How to use PR and comms to scale your tech business
Written by Jack Terry
The road to recovery from Covid-19 is in sight.
Throughout the last year of anxiety and separation, tech has helped us stay informed, stay in touch, and stay in control of our lives as best we could.
Technology now has a central role in every business, every social group, and our personal lives. Communities are built online, big moments can be shared and celebrated, and work can get done from anywhere on the planet.
As we begin to leave lockdown behind and the economy reopens, there are opportunities on the horizon for tech businesses willing to seize them.
Why you should focus on PR and comms in 2021
The UK tech sector has had a record investment of nearly £5.7 billion in the first months of 2021, showing there is a huge appetite for growing businesses.
How you talk about your brand over the remainder of the year could have a profound impact on whether your business climbs to new heights, or is left behind as new start-ups and competitors emerge from this influx of funding.
Read on for an overview of how you can start to build a successful PR and comms strategy, or download the full report for an in-depth look at the media landscape and how best to position your business for building awareness with the media, generating social engagement, and fuelling long-term growth.
How to create a PR and comms strategy that gets results
You want a PR plan that gets your brand featured in the top titles and online publications. But coverage alone isn’t enough, it needs to drive your key business objectives and help drive growth.
The key to this is making sure your comms build authority and trust.
While the world may be opening up again, buyers and investors remain cautious. The landscape is constantly changing, so you need to remain stable and agile, demonstrating your expertise, showing that your business is a safe bet and able to navigate market challenges.
When thinking about PR and comms, consider what you want to achieve, not just in terms of sales or downloads or sign ups, but also in terms of thought leadership, branding, and market positioning. What do you want to be known for? Are you speaking to the right audience? Are you landing the right message in the right way at the right time?
Consider your positioning
Tech businesses have provided the infrastructure and support to keep the world moving during lockdown. 38% of consumers perceive the tech industry more favourably now than they did at the start of the pandemic.
Much of that has come down to businesses evaluating their purpose, their mission, and ensuring everything they do, and every piece of comms they put out, highlights and reinforces their commitment to that mission.
Not only does this help communicate why you do what you do, but it can also galvanise and inspire your workforce as well as your audience.
Think about how your customers’ mindsets have changed
A year of lockdown has given everyone time to think, and many of us have re-evaluated what we want from our work, our personal life, and our relationship with technology.
People want transparency more than ever, especially from tech companies that may have access to our personal data, but businesses across all industries are taking a more human-led approach, ensuring that people are at the heart of every decision.
When it comes to your messaging, ask yourself if it is centred around an issue that effects your audience or customers. If your campaigns talk about a real-world issue, in a clear and simple way, they’ll resonate not just with journalists, but with the people you’re trying to reach.
Invest time into your content
As our route out of lockdown continues to ease and the economy reopens, there’s going to be a flood of content from tech brands and given that 20,000 of these were developed during the pandemic, there’s more content to deal with than ever before.
There’s more pressure than ever before to stand out, so how do you do that?
Put yourself in the place of your audience.
Podcast consumption has more than doubled on Spotify during the pandemic, but just because this media format is on the rise, doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon. Ensure your content is on the appropriate platform for your audience and tailored for that format to really see the benefits.
Whether it’s LinkedIn to catch the eye of potential investors, Tik Tok to grow your audience among Gen Z, or YouTube for more widespread exposure, your content should be hyper-specific to your audience, this includes the platform that its hosted on.
The days of recycling content across platforms are well and truly over, we go into more detail with content marketing for tech brands in our guide.
Nurture leads through consistent comms
The current climate has made buyers and investors harder to convince than ever. They need more evidence of success and demonstrations of your authority within the industry.
Consistent thought leadership pieces in relevant industry titles can help cement you as a serious player that is engaged beyond your business with a key opinion on wider market conditions and news, while at the same time helping move potential targets down the marketing funnel as their awareness of your business continues to grow.
