January 14, 2021

5 Trends Brands Must Know for 2021

by Lavender Nguyen

Brands want to - and need to - stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest trends in marketing and consumerism. That makes sense. The more you know about upcoming trends, the better you can prepare your brand strategy and strengthen your chances of growth.

However, it is also important not to jump on just any bandwagon; when it comes to trends, you need to focus on what will benefit you and your target audience.

Considering the trials and tribulations inflicted on the marketplace thanks to 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has changed for brands in 2021. Plus, with increasing competitiveness and certain brands hanging on by a string, it is crucial to be aware of and follow the most beneficial trends.

To help you make the best decisions in 2021, this post will outline the most important changes in customer behaviors and brand marketing trends that you need to know. Take on board the advice and stay in the know so you can give your marketing that extra edge.

5 Trends Brands Must Know for 2021

1. The global pandemic has transformed consumers’ lifestyles and spending habits

2020 is over but COVID-19 is still impacting our lives - and that’s not set to end anytime soon. The majority of respondents in the 2020 Gartner Consumer Values and Lifestyle survey predict that the world won’t return to some sense of “normality” until Fall 2021 or later.

This includes consumer spending habits.

One of the most prominent trends of 2021 is that home continues to be multifunctional: working from home, eating from home, shopping from home, etc. As a result, online shopping will continue to thrive.

Consumers have been turning to online shopping to limit exposure to the coronavirus. Data from Adobe found that consumers spent about $34.4 billion online during Cyber Week, representing a 20.7% year-over-year increase. Smartphones accounted for over 41% of online revenue, and this number is expected to increase in 2021 as 5G becomes more widely available.

How You Can Implement This Trend Into Your Strategy

  • Offer home delivery services and/or move your products online. For example, if you’re running a gym, consider providing online workout classes or developing an app to help people stay fit at home. Be creative and you’ll find a way to become a part of consumers’ home-based lives.

  • Optimize your website to offer exceptional shopping experiences. Ensure you include popular payment methods, deliver on time, provide excellent customer service, and customers will choose your brand over another. The golden rule to acing this trend is to do everything you can to help customers feel safe and comfortable when shopping with you.

2. Consumer loyalty is decreasing

According to McKinsey’s Covid-19 US Consumer Pulse survey, consumers have been switching brands at unprecedented rates during COVID-19: 36% of consumers tried a new product brand, while 25% incorporated a new private-label brand. Of those consumers who have tried different brands, more than half intend to continue to include these brands into their routine.

To win back consumer loyalty, brands must meet consumer needs in the most targeted and personalized ways possible. Meeting those personalized expectations starts with understanding each customer as an individual with unique needs and preferences. By doing this, brands can design experiences that make consumers feel comfortable when shopping with them.

Remember, consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations, so brands never go wrong when offering personalized experiences.

How You Can Implement This Trend Into Your Strategy

  • Invest in customer data and analytics foundations to learn about customers’ needs. You can invest in brand tracking software or simply use polls or online surveys to collect customer feedback. These insights can be used to identify ways in which you can hold onto consumer loyalty.

  • Segment your customers based on behaviors, demographics, or psychographics to run target marketing campaigns. Doing that will boost your campaign’s relevance and performance and let your audience know you care about their needs.

3. Sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have, but a requirement for most brands

Since the beginning of the pandemic, consumers have developed an increasing demand for sustainability. Consumers are now more aware of why they make a purchase, who they purchase from, and how a product is made. Consumers will pay more attention to the brands that stress these values. David Morrissey, Director of Strategy at Camp + King, puts it best:

Assuming the basic table stakes of value, availability, and convenience are met, consumers may use a new framework when deciding between brands: Do good for me/us, do good for your people, do good for the world.”

What’s more, socially conscious consumers want brands to demonstrate responsibility and transparency through concrete actions. Research on sustainable fashion shows that creating and communicating sustainable attributes has a halo effect, influencing customer perceptions—especially around quality and value—at key decision-making moments.

How You Can Implement This Trend Into Your Strategy

  • Provide detailed information about the source of materials used, the manufacturing process, and any other information important to the eco-friendly consumer. Ensure your frontline employees have clear answers to consumer questions to a sustainable image can be maintained.

  • Offer opportunities for your customers to get involved in the issues you’re trying to solve. Make it super easy for them to actively engage with your sustainability messaging and offerings daily. Buy-one-give-one giving programs from TOM shoes or Bombas socks are typical examples.

4. Being transparent, authentic, and even vulnerable, is smart marketing in 2021

Now, more than ever, brands need to demonstrate their human side. COVID-19 causes a lot of fear but also empathy. Regardless of nation, color, and religion, people are sharing and listening to each other a lot more. These same people will also show support for brands that represent values associated with kindness and caring - and will abandon brands that lack humanization, transparency, and authenticity.

Think about what you’ve done to support your customers during this crisis. What else you can do to ease the challenges your community is facing? What are the concerns of your target audience? How can you make them trust you more? Responding to these questions will make you authentic and relevant, and remind people that you’re always beside them.

How You Can Implement This Trend Into Your Strategy

  • Ensure policies on delivery, returns, refunds, corporate social responsibility, etc. are available on your website. Avoid hidden fees and sticker shock at checkout.

  • Make use of social media and email marketing to deliver a direct, personalized message of resilience to customers and reassure them that you are there.

  • Don’t talk about how much you lost during the crisis; focus on sharing what you have done to help the wider community and showcase the real people behind the scenes.

5. A successful SEO strategy needs to be optimized for user experience, not just search engines

Search for “SEO trends 2021” and you’ll find heaps of information on voice search, image search, artificial intelligence, local search listings, web experience optimization, long-form content, and more. However, there are two crucial things you need to keep in mind.

The first is to carry out SEO with user and search intent in mind. As so much has changed rapidly in 2020, it’s important to review and learn what your target market needs, what they’re looking for from you, how they’re finding you, and whether you’re helping them overcome current challenges. SEO marketers who will be successful in 2021 “will be those who can truly understand how to meet searchers’ needs”, said Marie Haynes, CEO, Marie Haynes Consulting Inc.

Secondly, you need to make it super easy and clear for Google to understand your brand. According to Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP guy at Kalicube.pro, brands should clarify who they are, what they offer, and what audience they serve.

Qualifying the relationships between the legitimacy of author credentials to content, in addition to the way Google perceives value from content, will be even more important".

How You Can Implement This Trend Into Your Strategy

  • Review and optimize your brand’s entire digital presence, including website and social media channels. Look at how Google features all of your properties, check your competitors’ to see if they’re doing better than you, and then make improvements.

  • Do keyword research on what your target audience is looking for and produce content that helps solve their concerns. Don’t talk about your brand and products, catering to customers instead. “Don’t make people work to find your content or to spend money with you. No forced pop-ups, registrations, etc.”, said Adam Riemer, President at Adam Riemer Marketing.

Keep your 2021 brand marketing strategy updated with trends!

The global pandemic has affected consumers’ behaviors, trust, and loyalty. This, in turn, has resulted in massive shifts in consumerism that brands need to be aware of and take on board. By aligning yourself with the marketing trends mentioned above, you’ll be better equipped to run successful marketing campaigns.

Just remember that you don’t have to take every single trend on board. What is more beneficial is determining what is in your brand’s best interest and putting your focus there. This way, you can bring forth more robust branding that your customers can’t help but interact with.

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