“Strategy is an informed opinion on how to thrive.” Those words have been etched with a permanent marker in my mind by our CSO, John Roberts.
His go-to catchphrase to describe what I do, strategize, is a great reminder that while we’re often informed and have something to say, planners aren’t fortune tellers. We look at data and our experience, and then we make predictions using our best judgement.
But the world is anything but predictable; the polyurethane mask I’m currently wearing is a testament to that.
We started off 2021 with a Meta Trends Report, a masterful piece of writing and free planning material (It’s on our site; you should download it.) created by our resident brand strategist, Ken. And as the summer nights cool off into September, we figured it was a good time to check in on the predictions made, and see how many came to fruition.
Accelerated Change: Reworking Work
The world went through substantial changes in 2020, and it continues to today.
We predicted that remote work would surge in 2021, and it did, but with the emergence of the delta variant of COVID-19, experts predict that remote work may last as long as two years.1
Enter “hybrid” offices. Recent studies have shown that companies that offer more flexibility in work arrangements may have the best chance of attracting top talent at the best price, as 56% of employees are more likely to consider a new job with a hybrid working arrangement.2
Accelerated Change: Mental Health and Well-being
The pandemic has heightened anxiety, and it continues to today (yay). Headspace has fought back, setting its sights beyond meditation and partnering with Ginger to build “world’s most accessible, comprehensive digital mental health platform” to meet an escalating global demand for mental health support.3 Even Shopify is adopting language in its content previously reserved for the couches of therapists and mental health professionals.
Reality is getting weirder and more digital every day, and we love it.
This year, Ariana Grande smashed Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert record, surpassing his 11.7 million views by 66.3 million.
This is part of Fortnite’s larger objective to create a “metaverse,” a.k.a. an online 3D space outside of usual gaming or brand parameters.
We predict more brands will follow suit. If you’re reading this, hit us up when your metaverse drops, @tacobell.
Doing Good: Brand Purpose Goes Mainstream
At the beginning of the year, we predicted transparent core beliefs, consistent actions, and authentic intentions based on empathy would drive brands as increasingly ethical consumers turn to businesses that reflect their values.
The results are a mixed bag. On the bottom freezer shelf, Steak-umm, the purveyor of flattened meat, is tweeting about social justice, dismantling oppressive systems, and pandemic misinformation.
On the top freezer shelf, despite backlash, Ben & Jerry’s is sticking to its morals regarding sales of its ice cream in occupied Palestinian territories. This strong moral and political stance isn’t new for B&J’s; rather, it’s more proof that the brand’s belief system outweighs its bottom line.
Doing Good: We All Have a Responsibility to Help the Environment
Adidas has developed an ambitious sustainability program over the past 20 years, looking to do what’s best for both its consumers and the planet. Its end goal is to reach climate neutrality by 2050. That sounds far off, but the titan shoe brand has other fish to fry along the way. The brand recently announced that it will shift to using only recycled polyester in its products and stop using “virgin” forms of the material.4
To quote Mitchell Kapor, “getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” The only solace we can find as marketers is that things always have and will continue to change.
Finding a way to connect to your true fans and tell your brand’s story is less about learning how to unhinge your jaw wide enough to consume a fire-hydrant pressure grade of tweets and news articles, and more about becoming nimble enough to adapt and grow with whatever conditions we find ourselves in.
We’re already prepping our Meta Trends Report for 2022 and can’t wait to share it with you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s lunchtime, and my Steak-umms are ready.
- Wall Street Journal, Remote Work May Now Last for Two Years, Worrying Some Bosses, August 2021
- Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven J. Davis, Let me work from home, or I will find another job, VoxEU, World Economic Forum, July 2021
- Business Wire, Ginger and Headspace Will Merge to Meet Escalating Global Demand for Mental Health Support, 2021
- Sina Port, The Adidas Sustainability Story – Leading The Change, July 2020