If there’s one thing we can be certain of in 2021, it’s the uncertainty that lies ahead. But just as we all look forward with optimism to the roll-out of the COVID vaccine, at P+S we believe there’s also an antidote to uncertainty.
And in this article – the second part in our ‘Ones to watch in 2021’ series – we look at some of the creative, innovative technologies and marketing techniques that are likely to rise to greater prominence in the coming 12 months.
Sam Forster-Spira: Account Director
No end to invention
COVID has made us all change the way we do things. Face-to-face meetings, business travel, exhibitions and events have all been on pause, meaning we’ve all had to become more open to innovative ways of working. My hope is that, even as things level out, people will retain that attitude and continue to explore new avenues, looking at how we can combine physical and digital marketing techniques and become even more effective in engaging with our audiences.
Putting your people front and centre
Over the past year, I’ve seen a marked increase in the number of companies encouraging their staff to become involved in the marketing efforts. This includes everything from TV ads (PC World have been using employees, for example), to video blogs (like our own here at P+S),to guest content on written blogs, and staff featuring prominently across corporate websites. This isn’t new, as such, but it’s certainly becoming more and more important, especially in B2B sectors, where authentic people, telling authentic stories, give commercial messaging real credibility.
Russ Bromley: Senior Designer
The rise of the digital giveaway
Promotional giveaways and merchandise have always been a useful tool in the marketing mix. But the inexorable rise of environmental awareness (and action) means we now need to be thinking about giveaways that are sustainable and friendly to the planet, rather than glossy, gimmicky gadgets. A whole industry has arisen around this, with responsibly sourced materials being used to create everything from mouse mats to rain macs, and renewable energy sources being called on to power USB chargers, desk fans, lamps and much more.
It’s also impossible to ignore the impact of the pandemic on our ability to send prospects and customers physical items at all. Remote and home working mean marketing departments no longer hold relevant postal address details on their target audiences – even if they’re longstanding customers. This, allied to the predominance of environmental considerations, means digital giveaways will become even more popular in 2021.
Tim Price: Head of Film and Motion Graphics
Filming in the virtual world
Virtual production rose to prominence late last year with Disney’s The Mandalorian. This year, I see it shifting from high-end productions to become far more prevalent in commercial film making. Instead of shooting against a green screen, actors are surrounded by massive LED screens, with minimal physical props in the foreground. This removes the need for compositing and lights the cast perfectly, making it a more viable option for marketers looking to up the production values of their film work without requiring colossal budgets.
Sophie Harris: Business Development Manager
Technology has a healthy future
With the current pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, people are more aware than ever of their own health. At home, fitness and mindfulness have become go-to solutions for alleviating stress placed upon us by the current restrictions and wearable devices, fitness and mindfulness apps have seen a boom in popularity over the past year.
With almost all of the leading tech businesses having some form of wearable tech, and apps being more accessible than ever due to the digital-first mindset of the current generation, health tech has become smarter, more intuitive and more reliable.
Even healthcare professionals are now relying on technology to manage the backlog of appointments, using apps such as Babylon Health, Ada and even FaceTime to consult with patients without the risk of face-to-face appointments.
It’s easy (and understandable) to view the upcoming year with a sense of trepidation. But we firmly believe it’s likely to be filled with opportunity. For more of our thoughts on trends for 2021, take a look at part one of this article here.
In the meantime, if you’ve got the beginnings of a marketing plan, and want a bit of help in making it come to life, get in touch. We’ll be more than happy to put our heads together with yours and see where the year can take us.