There are record amounts of dry powder ready for investment in 2021. Ensuring you have the right comms strategy in place will help you get noticed and take your business to new heights in the coming rebound and recovery.
Following these steps can help your PR strategy evolve by landing media coverage, appearing in front of key audiences, and growing your businesses, all while ensuring you and your business are industry leaders in the eyes of potential investors and customers.
What are Google’s Core Web Vitals, and what do they mean for SEO?
Written by Jack Terry
Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm which dictates how well websites perform in organic search.
There are many different ranking factors, from the words on your page to how fast your site loads, the amount of traffic you get to how long people stay on your site. All of these factors build on top of each other to give Google a picture of how user-friendly your site is. The easier it is to navigate, the better, and the higher you’re likely to rank in search.
Google is set to double down on this in May, and will be rolling out new performance signals to judge sites. This could have a big impact on the SEO industry, as well as how every website ranks in search, so we’re taking a look to see what can be done ahead of time to get ahead of the curve.
How Google’s Core Web Vitals will impact search rankings
Google’s Core Web Vitals will be launched as part of Google’s Page Experience Update, so if you’re looking to outrank your competitors in search, now’s the time to start optimising your website to climb those search rankings.
Google has always been concerned with how user-friendly, responsive, and helpful sites are, this is just the latest iteration of what they’re looking for when it comes to performance. As always when it comes to Google, they’re looking to reward sites with a good user experience.
Once this is rolled out, sites with healthy metrics will have a little icon next to their URL in search, sort of like a verified tick but for Google, which may become synonymous with a good user experience.
If you want your site to be number one in Google, you need to be following these metrics, and making sure your site is healthy, fast, and providing value to your visitors.
What are Google’s Core Web Vitals?
Largest Contentful Paint
This is the time between the start of a page load to when the largest image or text block is loaded.
I’m pretty sure ‘contentful’ isn’t a word, but since Google can more or less call this whatever they want, we just have to play ball.
This should happen in under 2.5 seconds. The less time it is, the better.
First Input Delay
This is how long it takes for your pages to actually become responsive to clicks after they load in. This should take less than 100 milliseconds.
If users can’t engage with your site quickly, they’re more likely to bounce, to leave and go somewhere else than wait for your site to load.
Google tracks this, and will move sites that don’t perform lower in search, so it’s crucial your site can keep people engaged and clicking.
Cumulative Layout Shift
This is how much your page features move around while the page is loading. If you have a lot of banners or pop-ups, that causes the content blocks on your page to move around, which can be jarring for users.
Your CLS (cumulative layout shift) score should be as low as possible to ensure a good user experience and a positive ranking boost from Google.
All these elements impact the overall user experience, and Google has always ranked sites based on this. While you should still try to optimise your on-page SEO in terms of keywords and heading tags, you must also make sure your site is fast and easy to navigate.
Crucially, Google has said that sites must meet the minimum criteria across all three areas before they can expect a ranking boost.
How do Google’s Core Web Vitals mean for your SEO?
If your site is slow, you won’t rank
Given how we use the internet now, slow sites are almost a thing of the past. Think back to the last time you were on a site took more than two seconds to load – either you can’t remember because it hasn’t happened for months, or you got annoyed and went somewhere else.
It’s more important than ever that your site loads quickly. There are ways to improve any website’s speed, from cutting unnecessary assets to shrinking file sizes.
If your site is clunky, you won’t rank
Your site shouldn’t overload visitors with pop-ups, banner ads, or videos. It is also has to be mobile optimised. Fewer and fewer people are using desktops for browsing, and Google’s mobile-first approach means you can’t afford to have a site that doesn’t perform well on mobile.
Some start ups aren’t even bothering to create desktop versions of their websites when they launch now, opting to focus entirely on the mobile experience instead.
It’s possible to rank higher in search thanks to Core Web Vitals
The good news is that with some relatively minor tweaks to your site, you can likely expect a reasonable boost in search rankings if you jump through Google’s hoops, but really everything they’re asking for correlates with a good user experience that you should be providing anyway.
