7 Trends in 2021 that will challenge your brand strategy

By February 26, 2021 General No Comments
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Managing your brand just got a little harder. Consumer mindsets are undergoing some significant changes and companies need to acknowledge and respond or get left behind by the competition. The Covid-19 pandemic has fueled or accelerated new trends, but they are likely here to stay. As a marketing agency that works on branding, we pay attention. Following is an overview of 7 consumer trends identified by Mintel market research along with recommendations or implications for brand management and our best practice reminders.

1. Health Undefined

Health and a sense of wellbeing are at the top of consumer’s minds. However, it is not simply a matter of selling these products or services. This trend is considered undefined because having a sense of wellbeing is taking on new meaning. “Consumers are in search of a wellbeing experience through an entirely new lens, driving demand for comfort and structure.” There will be a new type of gratitude for what it means to have a healthy mind and body.

Brand Recommendations

  • Remind the consumer of the value and the power of trying something new.
  • Lead messaging with positivity and gratitude and shift the conversation away from aesthetics and body image.
  • Determine why your product/service can support consumer’s wellbeing in new ways.

2. Collective Empowerment

The pandemic has created a shift towards a community-based mindset. Activism is on the rise. The demand for social justice, concerns over data privacy, security, ethical and environmental issues has consumers speaking out. Consumers are evaluating more closely the brands from which they shop and supporting causes and brands they believe in. They are using technology/digital platforms to create virtual communities and social movements.

Implications for Brands

  • Brands have an opportunity to lead in addressing these issues and be a source of influence. Failure to do so may be perceived negatively.
  • Consumers, employees, and fellow brands are applying a lot of pressure on brands to address issues, take action and stand by their values. This will challenge brands to be even clearer in their values and brand positioning.
  • Collaborating or partnering with other brands may inspire confidence and help to minimize the risk of acting alone.

3. Priority Shift

Economic insecurities and feelings of both resilience and vulnerability have shifted consumer values towards minimal consumption with an emphasis on affordability, convenience and protection. Consumers are monitoring spending more closely and want tangible and measurable benefits from the things they spend money on. They are prioritizing durability, flexibility of use, efficiency, safety and protection. While the focus is on essentials, consumers still seek simple pleasures in small everyday splurges.

Opportunities for Brands

  • Consumers may need to be convinced to allow themselves to feel comfortable with mini indulgences.
  • Brands need to prove that they offer good value and tangible results that make their products/services indispensable.
  • Brands have an opportunity to help consumers in need by offering protection and support and be perceived as making positive change.

4. Coming Together

Consumers are coming together in like-minded communities to connect, help and support each other, and combat loneliness.

Opportunities for Brands

  • Brands have the chance to celebrate consumer identities and offer unique ways to support, guide and connect with each other. Promote feelings of belonging and unity to connect with consumers and elevate the value and image of your brand.
  • Online and digital communication opportunities will continue to increase. Developing a digital strategies with a personalized approach will be key to creating engagement and creating bonds with the customer.

5. Virtual Lives

Physical separation, the increased the need for escapism, and improved technology are driving consumers towards digital experiences. Consumers are using digital experiences to relax, socialize, learn and create and are forming powerful connections to brands that are creating a point of differentiation.

Recommendations for Brands

  • Make existing online brand interaction more experiential and gamified. Create collectible in-game items, create your own games or pair products to go with gaming sessions. Create personalized interactive tools such as avatars or by using AR (augmented reality).
  • Online experiences need to be more diverse and inclusive to appeal to both new and existing audiences. Online personalities and influencers will be key to achieving this.
  • Offer digital re-creations of real-world events.

6. Sustainable Spaces

Consumer awareness of our relationship with the spaces we live has increased and is accelerating the demand for sustainability. Consumers have an increased appreciation for the good of the group, will seek out local products, and support their communities and ethical brands that offer solutions to issues.

Opportunities for Brands

  • Brands must make positive climate change. Product disposal will become a purchase factor and brands will be expected to respond with sustainable products and processes and ethical practices.
  • Consumers will look to brands who solve how to make places feel cleaner and safer.
  • The focus on localization will continue to gain importance. Consumers will support brands that invest in local suppliers, create services to help communities thrive, or build relationships using local dialects.

7. Digital Dilemmas

Advancements in technology have great potential to improve people’s lives. However, wariness is also growing as our tech dependency increases.

Opportunities for Brands

  • Consider increasing investment in digital technologies and driving new kinds of online experiences (virtual shopping rooms or multisensory experiences) to stand out from the competition.
  • Educate consumers who lack experience with technology about the benefits and ease of using new technologies.
  • Use your technical capabilities to create positive social and environmental impacts and generate goodwill within communities. As concerns over mental health escalate, offer to help consumers manage their relationship with tech and provide solutions that promote mental wellbeing.

This is a lot of great information to digest and companies might feel overwhelmed as they navigate this new normal and adapt to the shifting consumer mindset. Here are two suggestions we give to our clients:

  • Invest the time in research and discovery and strategy. It might be tempting to jump right into developing new brand messaging, especially if you are an existing brand. However, a well thought out research and discovery process will ensure that you have a complete picture to inform your strategy, create a plan and successfully execute your brand communications.
  • Be authentic. Authenticity includes being honest and realistic, delivering on what you promise, staying true to your stated values, and being transparent. Today’s consumers are savvy, connected and vocal. If you follow through, you create loyalty. If can’t deliver, you risk losing business.

To learn more about how d.trio approaches branding, please visit our website.

Author Sheryl Doyle

Sheryl is vice president of client services at d.trio.

More posts by Sheryl Doyle

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