Marketing Communications 2021 Trends

That’s it! 2020 is behind us – a unique year to say the least. Many things have changed during this pivotal year, from working remotely to loss of human contact, and marketing communications were no exception. Our last CASACADEMY delved into this topic – if you missed it, you can watch it here (in French).

In order to understand the evolution of marketing communications over the past few months, let’s go back to last March. With the uncertainty generated by the beginning of the pandemic, communications were mainly focused around health and safety. Consumers needed to be reassured, and it worked: in May 2020, 69%[1] of Canadians were confident that businesses were doing everything they could to eradicate the virus. When this rate decreased by 34%, this fall, with only 35% of respondents saying they still felt confident in businesses, a question arises: how should we adapt our communications in the new year? Here are our observations on the current state of mind of consumers, to take into account in 2021 marketing communications plans:

1. The public is ambivalent
Even if 48% are tired of following the rules, almost 75% of Canadians still believe that stopping the virus from spreading is more important than the economy or keeping their jobs[2].  This ambivalence indicates that the actions implemented by organizations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should always be put forward, but in a more subtle way than it was during the first wave. For instance, social distancing measures should be incorporated into communications campaigns, without being the main and sole focus.

2. The public feels very insecure
Almost a quarter of Canadians state that their mental health and stress levels are currently worse than during the first wave and half say their financial health has deteriorated[3] . The financial and social impact of the pandemic are now present, and marketing communications campaigns must show great sensitivity to these issues. They should avoid, for example, to present a product or service that is not relevant in the current context. As stated by Craig David, who was then Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, “Stop interrupting what consumers are interested in and start being what interests them.”

3. The public is increasingly aware of social issues
Movements that promote diversity and inclusion such as Black Lives Matter are more and more important – with reason. As a sign of this awareness, the words “diversity” and “inclusion” increased drastically in Canada, according to Google Trends (see graph below). Beyond trends, these values must now be an integral part of all business plans, policies, and campaigns.

4. The public demands accountability
What will our post COVID world be made of? A Canadian survey revealed that the majority of respondents (83%) want the world to be fairer and more sustainable after the pandemic. Business’ environmental responsibility and their contribution to the local economy should be considered in all departments. Marketing communications campaigns will help showcase these initiatives.

With the transformation that is currently occurring, it will be more important than ever for marketing communications activities to reflect the true values of a business.



[1] https://www.ipsos.com/en-ca/news-polls/Canadians-Losing-Faith-that-Businesses-are-Making-Significant-Efforts-to-Keep-People-Safe-35-down-34-Points
[2] https://leger360.com/surveys/legers-weekly-survey-october-14-2020/
[3] https://leger360.com/surveys/legers-weekly-survey-october-20-2020/

Claudia Ladouceur About the author
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