What Should Brands be Paying Attention to in 2021?

What Should Brands be Paying Attention to in 2021?

A good place to start is a better understanding of where consumer behaviour is headed. Mintel predicts that there are seven global consumer trends that will impact how brands will need to adapt their strategies for winning and keeping consumers.

Lulu Raghavan, Managing Director of Landor & Fitch has taken the headlines from Mintel and explained each trend in her own way.

1. Health Undefined

Health and wellness have risen to the top of every consumer's priority. The conversation starts with safety - which is no longer table stakes for brands - but then moves on to a holistic sense of wellbeing that consumers are embracing. From sleep and meditation conversations that have gone mainstream to an interest in a slew of immunity-boosting products, health and wellness are manifesting itself in all aspects of consumers' lives.

2. Collective Empowerment

Consumers are increasing awareness of their collective might. When they rally together to align around causes close to their heart, they can make a huge difference. Black Lives Matter has shown just how much grassroots involvement by consumers to impact change in a number of areas will be the norm going forward.

3. Priority Shift

Millennials had already shown the big consumer shift from material possessions to experiences. Post-Covid, the concept of ownership will be redefined even further. There might be two extremes here and lots of in-betweens. One segment will return to a far simpler, minimalist lifestyle. On the other hand, once we emerge from lockdown there will be a huge YOLO segment that will want to live life king size at the moment and embrace full-on physical OTP experiences.

4. Coming Together

The isolation during the pandemic has created more of a desire for consumers to link up with other like-minded folks through shared interests and beliefs. We'll see an explosion of virtual communities on digital platforms that connect consumers more closely with each other. From greater bonding with neighbours to more outreach in the community, social togetherness at the local level will gather momentum.

5. Virtual Lives

Increased number of hours spent online got consumers super comfortable with consuming digital experiences. Some may be so comfortable with virtual living that stepping out of the house may not be a necessity after all.

6. Sustainable Spaces

2020 redefined our relationship with space and has forever changed our expectation from the spaces that we inhabit. This coupled with increased concern for Planet Earth, there will be a heightened consciousness on sustainability which will flow into all aspects of our lives.

7. Digital Dilemmas

As we've embraced digital, we've also increased our desire to escape its stranglehold. From Zoom fatigue to eye soreness to a host of other negative impacts on our health and wellbeing, consumers everywhere are struggling to define the right balance of the real and virtual that will be beneficial to their physical and emotional wellbeing.

So how should brand owners make sense of all these changes and think about the implications for their brands?

Lead with Empathy to Deepen Consumer Understanding

Putting ourselves as brand owners in our consumers' shoes has never been as important as it is now. It's time to examine all the ways in which we collect and analyse our consumers. How well do we understand our consumer – not just their behaviour with our brand but their broader world? Do we have a clear picture of who they are? What are their aspirations and anxieties? How can we add real value in their lives? Which of Mintel's' trends impact our business more than the others? The implication is to immediately commission primary research or collate and study secondary research on our consumers.

Areas should include understanding the consumer as an individual (broad), their relationship with the category (more specific) and their relationship with our brand (laser-focused). It is best to get your team involved in collecting the data and culling consumer insights. There is no better way to get close to your consumers and have real empathy for them.

Question Everything and Reimagine Why You Exist as a Brand

This is as opportune a time as any to fundamentally rethink the business and its very reason to exist. Brands will surely need to find a legitimate purpose to own, ways to create relevance and ways to stand out from the sea of sameness in every category.

It will take a lot of open-mindednesses to kill the sacred cows and think of fresh, new ways in which to add value in your consumers' lives. The insights gleaned in the empathy stage should be the foundation of reimagining your brand's purpose.

Think of a Holistic Brand Experience to Serve Your Consumers Better

The consumer journey framework is the most useful tool you can use now to map every interaction touchpoint with your consumer – be it physical, digital or human – and plot how you will engage deeper and more holistically across all the touchpoints of the brand experience. It's goodbye to SILOS and hello to a unified view of consumers by all parts of your organization to truly serve them better.

In short, brand transformation in the service of business and consumer behaviour transformation is the need of the hour.

It's time you embarked on this to give your business the competitive brand edge it needs.

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