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eCommerce, Social Video and Brand Purpose: the 2021 Marketing trends so far

E-commerce and social commerce

E-commerce has been spurred forward five years from its pre-Covid trajectory according to some estimates and social commerce is booming as well as locked down populations turn from the high street to their mobile screens.

Grocery shopping and FMCG, in particular, has been boosted in a previously sluggish market – now 9% of EU FMCG products are purchased online.

Social platforms in turn are bolstering the trend by offering more options to shop, try on and buy in-store with AR technology and store facilities.

What this means for social:

  • Your social channels must be tapped into where products are sold – promote bundles and drive to online promotions – this is the opportunity to close the awareness to purchase tracking journey which has been lacking for FMCG
  • Ensure you are set up on social commerce and your items are properly tagged to be shoppable
  • Use AR filters to allow customers to try before they buy on social channels

The ‘Tiktokification’ of the social web

Short social video is the most exciting space in social media right now. Vine started the trend, Snapchat introduced ephemeral stories which spread like wildfire and now TikTok has picked up where Vine left off with creative, educational, meme and music-based formats – and Instagram has been quick to copycat there too.

There has been a shift. Not just in the share of attention – diverted from Instagram to TikTok – but also in a shift in attitude. TikTokkers (and this is a generalization) revel in authenticity rather than aspiration and focus on social issues rather than material goods, lifestyle and appearance. TikTok has also been at the forefront of social and ecological issues such as the Uighurs and climate change since before BLM took over Instagram feeds.

What this means for social:

  • Short video formats are proliferating – you need a strategy (YouTube shorts is next)
  • It’s not about cutting down your YouTube material but creating bespoke content – vertical, humor, memes, music, authentic influencers and talent
  • Consider how TikTok aesthetics and values can bleed onto other channels – just as TikToks often cross over to viral fame on Twitter and WhatsApp groups

Brands with purpose

The last year and a bit have given people pause to think about how they are living their lives. As everything changed, everything came into question – what is important, valuable, non-negotiable. We are also more connected with nature and with our neighbours and neighbourhoods. As a result, many have made positive changes in their lives and that extends to purchase decisions. People took note of brands that did great things, such as Brewdog making hand sanitiser instead of beer, or Ben & Jerry’s bid to tackle white supremacy. And we have a long memory for brands that didn’t do well, such as Wetherspoon’s lack of care for its staff.

What this means for social:

  • Find the authentic good you do for people and planet as a brand and don’t be afraid to authentically weave it into your social comms.
  • We know from working with WWF that although the world faces huge problems – if you give people hope and agency in finding the solution they respond in their millions.

The world will continue changing in ways we cannot perceive from where we are – but if we learn our lessons from the last year we stand in good stead to take advantage of all the future holds.

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