2020 is passing in the blink of an eye, but we are curious to see what 2021 will bring to the digital world. While there have been several memes that went on to amusingly take potshots on the eventful year 2020, those were dark humor that really went on to portray how the year panned into appalling uncertainty. Many of these memes have actually been used by advertisers to engage with consumers. Does this go on to signify that as dream merchants, we have always made the best use of adversity, confronted challenging situations, and stood as shining examples to society? If it were not for us, the whole of India would not have connected in virtual concerts, stood in solidarity with frontline workers through our remote habitats, portrayed how complex problems might be resolved in spite of social distancing, and in particular made everyone within the country conscious of the safety measures that one needed to undertake during the pandemic.
We as a community are not any strangers to disruption and turmoil. We have overcome economic pressures, political tensions, and even natural disasters. With the outbreak and therefore the global spread of the pandemic resulting in an entire shut-down, mega-events, gatherings, and such platforms that engage with brands and consumers, advertising agencies had to rejig their strategies and work doubly hard to make things happen in shoe-string budgets and remotely placed production equipment & operational teams. The world of advertising is heavily hooked on interpersonal and human connections, but we are rethinking the way we are operating. Some of the trends that might not just dot 2021 but a replacement era, since there’ll be no going back so as to fortify the longer term of the planet in the first place. These could be listed as below:
Building partnerships with data and tech platforms:
The pandemic and the ensuing lock-downs in various phases have not just impacted the manufacturing sector & supply chain of companies but also impacted the consumer demand. Consumers have become very stringent and most of the buying patterns are seen only in essential goods. Brands have and would within the future check out lowering their offline budgets and invest in online which has become essentially the marketplace across sectors. That apart the digital space is also a veritable consumer touchpoint for news & entertainment consumption. So a digital explosion is on the cards before later.
Agencies would need to offer more to their clients and create Intellectual properties on the digital platforms that would enhance the relevant consumer touchpoints. These would be engagement tools that will have to focus on creating long-term relationships with the sharply targeted audience groups instead of making ads and hard-sell. A case-in-point is “Tattva” – a platform that is being created as a ‘center of excellence’ for the BFSI segment audiences; IFAs and buyers simultaneously. A property like this is often a boon to the myriad financial brand that’s trying to find a market place!
B2B2C models through e-commerce solutions:
One specific surge which we’ll notice as a trend is that the B2B2C models of companies specializing in e-commerce. Agencies would need to actively work with advisors and data-driven firms to make bespoke solutions for buyers. With an eye fixed on efficiency in cost-savings, value-driven approach and gains within the short-term and sustainable growth within the mid to long-term
Focus on the experience:
Interaction and engagement on the virtual platforms would be key to everything. From brand launches to sporting events, the entire ecosystem is moving online and consumers are going to engage with the brands from the comforts of their homes. Experiences therefore and virtual transportation to another world would be important for advertisers. Fantasy games, virtual concerts, or for that matter retailing of fashion & food would all need to give the relevant experience for the consumers to buy into that experience and thereby the product.
Although one might not make certain, whether these innovations would find out how to negate the large accumulated losses the industries faced this year but it’s surely the right time for advertisers and advertising agencies to create capabilities in areas that might be primary within the new era. The agency of the future would need to be futuristic!
Article is authored by Arun Fernandes, CEO Hotstuff Media Group.