As 2020 (finally!) comes to a close, it’s time to look ahead at the coming year in PR and marketing, andbrand elevation agency Matter Communications has announced its top five marketing and PR trend predictions for 2021. These insights are a direct result of the key takeaways and lessons learned from navigating 2020’s first-of-its-kind challenges together with more than one hundred brands.
“While this year’s disruptions turned traditional marketing strategies on their heads, they’ve allowed us to become laser-focused on what truly drives results—innovating new ways to connect brands with their audiences,” said Mandy Mladenoff, president of Matter. “Our PR pros, videographers, designers and digital marketing experts continue to help our client partners forge genuine human interactions through integrated campaigns, and we look forward to further elevating these experiences in 2021.”
Integrated campaigns drive more demand
A brand’s digital presence has become its lifeline to customers and partners in this increasingly remote environment—and will continue to do so in 2021. Stand-out companies will further use this unique moment to focus on creating innovative content and interactive demand generation programs to revolutionize digital and remote interactions, reaching audiences at their preferred point of contact to drive more sales and deliver memorable experiences.
“No two personas are consuming content the same way right now,” said Tania Stockbridge, director of portfolio marketing, software, solutions and services at Zebra Technologies. “So, you need to creatively develop unique content in a variety of formats that will pique interest within a holistic campaign. Matter makes our assets work harder for us, repurposing them across key mediums to extend global awareness about how our solutions help elevate the shopping experience, track and manage inventory, as well as improve supply chain efficiency and patient care.”
Live video lifts off
With global events embracing digital platforms for the foreseeable future—including CES, HLTH and NRF—companies will continue to pivot event budgets toward new ways of genuinely interacting with those audiences. Live video—whether a virtual event, webinar, product showcase/launch or internal communications tool—helps to create that authentic experience digitally. Distinct from pre-produced content, live video encourages viewers to participate in a conversation as it takes place, incorporating real-time storytelling, broadcast-quality production and targeted social distribution to maximize impact for brands and their stakeholders.
Influencer trust peaks
The value of Influencer marketing is no longer a matter of opinion. When it comes to brand, product or service recommendations, consumers continue to trust influencers over brands. Since social distancing restrictions began, consumers are spending more time engaging with social platforms and seeing more influencer content as a result. In a recent study, Matter found 82 percent of consumers have either purchased, researched or considered purchasing a product or service after seeing influencers, friends or family post about it. 2021 will solidify influencer marketing strategies as a proven approach to engage audiences digitally and bolster sales.
Podcasts rule the airwaves
More than 100 million Americans listened to at least one podcast each month in 2020. As podcast popularity skyrockets, marketers see the impact of this long-format digital content and are working the channel into their regular content schedules. Regardless of industry or size, podcasts can help position companies as thought leaders—while also providing a unique opportunity to reveal a brand’s humanity—and are proven to boost brand awareness and affinity, SEO, and purchase intent.
Internal comms takes center stage
While the new year can serve as a reset for companies and employees to start fresh, 2021 will bring many, if not all, of the communications challenges faced this year. Companies are prioritizing internal messaging more than ever, as employees and external audiences alike expect to hear clear and authentic communications from company leaders on a regular basis. As uncertainty persists, companies will continue to ask for support in communicating the state of their business, facilitating productivity and positive energy amongst remote employees, and providing their stakeholders with timely communications that create value.
With 200 professionals across offices in Boston and Newburyport, MA, Portsmouth, NH, Providence, RI, Pittsburgh, PA, Boulder, CO, and Portland, OR, Matter is one of the fastest-growing PR, creative services, digital marketing and strategy firms in the country. Recently named to Forbes List of America’s Best PR Agencies for 2021, Matter has won 12 “Agency of the Year” accolades in the past three years and has been consistently recognized as a top place to work.