Consumer Trends to Look Out for in 2021

Consumers are changing. If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s change. 

In 2021, the consumer experience needs to be centered around the idea of tapping into shared connections and shared values. That means stop looking for data exclusively to define your audience. Instead, gather insights about your consumers values and how they connect to your brand. This will allow you to reach beyond the screen, and connect with people on a more personal level. 

A Human-Centric Consumer Experience 

It’s time to start creating a more personalized and seamless experience for your audience. This includes delivering tailored messages, call-to-actions, emails, and even texts that feel less sales-y and more personal. The key is putting your customer’s story at the center of your brand.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some facts.

With online competition becoming more fierce, stakes are higher than ever for brands to develop unique customer experiences.

This can prove to be challenging for many brands. 

To power an experience that connects at a human level, you need channels connected across several touchpoints to allow consumers to interact with your brand where they feel comfortable. 

Recent customer experience success stories include the use of gaming, social, or voice technology that allow consumers to communicate directly with brands. 

As brands use automated marketing and platforms like Salesforce, or Alexa Voice commands, the key is to leverage a natural form of communication. Key in on your tone of voice and brand personality so your audience sees you more like a person and less like brand. 

Trends

Co-Creation 

Some successful brands are involving co-creators in the brand building process to develop a more authentic brand persona and customer journey. 

We saw this strategy recently implemented by social media juggernaut, Tik Tok. Tik Tok’s strategy has been one that has not only been successful for themselves but has given brands a platform to drive engagement and launch custom-made interactive content that prompts for user co-creation. 

With users spending an average of 52 minutes per day on the platform, according to Tik Tok’s statistics, consumers are creating and sharing now more than ever.

Check out the brands who have already found success with a Tik Tok strategy for their brand.

Raw but Real

Tapping into shared values means creating a point of view that speaks to beliefs rather than just buying behaviors. 

This requires doing the work to dive deeper than data, ensuring your brand is responding to real moments and points of view.

Brands are creating bonds beyond the transaction by using authentic messaging that reflects the shared values of their audience and demonstrates an understanding of consumers as humans. While the slick and stylized ad screams “I am an ad”, it is the less stylized and underproduced piece of creative that brings a brand closer to the audience because it is more relatable and attainable in the eyes of consumers. 

What many brands are coming to realize is that these insights are not obtained from data, but from interacting with their audience and understanding their consumers are people full of doubts, fears, and beliefs.

Listening Over Watching

Whether it’s voice assistants, podcasts, or branded tones, sound is the next big thing in consumer experience.

From cars, phones, appliances, and even showers, consumers are using voice assistants in intimate areas of their lives and they expect personalized messages back. This same expectation goes for advertising and it is the early adopters who optimize their brand for voice search that will benefit the most. 

Whether being the product that Google Assistant or Alexa recommends or being mentioned on a trusted podcast that has loyal listeners, brands are taking this opportunity to connect to listeners who are looking for specialized knowledge delivered in a sincere and authentic way. 

Sound is also on the rise in ways that we never expected. At the point of purchase, a login, or powering up, brands are challenged by creating a sound that reflects their brand and creates a positive feeling for the consumer. When done correctly, a simple sound can become a memorable icon for a brand. These devices are now part of the family, living in the same room where everyone gathers. That means your brand can be there too. 

Takeaways 

Get Your Hands Dirty!

Don’t be afraid to embrace the mess of how consumers live. Data only shows how consumers shop, not how they live. And in order to understand this, brands need to dig deeper by observing, talking directly, and listening to their audiences. 

Let Go

To be a part of culture, establishing strong brand values, stand by your point of view, and then give the reins to the consumer and let them be a part of the consumer experience. 

Sound Off

Get out in front of sound technology. Find your way to the top of algorithms in eCommerce and voice-assisted purchases, integrate your brand in an impactful way through podcasts, and coordinate your approach to sound so it can create a seamless tone across channels.

Written By
Reilly Horsak
Reilly started her career in hospitality, but didn’t find it to be her true passion. Her four years in hospitality services were critical in building her foundation in brand management, which she has been doing for over a year now and loving every second of it. She also recently finished getting her masters in advertising from SMU. Reilly has worked with national clients like Pizza Hut and Smoothie King and has also helped local clients like Don Hewlett Chevrolet and Don Hewlett Volkswagen grow.
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