The global pandemic has ravaged the majority of businesses and brands alike. The consequences of government restrictions and lockdowns in 2020 will have an impact for years to come. Today, everyone is trying to adapt to the new circumstances and adjust their business strategies accordingly.
Brands weren’t able to avoid this scenario as well. Regardless of how well-developed a brand may be they were still hit pretty hard during the previous year. Sudden changes in the market have left brands wondering what to do next. 2020 is finally over, but the situation is still very uncertain.
Now, 2021 is well underway, and no one knows for sure what to expect anymore. In other words, brands are focusing on today and what they can do now instead of worrying about the future. With that in mind, here are a few branding challenges in 2021 and how to overcome them.
Digital marketing shift
Before the pandemic has begun, established brands, as well as businesses that were in the process of developing a brand, have created marketing strategies that were suitable for market conditions at that time. However, everything changed when the pandemic started, and the market was flipped upside down, so to say.
Consumers rapidly changed their behavior, and their purchasing habits altered as well. The main reason is that the pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to shut down, which left millions of people unemployed. Brands that remained operational were left with marketing strategies that are more or less ineffective.
Now, brands face the challenge of remaining afloat in a ruined market with marketing campaigns that no longer work as well as they should. The only way to overcome this challenge is to salvage whatever possible from existing campaigns and alter marketing strategies to suit current consumer needs.
Moving towards eCommerce
As mentioned before, the previous year was the year of lockdowns and restrictions due to health and safety issues. A lot of businesses that relied on brick-and-mortar retail sales were hit pretty hard. Some of them even closed shop for good.
During lockdowns, consumers shifted towards online purchasesand contactless payments. One would think that the eCommerce market would flourish during such times, but even eCommerce stores were in a tight spot. The main reason is that both local and global supply chains were disrupted due to restrictions. Nevertheless, the primary consumer focus is still on online shopping.
Brands that didn’t rely on eCommerce sales before now face the challenge of being unable to connect with their customers. The only way forward is to move towards eCommerce and reconnect with customers once again. Even though things are settling down now, and it seems like the pandemic might end soon enough, consumers are still wary and would prefer to shop online rather than in stores.
It’s no secret that the global pandemic has caught everyone off guard. Everything about how brands operate was disrupted at some point. Employees were not allowed to work from offices anymore, and companies turned towards remote work altogether. However, many brands weren’t prepared for this operational change, and both their external and internal communications were in shambles.
Although remote work allowed many brands to remain operational during these trying times, these brands are still struggling to maintain communications both in-house and with their customers. The only certain way to overcome this challenge is to invest in modern technology that will ensure seamless communication with customers and employees who are working remotely.
A lot of brands were preparing for the development of the 5G network, but even that was halted globally due to the pandemic. Fortunately, the good old 4G Internet is still up and running, thus allowing brands to utilize this network to the fullest. With fast Internet speed and reliable communication technology, brands will be able to overcome this challenge and resume optimal operations.
As mentioned before, brands are now focusing on the here and now. They are no longer concerned about future events because no one can say for certain how the situation is going to develop further. This may be looking favorable enough with the vaccine being developed and all but things can take an unexpected turn when we least expect them to.
Therefore, many businesses and brands alike dread the upcoming market volatility that’s a direct result of the global recession and economic crisis in the post-pandemic era we are slowly entering today. Up until now, brands were able to predict market shifts and changes in consumer behavior based on the latest trends and new technologies.
This allowed them to adapt quickly and prepare their strategies in advance so that they can remain competitive and relevant in the market. Today, no one can predict the future, and no one dares to invest in any marketing or other strategy due to the fear of wasting resources if things don’t turn out the way you expect them to. There really isn’t a good way to overcome this challenge other than to avoid making any long-term plans and strategies.
We’re almost through the half of 2021, and no one knows for sure how the situation will develop. People can only speculate and hope for the best. Brands, on the other hand, must be careful about their next step forward so that it doesn’t turn out to be a mistake.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.