SEO has always been about trying to figure out what Google wants, but also about helping the end user who is visiting your site. The two go hand in hand.
While these aren’t the only ranking factors to take into account, they will start to have a big impact on how your site (as well as your competitors) will appear in search, so the sooner you start looking into your site’s performance, the sooner you can start making changes to improve how you rank in search, and get more traffic, leads, and conversions.
Get in touch with Eulogy today to start an SEO campaign and boost your search rankings.
Google vs Australia: How much power does Google have over search?
Written by Jack Terry
Internet search engine giant Google is currently battling multiple court cases, including an antitrust case in the US. The latest is with the Australian government, with Google recently threatening to pull its search service out of the country.
This has raised questions about just how powerful Google is. Can it really dictate government legislation? And what are the alternatives to search engine most of us use dozens of times a day?
How powerful is Google?
Google has a 91% share of the worldwide search engine market as of 2021. That number is higher in Australia, between 90-95%.
Google has collected and organised more information than any other company or organisation in human history, is often the default search engine installed on smart phones and laptops, and can deindex any site it decides has violated its terms.
Suffice to say: Google is very powerful. If it is removed from Australia, it could have significant impact on how its citizens access and navigate the internet.
Why has Google threatened to remove its search engine from Australia?
New legislation is being debated by the Australian government which would force the company to pay all news companies in its search results. Unsurprisingly, Google isn’t thrilled about this development.
This legislation would require Google to enter into negotiations with news media to decide how much to pay to access and display their content in Google’s search engine, with the cost going to arbitration if a figure is not mutually agreed upon.
Google has claimed the cost would be too great, and it threatening to pull its service from Australian users. Google Australia made A$134 million in profit in 2019, so paying expensive fees for big news sites would likely have a significant impact on Google’s bottom line.
Prior to this case, Google has made around 450 deals with news companies around the world to access their content, and has said that a different model could be more cost effective for them than the one being proposed by the Australian government.
This boils down to the fact that in private negotiations with individual news companies, Google will have the upper hand: deals will be made on their terms, for significantly less than they’d have to pay under Government mandated law.
The reason Google is fighting tooth and nail to ensure this law doesn’t happen is because it would set a precedent for other governments to do the same, which would really eat into those profits they don’t pay tax on.
As well as the financial element, Google is also making the argument that unrestricted linking between sites is fundamental to how search operates. That point is directly undercut by their own business model, with anyone able to bid for ads at the top of Google’s search results.
So, could Google really stop serving search results to Australia?
Could Google really leave Australia?
Google has done similar things before, having pulled out China in 2010. Google also threatened to leave Germany when the German government introduced an ancillary copyright law back in 2013. The EU has also been looking at tightening regulations around Google’s influence on the web, so the company certainly has a precedent for doing this, and for ensuring it uses its power to dissuade other nations from bringing in similar legislation.
If Google is removed from Australia, that would mean the 19 million people who use it every month would no longer have access to the world’s most popular (and arguably most effective) search engine. It would also probably put more than a few Australian SEOs out of a job, who would be the real victims here.
Google has already admitted to ‘experimenting’ with removing certain results from Australian searches. It is, of course, a private company, and as such does not have to operate anywhere that doesn’t make financial sense for it to. Google could leave Australia.
This would set a worrying precedent, as Google plays a fundamental role in how the internet works. In a way, it’s the foundation for how we access information in the modern age.
Google has a lot of power, and it’s clear the giant is willing to use it to get its way.
What would this mean for Google’s reputation?
If Google does leave Australia it will have a huge impact on how they are perceived globally. Such a blatantly punitive move would require some heavy-duty PR to shift focus, and would also severely undercut their message of caring about an open internet for everyone.
What does the Australia case tell us about Google’s power over the search market?
