In 2021 it will be impossible to separate plans and observations for life in general from advice that will help the marketing professional handle a turbulent and mercurial market.
Whilst there have been some notable successes in 2020 – tech companies, home delivery of just about anything – many companies will seek to bounce back from the pandemic but also find that environment in which they are operating is fundamentally different to how it was before.
We are a more digital society. This will cause a ripple through multiple industries who will need to improve their digital offerings. For those who are digitally enabled, new markets are evolving on a global scale that are happy to be served from anywhere. Virtual reality will become mainstream as headsets become more common and the experience will become more controllable by the consumer. There will be less tolerance of poor quality as consumers experience best-in-class and consumers will want to be in the driving seat, controlling the experience.
We will want, more than ever, to get close to our friends and family. Sadly, in 2021 there will be huge moments of national and international grief as we finally accept the impact of the pandemic on our society. In order to maintain the national spirit in 2020, national governments have, to some extent, shielded us from the worst excesses of collective loss. In the United Kingdom, whilst the BBC, the national broadcaster, has faithfully reported the mortality figures each day, very few names have been put to individual losses. Once the pandemic is under control, there will inevitably be a tidal wave of mourning. Companies and public figures will need to be sensitive to the fragility of society as we grieve and heal.
Whilst some will be mourning, we will also witness a new zest for life in people of all ages. It will not just be the young who want to make up for lost time. Think of the septuagenarian who has missed important an important early year in their retirement and is now desperate to see friends and new places.
Perhaps our circles of friendship will be smaller and more close-knit. I am sure we will all remember who kept us going through the lockdowns, home-schooling and nights of Zoom quizzes? For those people, we would give the earth.
Speaking of earth, this is a chance to rebuild the world in a more conscious, responsible way. There will be changes in the way everyone moves forward after our enforced circuit break. We have all had more time to observe nature and the effect of our slower pace of life on the environment.
Welcome 2021. Here’s to companies, industry leaders and public figures supporting us along the way, helping to make it easier to be socially responsible, caring individuals who know how to make every day count. Let’s make sure that we are here to comfort one another as we heal.