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Top Marketing Trends For 2021

With 2020 being as chaotic a year as it has been, some of that uncertainty is certainly not completely behind us yet. The spread of Covid-19 across the UK has forced brands to rethink the way they approach their business and the way that they engage with their customers. With the typical experience of visiting a physical storefront being reduced drastically, companies are now thinking of out-of-the-box, online solutions to maintain those long-standing connections with their clientele. With big shifts in marketing trends for the year ahead, 2021 is going to show us the true nature of adaptability for both businesses and customers.


Here’s our list of the top marketing trends for 2021:


Social Media and Digital Shopping Places


Social media today makes it easier than ever before for consumers to find a product and buy it, all without ever needing to exit the platform. For brands to continue to thrive, and even survive, 2021 is going to see exponential growth in social commerce. Social media platforms today are constantly adapting to optimise shopping experiences for users. With everything from the ‘Shop’ tab on Instagram to Facebook ‘Marketplace,’ it is more seamless than ever before for a brand to create a solid foundation on social media to sell their product. Much the same way that brands took to establishing a standing on Amazon, selling on social media is the next pivotal step to take in 2021.



An unwillingness to adapt to consumer needs and behaviours has been the unfortunate downfall for brands like Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Burtons, and other brands in the Arcadia group. With so many customers shifting their shopping habits online, the Arcadia group has lost touch with a huge potential market by not making more conscious efforts to cater to online shoppers. While brands like Boohoo, ASOS and Pretty Little Thing have seen consistent results with their online-only storefronts. This is not to say that physical storefronts do not hold value, but in an ever-changing market where more people find themselves looking online to fulfil their needs, the value of having an equally strong online standing serves as a huge asset to a brand. 



Covid-19 has been an enormous factor in changing consumer sentiments towards digital technologies. 66% of consumers saying that the pandemic has increased their appreciation for well-designed technology, and 63% believing that they will use digital technologies more than they did prior to the virus outbreak (according to the Deloitte Global Marketing Trends Consumer Pulse Survey, 2021). By providing their customer base with seamless, beautiful, and easy-to-access channels, businesses today show a commitment to consumer ideals; proving to be an establishment willing to grow and mould themselves around the ever-changing needs of their audience. 


Digital Experiences 


A number of national lockdowns have forced shops and brands to rethink the way they tailor their customer experience. For safety protocols, a large part of this means being able to provide value for customers through online means.


Match experiences (or social viewings) for games have taken a huge hit during the course of the pandemic. As a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, Heineken hosted a unique virtual event to celebrate the start of the season. In collaboration with Defected Records, Heineken’s online music festival ‘Kick-Off’ took place; it was an eight-hour-long live-streamed event. The festival featured eight different DJs streaming their sets from various locations across the world, with iconic features such as Bob Sinclair and Idris Elba. Kick-Off did a stellar job of combining the world of football and music, tapping right into the biggest interests of Heineken’s target audience. The event generated engagement not only on Heineken’s own channels but was also streamed on both Defected and UEFA’s various social channels – providing a huge opportunity for brand awareness across multiple avenues. 


Image courtesy of Facebook


Heineken provided an innovative party format that worked to be a valuable experience for customers from the comfort and safety of their homes. Throughout 2020, we saw a spike in brands exploring out-of-the-box solutions during lockdowns and socially-distant protocols, and this exciting trend is only expected to rise as 2021 unfolds. 


Virtual Events on the Rise 


Even though virtual events resulted from necessity, their success proved to be an untapped market of potential. Cost, visa issues, pandemic protocols, and travel regulations aren’t obstacles when it comes to having people attend virtual events; thus also allowing for larger, and even international audiences to join. Virtual events open up a whole new realm of possibility when it comes to an audience, bringing the opportunity for higher attendance and greater participation.