When a private company can attempt to bully a country into changing their laws, it’s a pretty big sign that maybe these guys have too much power.
There’s an argument to be made that the internet was made to share information freely with no one platform having an advantage over any other, that introducing a law which alters the balance of who can and can’t access the news is fundamentally undemocratic, and that things should stay as they are.
Of course, the reality is that this idealised version of the internet never really existed. To the average person, Google is the internet. An independent news site that gets deindexed by Google may as well give up, because no one is going to find their content unless they go to the source.
At a time when the ability to access the news is more important than ever, Google arguably have a responsibility to shoulder the cost to ensure that news organisations remain viable, and that the public have easy access to finding their sites and articles.
We’ll continue to write about how this could impact the digital marketing and SEO industries as this story develops.
Which channels are best for engaging with Gen Z? Stats, tips, and research
Written by Jack Terry
Generation Z encompasses anyone born between 1996-2012, a group that is of increasing interest to brands. They represent 35% of the world population, and require more sophisticated marketing than previous generations.
In many ways gen Z will dictate marketing trends for years to come. They’re responsible for vast amounts of the culture that will be formed – both online and offline – they’re vocal about what they want, and their demands have a real-world impact on how brands market themselves.
How to market to Gen Z:
A safe and simple advertising campaign won’t be enough to get their attention, and we’ve seen big brands fail to strike a chord with this new generation.
More and more brands are trying to be seen and liked by members of gen Z. With gen Z spending more time online than any previous generation, it should be easy for brands to get engagement, yet with marketing campaigns spending millions entirely to cater to gen Z, why are brands going to so much trouble?
Is marketing to gen Z worth it? We think so.
We’ve compiled some of most important stats for any brand looking to market to gen Z, and included some tips on how best to engage them on social.
Why brands are trying to engage gen Z:
Gen Z has bigger spending power than you might think
Worldwide, gen Z has an estimated $143bn spending power.
When the global economy begins to rebound post-pandemic, gen Z will be at the forefront of many marketers’ minds.
They engage with branded content
Gen Z live on social, and follow the brands that they care about. While branded or sponsored content might have been strange to older users when it first arrived on our social channels, it’s a part of everyday life for gen Z.
They aren’t shy about engaging with branded content, sharing it, and even talking to brands directly. This can really help brands be seen, and grow their social following.
They’re loyal to brands that deliver consistently
Brands that put quality first are more likely to find success with gen Z. Consistent style, tone, and overall approach in the content they put out will be received better than a scattergun approach.
Facebook found that 60% of gen Z surveyed wish they could communicate with more businesses via direct messaging. Brands that go the extra mile to create a personalised relationship where their gen Z audience feel like what they want matters will reap the rewards of a loyal customer base.
How brands can engage gen Z through content and social:
Campaign Monitor found that gen Z’s favourite way of interacting with brands was through social media. 85% are on Youtube, 72% are on Instagram, and 69% are on Snapchat. If you want to market to this audience, you need to be too.
A third of gen Z questioned in the survey reported buying something after seeing it on social media once in the past month, so it’s clear that it has a real impact beyond just engagement: gen Z are making purchase decisions based on what they see on social.
But how do you make sure your social content stands out?
Use quick videos
Gen Z watch twice as many videos on mobile than any other age group. Video is the most engaged with form of content for a reason: it gets the messages across quickly.
Generation Z has an attention span of around 8 seconds on average, so your video can’t afford any long introductions. Hook the audience first, and then follow with something of substance.
Show your brand values up front
As with millennials, gen Z want brands to be making the world a better place. 90% of gen z expect brands to help with environmental and societal issues, so if you’re not making a positive impact, you should start thinking about how you brand can start making a difference. Your social media channels should show what your brand is doing, not just what you’re talking about.
Over 70% of gen Z say they want ads to have more diversity. But this goes beyond advertising: if your business is made up of one demographic, with only one point of view, gen Z will leave you in the past.
