The pandemic made two things very clear for startups and scaleups. First, a rock-solid communications strategy and crisis communication plan are essential for not only managing a crisis and staying in business but also coming out of a situation (possibly in a stronger position). Second, adapting and pivoting is your only survival option.
Adapting to fast-changing environments is essential because let’s face it, consumer trends can change at the drop of the hat – or in this case, the drop of a pandemic. Leaders of both large organizations and micro businesses need to position themselves better to overcome the shockwave of the coronavirus and its wave of repercussions.
Communication strategies rely on understanding the consumer and the market. Understanding their buying partners, what they are searching for and how they engage with content is a pivotal point to take into consideration when you are approaching a new year; especially coming out of the year we’re having.
These three consumer trends are becoming deeply ingrained in our societal behaviours. As we continue to adapt to the inevitable fallouts of the pandemic, businesses should factor this into their 2021 strategy planning.
#1 Value-based spending.
Multiple movements over the years have pushed consumers to buy and support businesses that align with their values. More so than ever, consumers want to purchase products and use services from locally based companies.
An Ernst & Young survey showed that 59% of consumers are likely to shop locally for the foreseeable future with a Consumer Index Report by Suzy Consumer Insights sharing that 65% of consumers are likely to buy from a brand that cares about the same social issues as they do.
Through the pandemic and the increasing cadence of Black Lives Matter, consumers are waiting for brands to take a stance and voice their value points so that they can decide whether they will support the business or not.
Staying out of issues might seem like a safe decision for your business, and in many cases, this is true. Still, the buying power of consumers is shifting and placing demanding expectations on companies to use their platform to drive change in the industry and community. Draw up a communication plan and align your value pillars. From here, you can make effective decisions on how to approach engagement with your audience.
The growing reality is that consumers will explore new technology to guide their purchase decisions. For example, Fenty by Rihanna allows consumers to upload a photo and virtually test makeup products before they purchase. IKEA allows customers to virtually design their homes in their AR (augmented reality) app. This type of decision making is based on extreme personalization and market knowledge. Consumers still want to buy products, but they need new ways to do so.
In 2021, your communication strategy with the press and your consumers must look at engaging with customers in the methods they prefer; which requires data and analytics. Focus on enhancing customer experiences and how to better connect with the broader community.
#3 Staying Data-Driven
Personalization and data work hand-in-hand. The more comfortable consumers feel in their experience with your brand, the more information they are willing to share; which allows them to personalize their experience better. 53% of consumers are happy to share their personal data if it helps monitor and track their experience, to enhance it for their next experience.
By staying in tune with your data and having effective processes in place, you will be able to track and manage your customer’s interactions. Understanding this data will make you more appealing to the media and will help you shape your messaging to better suit your target audience.
The key to engaging with your audience online and in the media is to ensure your communication is not based on gut feelings. Base your decisions and strategies on the customer data available and shape experiences that push your brand while simplifying a problem for the consumer.
Optimize your communications by downloading your free PR Starter Pack for startups and get your communication plan ready for 2021.