Inclusive and Diverse Marketing 


In the last decade, access to information has been on a continuous upward trend. This trend has only prompted informed buyers to continue their search for informed brands to pay their business to. Huge factor brands need to be mindful of is inclusivity. As consumers, we want to be able to see that the product or the service we’re getting is truly made with us in mind. Inclusivity and diversity amongst marketing campaigns should be sincere, not simply a cookie-cutter obligation on the brand’s behalf. By truly being able to represent their multifaceted customer base in their marketing, a company builds a much longer-standing and loyal relationship with people and fosters a sense of trust for shoppers. 


The White Collection bridal boutique in Portishead, England displayed one of their wedding gowns on a wheelchair-bound mannequin. A picture of the shop window display shared by a local artist, Beth Wilson, went viral after she said it was the first time she’d ever seen disability be represented in that way. Being a wheelchair user herself, the action on part of the boutique went a long way in making her feel included, and starting a conversation both online and offline about representation.


Image courtesy of Twitter


There is real power in inclusive and diverse marketing, The Heat Test found that 69% of brands who featured representative ads saw an average rise in stock by 44%. Diverse marketing forces brands to throw out the assumptions they have about their customers, and to look past any preconceived notions about the people that would use their product/service. 




Brands leaning towards purpose-driven missions are more likely to see success, as consumers today are more conscientious about transparency from brands they shop at. In its emergence, sustainability marketing may have been enough to attract people’s attention, but that is certainly not the case anymore today. A brand’s stance on sustainability has to come from a place of action and authenticity. 


Adidas launched a campaign in partnership with Parley, an environmental ocean cleanup group. With this initiative, Adidas has worked towards manufacturing its products using recycled ocean waste. Currently, Adidas already has more than 40% of their sportswear manufactured out of recycled polyester, coming from ocean plastic. Making over 400 million pairs of shoes every year, and countless other pieces of garments, this choice to turn marine waste into wearable fashion is a huge step in the direction of meaningful, sustainable practices. 


Image courtesy of Parley


Making shoes out of repurposed ocean waste has only been one part of their mission; their “Run For The Oceans” campaign has been encouraging their global running community to raise awareness and funds to aid ocean cleanup. Adidas has pledged to donate one dollar for every kilometre (up to the first one million kilometres) logged on their running app. For one week, “Run For The Oceans” uses Adidas’s various online platforms as well as athlete involvement to generate a conversation and encourage a wide audience of people to participate. Caring about your health and the health of the environment transcends nearly all customer characteristics, and Adidas does a fantastic job of involving people from all walks of life, from all over the globe to be a part of the solution. 


“Run For The Oceans” is a cause that encourages people not only to think about sustainability but also use it as a springboard to focus on oneself by either taking up running (or logging how much they run) to better their own wellbeing. As a campaign, it targets inclusivity, responsibility towards the planet, and stays true to the brand identity of being fitness-focused. 


Cross-Industry Fusions and Collaborations


With millennials and gen-z both being groups of people that appreciate and want experiences when it comes to engaging with a brand, this partnership between Adidas and Parley is the cross-industry fusion that hit home for a huge market of people. “Increasingly, ‘brand’ represents how people perceive the organisation, and consumers are gravitating towards enterprises that support socially important endeavours,” according to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends report. A collaboration like this strengthens not only the practices of both brands but also fosters genuine connections and interactions with their respective audiences. In their campaign, they have been able to provide their clientele with unique experiences that tie into their core values as people. 



Our podcast ‘The Jetcast’ dives deep into the limitless directions marketing could take in 2021, and more. Join our hosts Rahoul and Orhan on The Jetcast, Marketing | Business | Strategy (Episode 4) for an in-depth look into all the latest marketing trends. From the benefits of going digital, influencer power, and even Brexit – our hosts and (all of us here at Jetpack) are excited as ever to explore all the new things 2021 has in store.


Seeing a rise in inclusivity marketing, and inclusive online events are going to be a constant this year. With talks about the environment permeating the news and other outlets, we’re certainly going to see a continued change in people’s priorities when it comes to spending, and brands’ business practices. People out there keep asking if we’re ready for 2021, but with the resilience we’ve learned through 2020, the better question is if 2021 is ready for us. Here at Jetpack, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of marketing trends and more, knowing that it takes more than just beautiful campaigns to truly connect with your audience. 


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