Have a unique tone of voice
Later, an Instagram marketing platform, found that the more unique a brand is, the better it performs with gen Z. All brands claim to have a tone of voice, but most play it safe with their comms, their style, and their social media presence. For certain demographics, this is boring. Gen Z want to see something exciting, something different, something that has impact.
Old school marketers are often afraid of taking bold creative leaps, as it may not play well with a wide audience. But time and time again, gen Z rewards creative campaigns with attention, shares, and purchases.
Brand collaborations that would never have made it through a brainstorm ten years ago are now some of the most successful and memorable campaigns of recent years, such as the KFC X Crocs. Did some people think those shoes were ugly? Yes. Were they right? Absolutely. But those ugly crocs sold out.
The reason these shoes did so well was because they were weird, because they were different, something no one ever thought a major brand would come out with. That’s why they were a hit with gen Z.
Which channels should you use to engage with gen Z?
We’ve talked about Youtube and Instagram, but the fastest climbing social channel for gen Z is Tik Tok. Up until recently around 70% of the app’s user base was made up of gen Z.
Tik Tok’s exploded in popularity during lockdown. It has now been downloaded over 2.6 billion times. In Q1 of 2020, the app was downloaded 315 million times, the best quarter for any app of all time.
In fact, around 21% of gen Z feel they’re spending too much time on Tik Tok. Keeping up with the latest jokes and trends can feel like a full-time job, and brands would be well to pay attention to the wider eco-system in the app.
Out of Home
While many marketers might focus solely on social activity to attract gen Z, out of home advertising can help support any campaign, especially one focused on social purpose. Big bold adverts in famous locations can make an impact and ensure your brand’s values are known by your target audience.
It goes without saying that anyone trying to reach gen Z should invest in digital advertising. Whether they’re on Google, Facebook, or Youtube, ads can provide a big return for relatively little investment.
Tailoring your ads to cater to and target gen Z will help ensure you’re getting in front of the right people. Luckily it’s easier than ever to customise your ads and who they appear for.
But it’s important to make sure your ads are to the taste of your target audience. 63% of gen Z prefer real people to celebrities when it comes to advertisements.
If your marketing lands with gen Z it can make a big difference to how your brand performs online.
Read more of our marketing tips and predictions here.
CES 2021: Consumer tech trends
Written by Kathryn Venediger
Key takeaways from Kathryn Venediger, Tech Senior Account Executive
CES 2021 was a little different. Replacing the January rush to Las Vegas was an all-virtual affair. As with all aspects of life right now, Covid-19 dictated where a proportion of brand and media focus was directed. Clean tech and health tech were therefore well represented at the show’s many online unveilings.
Here’s a selection of our top picks and what they mean for the year(s) ahead.
Consumer Tech trends for 2021:
Gaming will continue to grow in popularity
Gaming is mainstream. It’s not, as some may report, the next big thing. Gaming has been a big thing for decades.
However, gaming isn’t mainstream when it comes to our homes. Avid gamers may have a powerful PC setup, but for the majority of console gamers the PS5 or Xbox Series X are an extension of an existing entertainment setup. Razer showed us with their Project Brooklyn concept how far a standalone gaming setup can go.
With its full ergonomic construction, immersive rollout screen, dynamic lighting and haptic modules, the Project Brooklyn seems to us like the arcade machine of the future. A fully standalone space that’s ruthlessly dedicated to gaming. We can expect to see gaming given more prominence in homes as tailored and optimised solutions like this come to the fore.
Clean tech will thrive post-Covid
‘Clean tech’ was one of the big stories of CES 2021, which comes as no surprise at all of course. A key question remains: just how much will the obsession with cleanliness continue post-crisis?
That question depends on the things changing in the near future. Regardless, the Motrex smartphone sanitization pod feels future-proof. It fits into a car’s cupholder, and both charges and sanitizes your device. Whilst phones may not carry Covid-19 in years to come, they will continue to harbour germs. The University of Arizona calculated that devices carry ten times more bacteria than most toilet seats, so I’ll be buying this as soon as I can.
