The Era Of 'Looking Forward: Marketing Guide For 2021'

Brands that can effectively establish human connections, build trust, and demonstrate purpose with agility will flourish in this new era.

As we step into 2021 - marketing will play an increasingly important role in how brands talk to their customers and endeavor to bring the audience together. Brands that can effectively establish human connections, build trust, and demonstrate purpose with agility will flourish in this new era.

Read on as I decode 10 crucial focus areas for brand strategists and marketing heads as we move to 2021.

#1. Restore trust with a sense of empathy: In the last couple of months, brands that failed to recognize their duty towards society did a disservice to their future operations. As we move forward, a brand's legacy coupled with agility, willingness to stick to the purpose, and tendency to restore trust among stakeholders can be a game-changer in keeping the brand afloat. Leaders must ensure the combination of commitment, transparency, and authenticity to regain confidence during changing times.

#2. Learn to unlearn & relearn: Besides the innovation mindset, the team's quick adaptation capabilities are of utmost importance to thriving in these disruptive times. Leaders must encourage team members to take up new skills and apply creative methods of the past with fresh trends.

#3. Focus on talent transformation: Marketing teams can develop new talent models to differentiate themselves in a rapidly evolving digital environment. The development of a core team comprising roles that best reflect their competitive advantage is a necessity. The traditional team roles that existed until last year need a critical evaluation and restructuring.

#4. Revolutionise brand personality: It's no surprise that many renowned brands had to start from a clean slate to create their digital brand personality. The ones that were already established on digital also had to reinvent their virtual identity to match the status quo. Follow a simple plan --- know your rules, define your brand values, and create a unique positioning. With 'disruption an ongoing phase for brands', digital has provided a level playing field for well-established and young companies to revolutionize their personality.

#5. Frequently connect with the audience: While some organizations were more receptive to their customers, colleagues, and peers in times of uncertainty, others were too busy creating the last-minute survival strategy. Although a contingency plan is of utmost importance, brands must also focus on real-time social listening, and responding to customer queries quickly.

#6. Highlight core values: Sticking to a brand's core values and purpose to craft a new marketing strategy in the 'New Normal' has proved revolutionary for brands willing to drive impact. It is the need of an hour for marketers to represent a brand's value on digital creatively. To set a brand apart from the clutter provide real-life experiences to the audience with a unique communication style aligned to the brand values.

#7. Support a social cause: A brand's space to express itself is mostly limited to a mobile screen now. Amidst the showcase of the new offerings, marketing promotions, and competitive advantage, a brand has to reflect its values through the cause it supports. Therefore, stay true to the roots and give back to society through rational led campaigns.

#8. Understand the metrics: The ‘guess-work’ is over with the last decade, and we are in the era of ready to consume analytics drawn from an in-depth study of customer behaviour patterns. Hence, marketers need to adorn a newer perspective and consider various permutations and combinations when they think of data to draw insights.

#9. Influencer Marketing: An increased dependency on the virtual world has opened doors for unique digital content creators. The creativity, one-of-a-kind positioning, and relationship with the followers boosts the influencer marketing community. While it might look like a cakewalk, marketers need an in-depth analysis of the 5W1H (What, Why, Where, When & How) approach before implementing an influencer marketing strategy.

#10. Experiment & Innovate: Digital has made the marketing game more competitive. And with the increased use of virtual platforms, marketers are expected to be even more creative and accurate. Therefore, there is no replacement for experimentation and innovation when it comes to marketing.

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