Nobody had foreseen a year like 2020 when it comes to business. Companies all over the world had to make tremendous efforts to keep their business going in the best scenario and to simply survive in the worst case. A lot of companies, smaller and big, have disappeared from the scene forever.
At the end of the year, where we traditionally talk about last year’s trends, and where we highlight the upcoming trends for the next 12 months, this time we all can agree that the biggest trend - unforeseen as a ‘black swan’ - was COVID-19. Its impact on society in general and on the consumer and his behaviour was tremendous. There is society and business before COVID-19 and then there are our private and business lives after COVID-19.
2020 can be codified in our history as one of these threshold years, announcing that we are entering another era of our existence. When speaking about trends and their importance, we can say that COVID-19 created a paradigm shift for our civilization and society. A lot of things, also in our business lives, will have changed forever. What COVID-19 also did was accelerating certain trends that were lying there under the surface, waiting to be ignited by one or another event. Think about the digital transformation of companies, brands, products & services…
Where companies in the period before COVID still had the choice to postpone the digitalization of things, now all of them were obliged to do this, in order to survive. Think about the way we worked together with colleagues and clients. Products like Microsoft Teams, ZOOM, Google Meet, that were used by a group of digital nomads until yesterday, became the center (literally) of our daily ‘office” lives. Homeworking or teleworking was launched from one day into the other to the standard way of collaboration with each other. Where HR departments still considered ‘home office’ as an extra-legal advantage for some of us, it became the reality of all colleagues, all over the world. Companies like ‘Slack’ who have been living for years in the grey zone of business relevance, have become ‘Wall Street” top of the bill (Slack has been bought early December by Salesforce).
And, last but not least, of the highest relevance for our sector, consumer behaviour has immensely changed in the last 10 months. As we have seen in our own ‘Corona Tracking-survey’ just before summer, trends accelerated by COVID were buying local products, booming e-commerce in all sectors, the request by consumers for sustainable products and brands, the demand for meaningfull marketing and advertising, but also consumers asking for some happiness and fun in how brands are communicating. Let’s hope that the 2021 Cannes Lions will not go into the history books of our sector as the “COVID-campaign-Award Year”. This would only add to the bad memories of the year 2020.
With all my colleagues at Serviceplan Brussels, we wish you a better 2021, and a good read of this e-news full of interesting trends that will boost your brand into a best brand in 2021.