Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
In 2020, the public relations and marketing industry underwent a dramatic shift in practices along with the rest of the world. Being an industry that is less impacted by the need to telecommute or shift to virtual offices didn’t make the PR business immune to the impacts of COVID-19. 2020 proved for most industries to be a year of necessary transformation. The shift of many companies to online and virtual work coincided with the resurgence of social media. As people move their lives online to accommodate the necessary health and safety measures; families, businesses, and friends need a way to connect in an authentic way. Trends in social media indicate the need for brands to shift how they do business.
Introduction of “Social Commerce”
The combination of social media scrolling and online shopping has been named “social commerce” and has become a vital way for consumers to find, explore, and buy from new brands. As new online retailers begin to emerge, brands must be able to leverage both any paid content that can be used and organic content that may come sporadically from consumers themselves. Exploring marketing with social commerce in mind allows a marketing expert to drive attention to a brand while expanding the campaign reach far beyond anything that could be achieved without social media. Platforms such as Paypal and Shopify that allow people to run a business-friendly account open more doors for social media and social commerce to play a role in the recovering economy. Harnessing the energy of social commerce allows brands to discover an entirely new group of customers.
The Rise of Video Content
As Alexei Orlov of MTM says, “In 2020, the market for video content boomed. As people were forced to stay home, entertainment became more and more vital to keeping people occupied. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels saw a dramatic increase in the number of users and hours watched.”
The trend isn’t expected to slow in 2021, as a statement by Zenith Media predicts that the average user will spend 100 minutes a day on video content. In the marketing and PR worlds, this provides ample opportunities to create real results with video advertisements. This is a prime moment to focus attention on creating quality video content that speaks about more than the cost of a brand, while also highlighting the brand’s mission and how the brand looks to help the global community. Expanding the number of platforms (video in particular) that a consumer may find a brand or product is also a great way to further the reach of a brand.
Pay Attention to Changing Consumer Values
As things continue to change and be reevaluated in the coming months, one thing that brands, PR teams, and marketing execs need to pay attention to is what the consumer values in a brand. Many millennials’ goals in consuming a product is not only to benefit from the product, but also to have the product benefit someone else in some way. Brands that are able to offer back to their communities, or to the global community, in some way are receiving a great deal of attention, particularly now with the entire world going through such an unprecedented time. Brands that are fair trade, organic, donate to charity, or provide some structure, product, or other aid to a community are more likely to be well received than a company that does not offer anything back to their community. With the pandemic and lockdown changing so much of daily life, there has also been a shift in the products or values that a consumer will support. Brands that support women who are in domestic violence situations, charities for children’s education, and global healthcare initiatives are being shared online by consumers across social media platforms.