Marketing: Trends to watch out for in 2021
Marketing trends that you can expect to see this year
New-age brands on how the pandemic impacted their perspectives towards marketing

Marketing: Trends to watch out for in 2021

New-age brands on how the pandemic impacted their perspectives towards marketing
  • 2020 turned the marketing world upside down. All businesses had to adapt and relook at their strategies.
  • More traditional brands moved online and increased their investments in digital marketing.
  • As we end our series, in today’s feature, we speak to new-age brands to find out how the pandemic impacted their perspectives towards marketing and a few trends that they expect to see this year.
The ongoing pandemic has revolutionised how businesses function in the entire world. While COVID-19 pushed Indian brands to move online, it also made them relook at the tone of their marketing campaigns. As consumers tried to adjust to the new normal and heightened stress levels due to an uncertain future, advertising became more conversational and empathetic in 2020. Brands reminded their consumers and even their competitors that we are all in this together.

According to Zeno, when a brand is perceived to have a strong Purpose, consumers were four times more likely to purchase from the brand and 95% of surveyed Indian consumers were likely to continue to support brands in the event that they were to make a misstep or receive public criticism.

The pandemic has given the brandverse some time to pause, reflect, rework their strategies and they even kept aside competition to prioritise consumer interest. Consumers have started appreciating empathetic advertising instead of adversarial advertising, especially in stressed situations like extended WFH, threat of Covid and living away from their family members and friends. Apart from that, there was more conversation on AI, MI and XR. There will be more focus on videos, influencer marketing and hybrid events.

With a new-found appreciation for life and altered perspectives towards marketing, we reached out to new-age brands to understand how did COVID-19 change their marketing approach and what are some of the trends that they expect to see in 2021. Here is what they said:

Mayur Hola, Head of Global Brand, OYO Hotels & Homes:
Marketing: Trends to watch out for in 2021

I thought I’d do some research for this one and read pieces posted by global consulting firms, A&M publications, gurus, digital agencies et all. They were all super and gave guidance on personalisation, look-alike cohorts, selling on social, VR, chat bots, influencer marketing, programmatic, omnichannel, SEO, mailers, PNs, video content and so many other helpful things. But. We’re doing all this already. So is doubling down on what’s already working the new trend? I thought that was called common sense. Here’s the one trend I see in 2021. Delivering on your promise. Brands will speak 1:1 with their consumers more than ever and look to deliver what is asked of them. Because false promises and random unconnected purpose is being seen through and called out. Doing right by your consumers. There’s your purpose. Now put out some awesome creatives based on that.

Rahul Deorah, Vice President- Marketing at Urban Company:
Marketing: Trends to watch out for in 2021

Marketing has always been about understanding how a consumer reacts to certain triggers and how brands can use that to influence them. The year 2020 made us all think on our feet. Everyone had to go back to the drawing board to think of how to communicate the “safety” of purchasing or availing their products and services. However, in 2021, the trend I foresee emerging is deeper investment in the core consumer offering and, with consumer media habits changing, a declining trend in the absolute investments by brands to reach customers, with deeper efficiencies in the media mix.

Naresh Krishnaswamy, Growth & Marketing Head, Cure.fit:

Marketing: Trends to watch out for in 2021

We have seen massive upheavals last year in terms of marketing with consumer focus shifting primarily to digital channels owing to the pandemic. While such changes and shifts in trends happen each year, last year in particular saw a faster pace of change in marketing strategies and execution, opening up a great vistas for innovation and experimentation. Going into 2021, I expect the trends from 2020 to still continue. This coming year might mark a comeback for some companies who may up their marketing strategies in accordance with lessons learned from 2020. To solidify their positions in the market, brands need to focus on the development of a deeper level of trust with their customers. People will continue to place a higher premium on trust and transparency and companies need to be able to communicate efficiently with their customer base.

Moreover, with some pandemic-related restrictions still in place, virtual events and platforms will continue well into the coming months. While there is some amount of burn out from online events, there is also scope for further innovation. Marketers will have to be prepared for technological advancements. Emerging technologies, automation, AI/ML, augmented reality, etc. can heighten the immersiveness of such experiences and create space for more one-on-one interaction with audiences. More marketers should shift their focus on creating more enhanced consumer experiences online while we wait to physically get back to our previous lives.

Kartik Johari, Vice President, Nobel Hygiene:
Marketing: Trends to watch out for in 2021

Consumer Trends: Consumer spending will moderately rise, but economic woes will start weighing down on people. So far, we have survived the lockdown and the macroeconomic situation by burning our accumulated wealth and health. Sooner or later, there is bound to be a deep impact on our collective national psyche, of worsening unemployment, of a worsening economy, healthcare, etc.

Additionally, areas such as healthcare and personal care have taken an irrevocable step forward. We will see more growth on this front. People will focus on their physical health and will reorganize their time around it. There will be new problems to face, with a growing threat from medicine-resistant bacteria, growing now due to a heightened consumption of hand-sanitisers.

Value-based spending and ecologically sensitive spending is here to stay. People will henceforth buy/support brands with a similar ethos (true or not, is immaterial). Similarly, brands' efforts towards minimizing their carbon footprint will be appreciated by consumers.

Market Trends: Hygiene and FMCG will trend upwards, while other indicators will remain muted. Even IF the vaccine is successful, our market dynamics have not improved overnight. We are still an agrarian economy, without adequate public infrastructure on healthcare and education. We will require massive government spending to boost our market performance. Markets will remain in a state of limbo as they are now, wildly volatile and without impetus. We are now going into the 13th year without a market correction; at some point, this is bound to catch up.

Online Trends: Video content all the way, and a permanent boost to eCommerce. People have become comfortable consuming content and making transactions online, including using E-Wallets. However, apart from the obvious, only time will tell which long-term trends will sustain. There will be a boost in services that can help effectively target individuals in this new crowded realm, and some that can help them make sense of the breadth of content and services available.

Teaching and Training will have permanently moved online, and the sector will continue to grow tremendously, and will also help other sectors to aid in ancillary teaching services in person.

Dunzo's brand team:
Marketing: Trends to watch out for in 2021

One of the most important takeaways from 2020 for all content lovers has been the stories that uplift and inspire them. In a changing world, stories of the human spirit and the impact we as individuals and brands can have in our world, resonate most with users and customers. Going forward, we hope to keep that positive trend going with more stories from our community, touching on important human issues, and delivering some hope and delight with every post. Another trend we foresee is the continuation of moment marketing and putting our brand's unique spin on a viral sensation. It's always like an inside joke that is shared by a large audience, with no need for explanations or context. Finally, as we focus on quality over quantity, we plan to dive deeper into some of Dunzo's impact and inner workings through mediums such as podcasts and blogs. Using a combination of all three trends, we hope to expand our audience as well drive stronger engagement and shareability of content.