Masks will get smarter
With medical masks acting as one of the most crucial deterrents of Covid-19, it is little wonder the tech industry has looked to enhance the trusty N95.
In addition to its impressive new gaming setup, Razer is making moves in the health-tech sector, with its Project Hazel prototype. Self-proclaimed to be the “world’s smartest mask”, we would struggle to disagree.
Razer’s surgical N95-grade face is not only made from recycled materials but also uses a replaceable and rechargeable disc-type ventilator, reducing the need for disposable masks entirely. It’s also transparent, in order to benefit those who rely heavily on visual cues for communication.
Even better, it comes with a built-in microphone and amplifier, therefore reducing the ‘mask muffle’ and its charging case disinfects the mask using ultraviolet light to kill bacteria. As mask-tech goes, this is one of the most forward-thinking examples we’ve seen, and there’s certainly the market for it.
Educational technology will empower teachers around the world
Where Brexit looks to limit us with the loss of the popular Erasmus scheme, tech steps up with an opportunity for learning without borders. Schools and universities have adapted during the pandemic, but the majority of them have been making do with tools like Zoom that were ultimately designed for the world of work rather than schooling.
Step forward Engageli. What it lacks in succinct naming is made up for through features that prioritise teachers in classrooms over CEOs in boardrooms. The features focus on ensuring class engagement, helping teachers by tracking participation and alertness. Breakout sessions take Zoom’s feature to the next-level with the ability to synchronize videos across groups and the creation of polls and quizzes to drive further interactivity from students.
And what could all this mean in the long term? Potentially that could be a more engaging way to learn remotely with the world’s best universities. Or a way to spread the world’s best teaching talent to a wider range of schoolchildren that may normally be receiving a substandard education.
Emotional support animals get intelligent
We all know the emotional strain that the pandemic has had on much of the population, leaving many of us craving the companion of a cuddly pet.
Far from Boston Dynamics’ Humanoid robots, Vanguard Industries presents Moflin. This little AI pet robot may look a lot like a boom mic with eyes, but it’s actually equipped with a unique algorithm and built-in sensors. This provides it with ever-evolving “emotional capabilities” and the ability to learn and interact with people as a normal pet would. It’ll even make little noises and twitch in its wireless charging “nest”.
Moflin is an example of how AI is expanding into new parts our lives and could well set the precedent for a new branch of the wellbeing market. And, for city dwellers, this could be the future alternative to a loyal pet without breaching any landlords’ contracts. A support animal without the vet bills? Sign me up!
GoodMaps makes good progress
In addition to a plethora of entertainment and Covid-focussed tech and gadgets, CES 2021 also reflected the increasing focus to accessible and inclusive tech.
Despite most outdoor and public spaces being well documented through Google Maps, indoor spaces have been largely ignored. Until now.
The GoodMaps Explore app intends to solve the issue of navigation of indoor environments for an often overlooked demographic when it comes to day-to-day tech. Using the app, those with visual impairments will be able hear a snapshot of their current location and direction, just with a shake of the phone.
Nominated for the CES Innovation Awards, GoodMaps Explore is a great start in transforming accessible and independent travel for everyone, visually impaired or not.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a CES roundup without mentioning the latest announcement from the mobile industry.
Just as the world is beginning to warm to the notion of foldable phones, we’re hit with the aptly named LG Rollable. Feature-wise, little is actually known about the device other than that it will extend to create a small tablet and could be launched this year.
That’s it. That’s all we know. So, do we think that rollables are going to be the next foldable smartphone? Possibly.
Samsung has already had great success with 88% of the global foldable smartphone share in 2020 thanks to its Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold 2. This shows that there is certainly appetite for novel smartphone designs, especially when it is said to increase productivity thanks to being both a phone and tablet in one. However, for most of us, spending £1400 on a phone is just not realistic, no matter how cool we think we would look whipping one out in public.
