When we think about what this year will hold, we must look back at the impact of our ‘annus horribilis’, 2020. The challenges we faced have set us in good stead for this year, and have formed the basis of our 2021 lessons. From a communications perspective one thing stood out to us very early on last year. Those companies that didn’t have their digital marketing machine up and running were going to struggle. Those who so far had relied on the golf-course and pubs were going to be penalised, while those who had a developed and integrated communication strategy were going to stand out from the crowd. Thanks to these observations, we’ve put together our top three lessons for 2021.
1. Clear digital messaging is even more important
The importance of clear digital messaging is now – more than ever – crucial. People are “clicking” more. 72% of consumers in the US agreed that their social media consumption has increased; we’re online constantly. Working from home, attending events and meetings from the comfort of our kitchen tables; clearly the chances of a potential client visiting your website before they meet you in person are way higher! Your digital presence is your only business card. So, this year, we think (and hope) that insight companies will invest in more effective digital communications with clear messaging that grabs attention and cuts to the chase.
2. Online events are different from offline ones
We have learned that offline events do not translate to online without significant changes. The events we have all been used to are now very different, there is much less opportunity to pitch from a booth, so getting your platform pitch right is going to be key. Which means giving much more thought to the value of your content and the clarity of your messaging.
Indeed, 2020 was the year that many insight agencies realised (some perhaps a little late) that good content is key. And not only good content, but fresh, innovative, media friendly content. After the tsunami of pandemic-related research studies we saw last year, we hope that in 2021 agencies will not dive deep into a new research project without knowing if it will bring them any ROI. We think that agencies will start planning their content more. Talking to experts, setting their goals, and understanding their audience in order to stand out.
3. Community matters
We’re entering this year full of hope. Hopeful that going forward the renovated sense of community and kindness within insights we saw last year will stick. Seeing how people came together in whatever way they could was inspiring. We are hopeful that people have learnt a new way of communicating with others, with honesty and compassion, and that this will be increasingly present, even in B2B. Ultimately, we’re hopeful that what we’ve all learnt in 2020 will serve as a stepping-stone for a 2021 which will be full of hugs and new beginnings.