Which trends from 2020 will continue into the new year and which will not?
If 2020 reminded us of anything, it’s that humans adapt quickly to new circumstances. Last year, we witnessed an accelerated adoption of technology across rudimentary aspects of consumers' lives (i.e., online grocery shopping and the like). As people’s confidence to navigate a tech-everything world grows, so will adoption across all aspects of their lives. Mom and Dad will see the Apple Watch and Fitness+ as being tools built just for them. Grandma will want an Ember mug, so her tea never gets cold. Uncle Ray, the master tradesman, will think the Calm app doesn’t seem all that ‘out there’ after all. The lesson for brands is what may have once seemed like a fringe or niche digital “thing” for younger audiences has quickly become something interesting for the mainstream to discover. Don’t be afraid to put new things out into the world for people to learn with you.... they’re already doing it with elation.
The second big trend I see continuing into 2021 is something our collective started talking about last year, which is that every brand is now a wellness brand. Wellness has transformed from a category of goods and services to a core attribute people will expect all brands to deliver on. It’s no surprise crisis and isolation has fueled this movement. In 2021 and beyond, wellness just might become the new religion. For brands, don’t discount your opportunity to contribute to this gospel, even if your role isn’t obvious. I personally found my Zen many times last year over a bag of Ruffles Sour Cream & Onion chips.
In your opinion, what will 2021 look like for advertisers and agencies?
A bit like last year, and more of what we haven’t been in a while. On the one hand, we can’t be naive in thinking that 2021 will be some preverbal phoenix rising from the ashes. We are still very much in the throngs of a global crisis, and we will be for a while. This means uncertainty, and the dynamics that go along with it, will remain what brand owners must navigate. Empathy, usefulness, agility, and precision are the imperative modus operandi of the modern marketer.
That said, fortune will truly favor the brave in this coming year. Our industry is collectively waking up from its safe slumber, realizing that our collective status quo is actually riskier than change. We can, and will, become the drivers of unreasonable growth once again. Ideas that result in incremental gains will not be bought. We will move markets by making work that is disruptive and anything but the “safe bet.”
What will your clients value most in the next 12 months?
In short: perspective, partnership, and proactivity.
What agency models and skills will emerge by 2022?
That’s our proprietary advantage, sorry. What I will say is that the agency model of the future will not wait for people to tell them what they need. Anticipation and proactivity will win the days to come.
As countries are entering lockdowns again and vaccines begin to roll out, how should brands look to resonate with consumers?
Similar response to your question about what 2021 will look like for agencies and advertisers – through empathy, usefulness, agility, and precision. More specifically with regards to lockdowns and vaccine rollouts, let’s just be sure to not add to the noise or confusion… there seems to be enough of that out there at the moment.