From initial brand reactions to the pandemic back in March, all the way to family-focussed festive adverts, it’s been a time when brands have had to come to terms with a new way to work, shop and live.
Purpose matters, make it count
Back at the very start of the year, the use of terms such as key worker, social distancing and self-isolating were virtually non-existent. Even words like lockdown were reserved for video games or the latest post-apocalyptic blockbuster. The notion that a global pandemic was about to restrict and threaten our lives was even more unimaginable.
Yet nearly 12 months on, the new normal has firmly become the normal. As coronavirus took over our world, businesses were quick to respond and play their part in the fight against an invisible killer. And while many hit the spot, there were plenty of others that missed the mark. For brands who shout loud and proud about caring for customers, communities or causes, their purpose has been put to the test more than ever due to COVID-19.
However, the pandemic is far from the only factor. In an age of misinformation where democracy is increasingly fragile and upheaval seemingly frequent, consumers are turning to companies to solve societal issues. This makes for a complex cocktail where health crises, political shake-ups and the big philosophical questions collide to create an environment of uncertainty and mistrust.
But brands with a purpose have power. A strong and true business mission that resonates with your audience will help you withstand and even flourish during uncertain times. At the core of that purpose must be humane, transparent and simple communication. Some of the world’s biggest brands have mastered this and successfully built both trust and loyalty in the process.
Conversation not conversion
The past year has seen a seismic shift in the way that businesses are approaching their marketing and advertising. Many brands have reconfigured their internal GPS to focus on purely image building. Gone are the days of cold, hard product placements and costly city centre billboards. Even the fake and phoney influencer culture has taken a back seat, in favour of human-focussed, conversation-led messaging.