The rollable phone rounds out our top picks from the first ever virtual CES.
2021 is predictably unique in terms of the huge number of health-tech and smart home gadgets, but it is nonetheless exciting to witness epic progress being made across sectors. We’ll stay tuned through the year as these trends take shape and concepts and prototypes turn into fully fledged products and services.
Are you at a tech brand with a big 2021 lined up? Eulogy is ready to help develop your communications approach, helping new and established brands cut through at a time busy with innovation. Get in touch with James Steward, who heads up our tech division: [email protected]
2021 marketing predictions: trends, tips, and advice
Written by Jack Terry
If you’re thinking that try to make predictions for marketing after the year we’ve had is a little ambitious, you’d be right. We saw how much things could change in so little time.
However, whilst we’ve been faced with challenges and change like never before, it’s still important to take a step back and review the current climate and consider what might come next.
If anything, 2020 gave us a new perspective, which in turn has meant that brands have been able rethink and reshape their strategies – with short term pivots becoming longer team routes for business.
At Eulogy, we’ve spoken to leads across the team to get their take on what the coming year will bring in the world of marketing.
Marketing and comms predictions for 2021:
Tech brands will focus on building reputations
James Steward, Director, Technology
If there’s one thing the tech industry, particularly Big Tech, has learned of late, it’s the importance of reputation. For years it’s faced criticism from policy makers over its ever-tightening grip on our rights and our data.
2020 was a gamechanger. As tech became a lifeline for so many, it was able to finally demonstrate its true value, and change the narrative around what tech meant, and what it could for us.
Those tech companies that have become inherent lifelines, from communications to e-commerce platforms, are acutely aware of their new responsibility.
2021 is the year to build on this new paradigm – a huge opportunity to continue to the put its strength to good use and further cement its relevance and reputation amongst the public, businesses, and society as a whole.
Meanwhile, as the repercussions of the pandemic continue to rip through our lives, another looming catastrophe grows ever stronger – the climate crisis.
With the Government’s pledge to introduce a new green industrial revolution and “build back greener”, technology players in this field have a unique chance to demonstrate the profound value of their solutions – in tackling the biggest threat to humanity and helping to get our beleaguered economy back on track.
With tech one of the only real solutions to this crisis, the industry becomes increasingly more fundamental by the day.
This opportunity must not be squandered. 2021 is the year to get your message right and be heard for how you’re making a real impact on the world.
Content Marketing should focus on content experiences
Richard Ware, Director & Content Lead
Arguably, the role of content has become more value-focused for brands and businesses over the last year, and this will continue. Integrating with search strategies, working harder along the purchase funnel, and helping audiences navigate uncertainty will only grow in importance.
But also, brands should remember content should be giving us joy too. 2020 pressed fast-forward on established trends in digital content, and we will see even more growth across video, audio, online editorial, and virtual experiences.
But what interests me most is how content will play a crucial role in helping us to re-connect. Remember people? In person? What a concept!
We’ve had a year of doom scrolling, hours lost to TikTok, and widespread Zoom fatigue.
While we’ve been avidly gorging on screen-based content, we’ve been missing out on seeing family and friends, going to festivals and on holiday, experiencing culture. As health risks abate and our collective confidence grows, content strategies will take us away from our screens, and out into the real world again. These content experiences should give us the assurance, information and inspiration needed to take the first steps outside again.
Whether virtual or physical, content in 2021 will ultimately need to be effective. It will need to be valuable and relevant to the audience, with the right channel for delivery, and the tone, visual style, and format to make it worth engaging with. It will need to drive action, and the right action, to justify investment.
Brands will continue to innovate on social
Sara Beirne, Director, Media Insights and Planning
Businesses in 2020 had no choice but to adapt to operate online and incorporate e-commerce and social models, which sped up digital transformation for many sectors.
