by: Ernesto Comodo
2020 has been a abnormal year in all angles, with the pandemic that paralyzed most of the world, the social unrest with the death of George Floyd in late May, and the presidential Election in November with over a week without a clear winner. Within all this uncertanty, it forced companies to pivot and drastically improve their communications and technology internally and externally in order to survive. Here is a few of the key changes we noticed in 2020:
Improved Internal Communications
The changes in 2020, sped up technological changes which where already on their way. Technology such as Zoom meeting have become our everyday lexicon. I started using zoom in 2018 but mainly with companies at a distance that couldn’t physically meet but most did not know what Zoom was. As we start the new year, just about the entire world with internet connection have used zoom. It was one of the hottest stocks in 2020 with a starting price in the high $60’s to ending 2020 with $350+ per share an incredible increase of over 500%.
With stay at home orders internal communication within your team was also critical. Software such as Microsoft Teams and Slack became critical to getting projects completed and making sure team was in same page. Slack become one of the most valuable softwares in 2020 with a purchase on December 1st from SalesForce of $27 billion.
Many companies have pivoted in using these communication tools that have greatly improved their efficiency and transparency. Companies such as FaceBook and Twitter announcing to their workforce that there is no need to return to the office, even after pandemic is over. They realized the efficiency per worker and the amount of money that can be saved from having a fancy office. CEO’s and upper management can easly see how communication is speeding up inititatives and removing a lot of the red tape. Making it much easier for the workforce to communicate with upper management, get a much faster approval than waiting for board meetings for approvals.
Reaching Into The Brand Purpose and Duty Within their Communities
2020 was a year where brands had to understand more of their duty than their purpose. With the height of the COVID-19 pandemic countless companies such as L’Oréal and others began producing hand sanitizers, local restaurant began offering discounts to health care workers, supermarkets that offered dedicated shopping hours for the elderly and banks that provided online advice on fraud protection.
One lasting impact that snowballed quickly after George Floyd protests was a new cultural awareness filter regarding product names, mascots and packaging that could deemed insensitive. Names changed across the board, ranging from professional sports teams (The Redskins) to household products. It forced companies to look deep into their purpose and responsibility to the communities they serve. With Coca Cola initiating the #UnitedWeStand campaign and companies such as Ben & Jerry taking a more aggressive approach “Dissmantling White Supremacy” and “Defund the Police” going in line with their brand purpose of their brand surging from the social activism of the 70’s starting with Jerry Garcia the lead vocalist of the San Francisco Rock Band The Grateful Dead being one of their main brand embassador.
Many other brands have shown solidarity with Black Lives Matter, among them Nike, Adidas and L’Oreal. The latter fell foul of online critics who pointed out that its statement of support did not square with previous treatment of black transgender model Munroe Bergdorf, who was swiftly dropped by the cosmetics giant when she spoke out against racism in 2017. The French company has since apologised and reached out to Berfdorf to come back on board as an ambassador.
The Year of Company Collaboration
Based on the latest statistics of the Bureau of Labor, over 12,000 stores will disappear in the US in 2020. In order for companies struggling to survive they must go online and collaborate with other companies. Forbes noted 2020 as the Year of the Brand Mashups. Marketing experts believe that a ‘win at all costs’ mentality, based on competing to succeed, is dying out.
The next decade will call for greater cooperation. An example is the development of several Covid-19 vaccines putting competition aside to bring an end to the pandemic at record speed.
They’ve moved so fast because they’ve cooperated. All the big pharma companies have been in competition, but it’s been cooperative competition. There’s quite a bit to be learnt from that in terms of how we can share, innovate and still succeed.
What to Expect in 2021 and Beyond
• Continuing Internal Communication
It’s critical to keep employees connected, as motivated employees will communicate
better with each other and ensure better client outcomes. As a manager or business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your customer facing teams (service, marketing & sales) understand that even though you may not be in the office, you’re still all working together toward the same common goal. Break down projects into sizable chunks and set clear milestones. Then, ensure that you set-up multiple communication channels and be prepared to share successes with the entire team on each channel.
• Social Media Engagement
Social media budgets accounted for 24% of total US marketing budgets during Q2 2020 an increase of 13%. During the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers are increasingly making customer retention a priority. This will continue well into 2021.
The pandemic has dramatically increased the amount of time people spend online which includes how they research products, brands, and organizations on Social Media and Google.
• Google Listing
If you own a small business, THE most important things you can do is ensure your local listings are verified and kept current on Google My Business (GMB). That’s because for B2C businesses that draw customers primarily on a local level (think dentist office or car dealership),
the Google My Business listing provides valuable information about your hours
(many of which are in constant flux due to COVID-19 stay at home orders), services, and geographical location.
• Cross Brand Collaboration
As stated above the next dacade should see a continue collaboration with other companies that offer a complimentary services/products and can be consider your competitor to achieve greater goals and larger online audiences.
• Improve Retention Strategies
Because it takes less money to keep your existing customers than earn new ones, marketing experts always recommend exerting more effort into later stages of the buyer’s journey. Happy customers tend to tell their friends and provide referrals to help increase revenue. They’re also more likely to give your direct and honest feedback about issues that will only strengthen your brand.
Be sure to keep them informed on your organizational changes or processes that would impact your relationship through email marketing or engage with them on social media. By collecting data and segmenting your customers, you have an opportunity to save costs while delivering on your products and services. You can also target them in a more cost-effective fashion, allowing you to stretch your marketing dollars even farther.
• More Interactive Content
Adding interactive elements to your website and social media platforms are great ways to provide value to your visitors, get them to engage with your brand, and learn more about them. examples of interactive marketing includes assessments, quizzes, games, polls, interactive videos, surveys, and contests. Contests are a great way to exponentially increase your reach and visibility, quickly. The fastest way to get your brand in front of lots of new prospects, cheaply, is to have your current customers share a Facebook post of a contest. You can take it a step further and make it a referral contest, often promising an attractive reward to the client who helps bring in the most new business.
While technology can help, communication and transperancy is key moving forward for your company. Both internal and to your customers, the more friendly you appaear and the more in line to their purpose the more loyal of an employees and customers you will have saving you internally within HR and with spending in advertising to reach new customers.Happy New Year, wishing you all a healthy growth in 2021!
Article Written by Ernesto Comodo
Creative Director of 907K Marketing , Co-Owner of eBiz Marketing Academy and Marketing Director of LA South Chamber of Commerce.
15+ years of experience working in Marketing, is a Shopify Partner and Google Ads Partner.