Embrace Change To Unlock Your Brand’s Potential in 2021
2020, the year of unprecedented change. We all experienced it, from the ways we work to the ways we communicate, and although 2020 brought uncertainty, it has also provided us with insight as to what we can expect from 2021.
High street closures across the country have led to a major digital shift, spurring on rapid digital transformation. Social media soared, with sport brands making use of online digital platforms to communicate frequently with customers during the crisis. The use of social media has grown by 30% during the lockdown as people become more accustomed to an effortless digital and eCommerce experience. Many sports brands have adopted social media to engage, as focuses shift from sales to retention.
Social Media Trends:
We have experienced a change in social media behaviours, as people utilise the space as a place for them to interact, communicate, and entertain themselves. The lockdown success story, TikTok, has gained momentous popularity and enabled sports brands to better connect with their consumers.
The App encourages users to be more active, providing escapism, including the ‘react and duet’ function, enabling users to re-enact athletes’ skills. The use of bite-size video content has become increasingly popular, evidenced by the introduction of reels and stories across social media networks.
Sports revolves around fast-paced, eye catching content, perfect for TikTok. Lockdown revealed that lower production quality can receive great engagement as long as it provides value and cut through.
Consumers have adapted to a seamless, one-click-away, online shopping experience and are becoming less tolerant towards out-of-date processes and a lack of personalisation. We can expect that shopping capabilities will continue to develop across social networking sites. We can expect to see the expansion of Facebook Shops, and further interconnectivity between Facebook and Instagram.
Building Brand Trust
Building brand trust will be the foundation to maintaining consumer relationships in 2021, with a greater emphasis on retaining customers. Competition is now at an all-time-high and building brand trust will help increase market effectiveness. Testimonials, endorsements and reviews are all really influential on a buyer’s decision.
The days of one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with sports consumers has gone, making authenticity invaluable. The importance of user generated content and influencer marketing, such as showing women in sport, has been adopted to represent the real faces of the brand. Many brands that, at the beginning of lockdown, hadn’t yet navigated towards influencer marketing are now investing more heavily and those that have been forced to slash paid influencer budgets are now turning towards organic or micro influencer gifting as a quick, less-expensive and easy-to-produce creative strategy.
Customers hold positive feelings towards a brand when they enjoy a smooth user experience across all communication channels, including the hub (your website). Approximately half of all online traffic is navigated using mobile devices, therefore having an optimised, easy to navigate and mobile-friendly website is essential.
Website speed can also have a huge impact (both positive and negative) on the customer journey. Sites that load within 5 seconds see a 70% increase in longer average sessions, whilst slower loading speeds that take over 3 seconds to load have a 50% bounce rate.
Roughly 65% of consumers will now switch to a competitor after just two poor experiences, while 88% will switch after three.
It’s no secret that we have become a little obsessed with personalisation and automation technologies, we tend to rely on them so heavily for data management and automating the customer journey but we can tend to lose a personal touch. Marketeers will be focusing on not only how to make the process more personal but to also make it seamless and efficient.
Diversity and Inclusion
Sports brands can no longer ‘sit-on-the-fence’ when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion initiatives will play prominent roles in 2021, and companies will be held accountable for the values they promote and the promises they make. Pioneering sports brands, such as Nike, proactively advertise diversity and inclusion initiatives as part of their business values, however this may not carry through to top management. Companies need to show commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives through long-term strategic plans.
Brandnation, the Home of Influential Communications, create and execute brand-led campaigns to generate a real impact for brands. Agency expertise covers Sports PR, Influencer, Social Media, Performance Digital and Creative providing a digital first integrated approach to campaigns, sponsorship and brand launches..
Brandnation has an extensive and rapidly increasing network of over one million vetted and authentic influencers covering all sports segmentations from enthusiasts to athletes and everything in between. We excel in managing creative campaign strategies working globally with influencers on campaigns and programmes which deliver content, community and ROI for a wide variety of sports and lifestyle brands.
Mary Killingworth, Managing Director at Brandnation says: “Whilst we remain cautious and realistic about the challenges we face as an industry in 2021, there is much reason for optimism. Brand’s channels of communication have been rationalised which has paved the way for a greater focus on digital PR, influencer marketing and social - providing even more opportunity to demonstrate our agility, creativity and value”.
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