Since many e-commerce platforms moved to provide smaller businesses with affordable ways to move online, this could diversify consumer choice in the longer term.
It has however also highlighted the issue of discoverability, as many brands are relying on the same big tech platforms in terms of search and social to access online customers.
This offers an opportunity for new platforms and channels providing diversity in digital marketing and we may also see brands continue to innovate ways to reach customers in an increasingly crowded space.
Consumer communications will focus on wellness
Beth Hunt, Account Director, Consumer
No one has been untouched by the events of 2020. It’s been a year (and a bit) of lockdowns, separation from loved ones, isolation, and stress. Top that off with soaring unemployment, sector challenges, a stretched NHS, and uncertainty about what the future holds, you can understand why mental health is near the top of the news agenda for publications.
Whilst we enter 2021 with optimism about the future, the need for support for consumers’ mental wellbeing is immediate, and brands will step up to help address this.
We’re likely to see brands increasingly establishing partnerships with charities, funding for more mental health services, and creating moments for consumers that offer an escape from the stress of everyday life, whilst enabling them to reconnect to the world around them.
At the same time, brands will need to address the very real issues consumers face, to help create more meaningful connections with their names and products. 2021 is the year of the customer and putting their needs first. Demonstrating authenticity, purpose, and accountability has never been so important for brands that want to thrive.
Influencer marketing will focus on authentic collaborations
Ed Tan, Account Manager, and Influencer
Influencer marketing’s been through a lot in the past year with a massive push on diversity across all industries, and a continuing drive for ‘authenticity’ in imagery and captions. As with many things that are propelled via social, we often see these swing rapidly from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Don’t get me wrong, diversity and authenticity will remain hugely important for this year and for years to come, but the way in which it’s approached and shown on our feeds will become more thoughtful, targeted, and impactful as brands grapple with how best to approach this.
Added to this, micro-influencers have come to the fore throughout lockdown, seeking out lesser-known brand collaborations as a basis for quality content.
2021 will be an interesting time to see if again here, brands blindly engage with them in an attempt to be ‘first in’ or will create genuinely interesting campaigns and relationships that will lead to great content.
Creative campaigns will go local
Kevan Barber, Creative Lead
We’re all desperate to get out there and explore further afield once again, but for many of us lockdowns have given us an appreciation of our localities.
Already we’ve seen initiatives such as My City Unlocked by Hyundai and hyperlocal Nike Unite shops, including one in Scotland’s East Kilbride, with local culture and preferences influencing everything from store design to products stocked and local sponsorship programmes.
This can seem daunting, how can a brand with its HQ and team in London really engage a community in a place like Wigan, Doncaster, or East Kilbride? On the one hand the technology is there, we have ways of targeting specific locations from globally relevant and easily consumable platforms.
However, this must be combined with the local know how and that has to come through collaboration and knowing when a task needs local insight and influence. Expect to see brands get it right and wrong in 2021. The most successful brands being those that execute campaigns with local not only at the core of the idea, but the execution of it too.
AI will start working in design
Lee Johnston, Designer
My prediction for design trends will be – that we won’t make them, but AI algorithms will. I’ve been harking on about the succession of human made content to perfectly indistinguishable AI made content since 2011 when I wrote my dissertation on how to take over a town using graphic design and the technology that is evolving in the sector.
Software is making people more and more able to do things that only very highly skilled people could do five years ago, in a simple button click and anyone can change the sky or cut-out a person from a photo perfectly and put them into a TikTok filter.
I believe graphic design will boil down to the layout (if that) and idea of a project more than actual production. For future projects, the design portion of a project will be given to a new team, none of whom are trained in design, but more in output and production, short turn around projects on the cheap.
One thing is for certain, if this year is anything like the last, we’ll see plenty of change, innovation, and gambles in marketing and comms in the months ahead.
Read more of our predictions for creativity in 2021 here.