From scientists to stock markets to politicians, there is genuine optimism that we will all enjoy more freedom from Easter 2021 onwards.
As marketers, we therefore need to take stock now. We need to evaluate what trends will stick once this awful era is in the rearview mirror.
When we entered lockdown in March many media celebrities were sharing opinions on whether we'd return to normal, some saying life would never be the same again, and some saying, and now probably regretting, that by Christmas we'd be wondering what all the fuss was about.
Today the truth is starting to emerge
People have changed how they work, how they shop, how they communicate and what media they use. Some changes are subtle, some significant and in many areas there is no going back.
I'm going to share where I feel some changes will stick. There's no data science in this. It's a dollop of common sense for you to bake into your plans for 2021 and on.
Your role is to ask yourself what ramifications these changes have; how your audience will feel in certain environments/moments. How they can be more effectively reached and talked to. And how does your brand's tone/creative stack up?
Our homes have changed
Recent property data indicates people are looking to move more rurally or at the very least are seeking some/more outside space.
This reflects what we already know. For most of us our home life has now changed forever.
My home used to be a place of recuperation from the rigours of office work. It still retains that quality however it's now my office and gym too.
Brands need to consider what mindset we will now be in at different times in our homes. Entrepreneurial brands may consider how they help us with the adapting use of our homes, helping to solve or soothe along the way.
A local focus
In the past many of us valued the speed, convenience and consistency of the major brands that surrounded our office environments or commutes.
More time spent locally has made many of us appreciative of our local networks. There is a desire to support these businesses as they cement themselves as a key part of our social and economical communities.
Marketers need to consider how they connect their brands to this local trend. Some of the biggest brands in the world have successfully done this in the past, so don't immediate discount this trend from your planning.
A new audience segment?
Trends that we all expected to take a decade to play out have been released in six months. We always talked about digital natives, generation X and the future of customer expectations. We didn't think the older generation would be the next to fully adopt digital.
Through necessity, the more mature generations are now communicating via digital, they are using digital channels for entertainment/news,and they are shopping online.
This is the audience with the greatest amount of time and financial resources, especially as most other generations will labour under the fiscal deficit due to Covid.
You can access this most valuable audience in new, efficient and immediate ways. Are you going to capitalise?
Digital is not a channel
At RocketMill we've known this for some time and the truth is now dawning on many. It's taken the fall of several high street giants for the reality to be accepted.
When I started my career Arcadia were utterly dominant, however a lack of investment in digital has seen them easily disrupted and eventually demolished by a small group of D2C brands.
Digital is not search, social and display. It's not a channel you choose on your media plan.
It's the connected foundation upon which most commerce is done today and where the majority of a customer's experience of your brand takes place.
It requires the right technology to collect the right data, that data needs to inform a winning strategy, you need a creative execution that atomises well for digital channels and delivers across the whole customer experience, and you need to activate media campaigns across numerous channels with the ability to test and diagnose performance in real time.
Digital can't be treated as a silo anymore. Your customers rely more than ever on digital and will judge you on the best experiences they have across all verticals.
Are you ready to meet their demands?
Sam Garrity is chief executive officer at RocketMill.