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Starcom report identifies five key ‘tensions’ for brands in post-Covid marketplace

Starcom UK has identified five new tensions that it believes brands will need to consider carefully throughout 2021. In its latest consumer insights report, A Look Ahead to 2021, the agency offers a guide to the key cultural trends creating conflict for consumers and impacting on how brands communicate with their audiences.

The report reveals the five key areas of tension in the marketplace:

Recovery vs. Revolution: Will we revert to old ways or continue with new ways of life we’ve established? Incredible achievements have been shown to be possible during unprecedented times, and so while the need for recovery and to self-mend is evident, it is also time for brands to be brave and brutally adapt.

Too much time vs. not enough time: Lockdown has offered us more time to spend on ourselves, yet we appear to be more stressed, not less. Time has been bent out of shape, perhaps never to return to the routines we were once used to. Tasks that had been conveniently squeezed from the day-to-day (e.g. bread making) have now been reinstated as positive pastimes.

Local vs. Global: Lockdown has forced a renewed focus on local communities and businesses. The impact of both the virus and Brexit, means how we travel and access the things we need, are being re-considered. As people avoid travel, COVID-19 has driven a surge in ‘localism’ around the world.

Introvert vs. Extrovert: Joy of Missing Out contrasted with the desperate need to escape back into the crowds: this trend highlights the personal needs of each individual and the new demands on brands to be able to cater to each, and both need states to be there when customers need them.

Monologue vs. Dialogue: If 2020 taught us anything it is perhaps that we should all listen more, and shout more. Knowing how and when to listen, debate and engage, and when to turn up the volume and shout a brand’s belief and message loud and proud is a complex but essential skill this year and beyond.

Heather Dansie, Insights Director at Starcom, said: “Having delved deep into outlining these five key consumer tensions, we have identified an overarching theme of 2021 that reflects the interconnected nature of these trends: Bravery. The radical change for businesses, in people’s behaviours and values means that brands and agencies alike must bravely take tough decisions, support each other and be prepared to think differently. We have a collective responsibility to do so, despite these difficult times. Bravery, coupled with empathy and human intelligence will be essential for brands to win.”

To download the full report, click here.