Trends to watch in 2021

By March 10, 2021 General No Comments
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Predicting the future after a very unpredictable 2020 is no easy feat. But the JWT Future 100 report – an annual compilation of industry trends and changes to watch – provides a thorough overview that’s both educational and fun to read. Guessing you may not have time to invest in the full 200+ pages, I’ve focused on four key categories and summarized the findings to help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of business and marketing.

1. Culture

A longing to return to simpler times is evidenced by an increased interest in nostalgic things like cassette recorders, game shows and drive-in theaters. Gaming is predicted to make appearances not only on TV and in-home, but also as a strong contender at virtual business events. Avatar-based events are happening worldwide for business meetings, school events and corporate conferences.

We’re also looking to nature for a renewed sense of calm, restoration and healing. Cities are revamping outdoor spaces to ensure visitors can enjoy fresh air and open spaces without crowds. There’s also a strong push to “rewild the world” – allowing formerly wild spaces to regrow to their natural, undisturbed habitats. There are growing opportunities for companies to support rewilding initiatives and promote positive change. The nature trend is also turning indoors with increased sales of nature-inspired designs in comforting neutral palettes for our homes and offices.

2. Brands and Marketing

Imagine a world in which brands weren’t competitive, but collaborative. In some cases, it’s already a reality. We saw examples in 2020 of competitive pharmaceutical companies joining to work on a vaccine. A recent survey by Wunderman Thomson cites that 82% of Gen Z believes brands should work together for the greater good rather than in their own self-interest. Big issues such as climate change and social unrest have inspired some to do just that.

The general population is placing higher scrutiny on a brand’s ethics and values. The Did They Help project ranks individuals and companies based on their response to current issues – holding them publicly accountable for their messages and actions. Of equal importance is where those messages appear. Companies like Check My Ads empower advertisers to set stricter terms for media display to avoid damage from appearing where hate speech or conspiracy theories, for example, may be prevalent.

3. Health

Not surprisingly, all things health-and-wellness related will remain top of mind. Don’t be surprised if your corporation adds a Chief Health Officer to its C-suite. Previously found only in hospitals or insurance companies, this role could become crucial – particularly in global industries focused on travel such as resorts and cruise lines.

Forget doomscrolling! It’s time to turn to “digital nutrition”. AaBeZe Labs is leading the way in packaging and presenting healthier content to a world suffering from depression and anxiety. Content creators are also making their presence known on streaming networks – producing series focused on mindfulness and meditation. Netflix’s Headspace Guide to Meditation  and A World of Calm on HBO Max are just two of the many new offerings in the self-care arena.

4. Finance

Social media is influencing everything – including finance. “Finfluencer” Humphrey Yang is providing financial guidance on TikTok to over one million followers. And armchair experts offering personal insights on everything from job loss to financial insecurity are getting hundreds of thousands of views. Anxiety and stress compounded by the pandemic has viewers turning to “real people” who have experienced a similar situation.

The uncertainty of the last year has also influenced spending and saving habits. A TD Ameritrade report from May 2020 reported 53% of Americans are saving more than usual. Additional surveys indicate this is not a fleeting trend – but a permanent change. Conservative consumption will be a new challenge for brands to address and overcome in their marketing initiatives.

Since we’re passionate about financial marketing ourselves, you can find more trends and information on our financial services content page.

These trends just brush the surface of what can be found in the full JWT Future 100 report.  Other topics include tech, travel, work and the food industry. Segmented into digestible two-page trend overviews, it’s easy to read and sure to provide insights on a topic of interest to you and your business.

Author Carol Wahl

More posts by Carol Wahl

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