For the past 35 years, Brand Keys, has conducted a year-end examination of our independently-validated loyalty and engagement metrics from 100,000+ consumers who participated in our surveys.
Our surveys audit B2B, B2C, and D2C categories and nearly 1,000 brands. This provides Brand Keys with a correlated-to-behavior view of changes in category dynamics, detours in customer journeys, expanded consumer expectations, and arrivals and departures of category and consumer values, like sentiment, trust and allegiance.
Examined from a 21st century loyalty perspective, and tempered by current economic and health challenges, our assessments provide us with a predictive view of trends marketers will have to deal with in the next 18 to 24 months.
This year we identified 11 trends, which will become brand realities in 2021:
- Social media will only get bigger as consumers renounce more traditional platforms.
- The ability for a brand to be more agile is critical and will only materialize if brands start leveraging predictive insights.
- Voice assistants will become more of an imperative as part of your digital “staff.”
- As things become more (and more) interactive, brands will need to find a better balance between entertainment and engagement if they want consumers to participate.
- Emotional connections and sentiment will become integral to fortifying brand loyalty and engagement.
- High levels of loyalty and engagement will mitigate ongoing weaknesses in the supply chain.
- Given the COVID-19 pandemic – now and for the foreseeable future – local listings will be more critical than ever.
- Brands will need to shift from demographic segmentation to customer value segmentation.
- Storytelling is fine, but the stories brands tell must transparently reflect real brand values, category realities, and customer belief-systems (See Trend #8).
- The consumer will use 7+ online sources to facilitate purchase decisions, and brands need to know which provide the greatest leverage in their categories.
- As ethnic groups continue to grow in size and influence, brands and retailers will need to integrate culture and culture-specific brand experiences into all outreach.
When it comes to the future, it’s said there are three kinds of marketers: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.
These trends provide those who want to make it happen an opportunity to understand how best to embrace new methods of brand and consumer engagement, perfect new business models, adopt new technologies, and create new and profitable opportunities.
We wish you all a healthy and successful 2021.
Related Read: Loyalty Trends in 2020: How Will This Year Be Different?