Covid has changed the face of commerce – mainly in the way those businesses embrace and engage with their customer. Here Sam Darr looks at how you can roll with the pandemic punches to keep your company on track for 2021 and beyond.
There’s little point in me summing it all up for you once again – we all know that if 2020 was a film, it would be a poorly-directed indie horror with a plotline as drab as a dishcloth.
But, hey, at least the nation’s banana bread population soared to record heights. Silver linings.
Whether 2020 made you a better baker, turned your living room rug into a yoga mat or showed you every nook of your neighbourhood on aimless walks, we can all say that our lives and habits have changed over the last 12 months.
And as businesses closed, adapted and clung on, it’s fair to say that the worlds of business and retail changed just as much as their consumers.
But with vaccines being rolled out and the promise of our normal lives seemingly edging closer with each professor-packed daily briefing, perhaps now is the time to take a look at how businesses can successfully inspire and interact with their much-changed buyers in 2021.
Three national lockdowns and a smattering of regional restrictions led to so many of us regularly looking to escape to some sort of normality. Sometimes this was as simple as listening to a voice that wasn’t at hip height asking for a snack.
That’s why podcasts experienced a real revival in 2020, with some of us listening to sponsored podcasts more often than radio adverts last year. Offering a personalised radio of sorts, covering specialist topics that guarantee engagement with their target audiences, has proved to be a fruitful new outlet that businesses should continue to explore into 2021.
Webinars have also become extremely popular, with consumers actively seeking to engage with brands who can virtually educate them. New housebound habits have led to consumers looking for benefits they can experience with instant ease.
Most of us are more connected to our grandparents now than ever before. Older generations set up social media accounts as this sadly became the only way for some to stay in touch with their families. Shame we can’t taste gran’s unbeaten apple crumble over Zoom.
That’s why businesses need to understand that they are no longer simply targeting 20-somethings and seasoned LinkedIn profiles. Advertising and PR has had to become digestible to a wider range of age groups as there are more potential buyers out there now than there were in 2019.
If your business is aiming to target a broad range of consumers, its social media output may need to be less jargon-heavy, include less text talk and acronyms and consider that the lifestyle you sell might not appeal to people of all ages.
As well as being nimbler and more adaptive on social media than before, your business needs to be aware of these new online audiences and show them that they are being seen.
After some lost loved ones to coronavirus and we all experienced political unrest and witnessed riots and violence in the United States in 2020, we enter 2021 with our social consciences more fine-tuned than ever.
Gone are the days when consumers simply cared about a product and the benefits it offered. We are now living in an age in which people care about the ethics and impact of the brands they choose to engage with.
In 2021, businesses should be proud to display how diverse they are, how much they care about social and environmental issues and how they are going the extra mile to care for those around them. Action and empathy need to run through the PR plans of every business this year.
For every person who has happily made digital conversations a normal part of their working day, there is another person who cannot wait to uninstall Zoom as soon as Boris gives us the all-clear.
Whichever you are, you probably miss the personal touch and human interaction that comes with face-to-face business and buying.
This year, it will be the brands that can bridge the gap between hygienic and human to offer a more normal consumer experience that will thrive and survive.
Similarly, flashy advertising campaigns are much less effective than thoughtful and relatable showings of a brand’s compassionate side. Most consumers are now more likely to engage with a post about a slow cooker recipe than a supercar filled with gadgets.
Over the coming months, it will be vital for businesses to not only attract customers with charming and approachable content, but to build lasting connections with consumers by offering them the sort of intimate service they so dearly miss.
The PR industry proved itself to be invaluable in 2020 as clear and effective communication became essential to the function of our lives and work. The way your brand markets itself can be just as vital to its success in 2021 if you adapt to the people you serve as well as their circumstances.
If you have a project or event you need assistance with in marketing, or simply need help to steer your brand’s communications in a clearer direction, get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or giving us a ring on 01473 276126.
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