Trends in the world of advertising, marketing and public relations are exciting and elusive things. Their popularity can go through the roof one week and be virtually nonexistent by the start of the next. Regardless of how unpredictable they are, getting in on a trend before others do can be a massive boon for an agency.
Consequently, there’s a continual focus on anticipating which emerging trends will explode before they become mainstream. Below, 15 members of Forbes Agency Council look at some of the trends they expect to rise to prominence as this year progresses.
1. A Growing Focus On Simplicity
Simplicity is key. Given the growth of everything digital, making things more focused on essential tasks will be critical. Expect simpler website design, less color and focused use cases for product applications. – John Assalian, Viewstream
2. Differentiating On Customer And Employee Experiences
As a global experience consultancy, we see how more companies will need to differentiate on experience. Customer and employee experiences are becoming the new competitive advantage, a step beyond quality products or exceptional service. Successful organizations are starting to view their own employee experience with the same level of importance as their customer’s experience. Seamless employee experience is key. – Ross Freedman, Rightpoint
3. The Overlap Of Different Marketing Disciplines
The overlap of different marketing disciplines will become even stronger, with an impact on the buying and delivery side. What matters more than ever before is a true understanding of brands’ challenges and the research-based strategy that sums it up in a compelling, big idea. This can come from traditional PR, advertising, social media or events experts—there is no monopoly on great ideas! – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications
4. A Shift In How Influencers Choose Partners
In 2020, influencers pivoted their content strategies from being self-focused to community-focused. They led without being asked, and as a result, many of them now feel it’s their job to speak up. So going forward, the shift in how influencers now view themselves and their responsibilities toward their followers will create a fundamental shift in how and why they choose to partner with brands. – Atul Singh, The Shelf
5. The Increasing Importance Of Data
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are reaching a stage where marketers have more insights into consumer behavior, attribution and preferences than ever before. Winners will be those brands and agencies that harness that superpower to hyper-target their marketing and match the media, message, frequency and location to the individual consumer or business. “Micro” will ultimately replace “mass.” – Nancy A Shenker, theONswitch
6. More Use Of AI In E-Commerce
More use of AI in e-commerce is one thing that I definitely think we will see a lot of in the industry. As things continue to evolve, what is clear is that there is going to be more and more use of AI, as well as of other platforms, to ensure better outcomes. – Jon James, Ignited Results
7. Rising Adoption Of Facebook And Instagram Shops
We are seeing a rise in e-commerce sites adopting Facebook and Instagram Shops. This new feature allows products to be sold directly on Facebook or Instagram with a simplified order process. With payment details on file, this sets the stage for a seamless one-click transaction that could eventually rival Amazon. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint
9. A Shift From Mobile To Desktop Search
With an abundance of people working from home for the majority of 2020 (and likely most of 2021), people are less shy about searching on their desktops within the privacy of their own homes. Therefore, we see a shift from mobile to desktop, as users aren’t worried about co-workers seeing their shopping lists on their monitors at the office. – Larry Gurreri, Sosemo LLC
9. More Focus On Self-Care
Self-care will be paramount. Consumers are taking multiple measures to deal with the rising levels of stress, a trend that has been steadily rising for years but reached new levels during the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, brands will learn how to take part in these self-care routines to become more helpful and win consumer loyalty. – Hamutal Schieber, Schieber Research
10. Increasing Popularity Of Over-The-Top Advertising
With the rising popularity of OTT streaming services, advertisers now have unique opportunities to reach an ever-growing streaming audience and target their key consumers like never before. Forward-thinking advertisers who take advantage of this new opportunity can now build their brands by reaching untapped OTT audiences at scale. – Dennis Cook, Gamut. Smart Media from Cox.
11. The Continued Rise Of Online Community Building
In 2021, we’ll see the continued rise of online community building. Brands that bring their consumers together through on-site forums, Facebook groups or other social platforms are providing value beyond their actual products. People crave interaction more than ever. Brands have an opportunity to link like-minded people together and, in the process, strengthen their brand loyalty. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group
12. Brands Being Judged By Their Actions
If Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter movement and the Facebook boycott have taught us anything, it’s that brands will be judged by their actions, not just their advertising. I think 2021 will be the year that brands bring that realization to life by focusing on strategically identifying their authentic purpose and finding ways to act and live those values for consumers. – Joanne McKinney, Burns Group
13. Hybrid Events And Digital Live Broadcasts
In 2020, business and marketing efforts have been largely digital out of necessity; and there have been some great successes and learnings. As we move into 2021 in the experiential space, we’ll take these learnings and apply them as we are able to gather in person safely, but hybrid events and digital live broadcasts will likely play very prominent roles in brand experiences in the new year. – Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing
14. Working From Home Becoming Standard Practice
Work from home is here to stay. I believe WFH has always been a viable option for most agencies. The pandemic forced it upon us, and we’ve adapted. Lesson learned? It actually works. It may not be ideal for every situation, but I project no less than a 50-50 split between WFH and office work from here forward. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group
15. More Investments In Risk Management Strategies
Companies recognize that an issues-management or crisis plan is no longer nice to have or only for the IBMs and Chevrons of the world. In a post-Covid-19 world, savvy CEOs will invest in leveling up their corporate communications and risk management strategies, with their CMOs and agencies at the helm. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
Read the full trends article here.