2020: A Year in Review and A Look Ahead Towards 2021

They say hindsight is 20/20 and we couldn’t agree more with this sentiment as we eagerly wave goodbye to 2020, leaving it in our rearview mirror. 2020 has been one for the books — and we don’t mean that in a good way. 2020 brought a variety of challenges across the globe as many companies went into lockdown starting in March. Since the onset of the pandemic, we saw a dramatic shift in the way many brands operate on a daily basis. I think if you asked anyone at the start of 2020 if it would be the year of innovation, you’d be met with many firmly stated no’s and we wouldn’t have blamed you. Budget cuts and a drastic shift in consumer trends don’t quite put anyone at ease.   However, the need for adaptation and stronger internal communications played a key role in ensuring the continued success of many brands. Here are a few lessons we’ve taken away from the unprecedented (undoubtedly the most used word) year that was 2020.   

Digital Reigns Supreme 

Covid-19 has encouraged many brands to experiment with technology, from recording live broadcasts on social media, shifting communications to platforms like Slack and Zoom, and sending out an increased number of emails to consumers. If a silver lining is to come out of this pandemic, we can credit Covid-19 with helping us quickly pivot by changing our means of digital communications that would otherwise have taken years to implement. 

Brands have quickly shifted their way of thinking by recognizing the importance of stepping up their digital marketing game in order to stay connected to their audience.

According to a CMO survey, 84% of consumers felt an increased openness to digital offerings and other digital experiences skyrocketed virtually overnight.

A brand relies on digital marketing, even when there isn’t a global crisis. Read that again. It relies on digital efforts to work. Brands only stay top of mind if their marketing team puts the message out there, strategically. Marketing teams all over the globe had to seamlessly pivot their digital marketing plans this year by taking a look at refining and stepping up their game with their social media presence, Google Ads, website, and email campaign strategies, paving the way for a more robust comms plan. 

Collaborative Effort Pays Off 

One of our very favorite movements to come out of the pandemic has been watching brands, especially competition, band together to help their communities. The “better together” mindset has been many companies saving grace.

As we all struggle to digest the cards we’ve been dealt this year, many companies found the silver lining in unlikely partnerships. By teaming up, they’re offering convenient solutions to consumers while being presented with the business opportunity to get back on their feet quicker than most. While many collaborations usually take time and the heads of multiple marketing teams, this year has forced business owners to pick up the phone and take charge.

Joining forces, these brands have been able to serve frontline workers and support the needs of their community; a true testament to voicing their solidarity. Much like individuals, brands need support, too. After all, there are humans just like me and you behind the face and voice of every brand. They say pressure makes diamonds, and many brands have sparkled in the darkness of 2020.

In a supply and demand crisis, major corporations like The American Red Cross and Anheuser-Busch joined forces, stepped up, and delivered more than 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer when they flew off the shelves at a rapid rate. Coining the clever tagline “It’s all in our hands to make a difference”, America’s leading brewer saw a need, knew they had the capability, and inspired distilleries around the globe to do the same. 

Businesses that get creative and think outside of the box will thrive even in an uncertain climate and 2020 has truly shown what can be achieved when brands collaborate.

Empathetic Brand Messaging Captures An Audience 

Hard sells were not on the agenda for 2020. Instead, many brands have taken this as an opportunity to resonate with their audience by getting to know them more genuinely and personally while gaining a sharper sense of what they offer for the community and people they serve. 

As we move into a new normal, brands (even us) had to shift marketing plans, looking towards the future rather than the present time. As many customers can’t afford a product or service at the moment, it’s imperative that companies communicate sincere messaging so that customer retention is at an all-time high. What they need is an emotionally positive experience with a brand, not an elevator pitch. People feel vulnerable, and empathy is paramount.

With the onset of the pandemic, many consumers had increased anxiety around in-store shopping, dining, and other experiences. How brands responded made all the difference. 61% of consumers claim that how a brand responds and reacts during the pandemic will have a large impact on whether they continue buying it when the crisis is over. From banks waiving overdraft fees to grocers setting aside time blocks for the elderly to shop safely, taking the time to send out social media posts and emails explaining the preventative measures your brand is taking to ensure the health and safety, and financial security of your audience is the key to cultivating a lasting relationship. 

2021: What’s Next?

None of us know what lies ahead of us in the coming year, but we’re certain of one thing: the little things can make a big difference. What do we mean by that? It’s simple. Serving over selling has been the defining characteristic of many brand marketing initiatives this year. Showcasing the human element behind a brand establishes a needed sense of transparency for audiences everywhere, especially during times consumers need it the most.   From major corporations to small businesses, no one came out unscathed in 2020. Covid-19 caused a ripple effect that we have all been impacted by in some way, from finances to how we communicate with each other.

We’re Always Here #ForYourBrand

As you sit down to develop your strategy to ultimately reach your marketing goals in 2021, we’re here #foryourbrand, and ready to help in any way that we can. Contact us to schedule a free one-hour brand evaluation where we will discuss your current branding strategy and (if chosen as your brand’s marketing partner) how the #TinsleyTeam can help position your brand’s identity and set you up for a successful, profitable future in the new year.  

From all of us at the #TinsleyTeam, we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

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