback

In the passing of the baton between the social media agency, the digital agency, the influencer agency and the mainline agency, brand narratives often got lost. Ad agency members believe 2021 is the year Creativity will make a comeback after years of marketers “undervaluing” the role of agencies and Creativity.

(Based on inputs from Sameer Satpathy, chief executive, personal care, ITC; Anil Viswanathan, senior director – marketing (chocolates), insights and analytics, Mondelez India; Sumit Mathur, director of marketing, Kellogg South Asia; Dilen Gandhi, sr. director and category head – foods, PepsiCo India; Sujatha V Kumar, head of marketing – India & South Asia, Visa; Kashyap Vadapalli, chief marketing officer & business head, Pepperfry; Sanjeev Jasani, COO, Cheil India; Gautam Reghunath, CEO, Dentsu Webchutney; and Dheeraj Sinha, managing director, India, chief strategy officer, South Asia, Leo Burnett)

Also Read: Top marketing trends to watch in 2021

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