Purpose not products: How the Corona pandemic will continue to influence our social media communication in 2021

Dec 23, 2020

Germany

What will 2021 bring? You don’t need a crystal ball to predict that the Corona pandemic will stay with us for some time. What is becoming known as the new normal is changing the way we interact socially. And with it, the way we communicate. This transformation does not stop at corporate communications. When consumers change, the way they are being addressed and the channels via which they are reached must change as well.

For a long time, no one has dared to doubt that social media is becoming increasingly relevant in the communication mix. The Corona pandemic, however, has given it a considerable boost. A survey by Statista, for example, shows that at the height of the first lockdown in Germany in mid-April 2020, more than half of the respondents were making increased use of social media. Similar statistics have observed the same effect in other countries, too.

But Corona has a strong influence not only on user behaviour, but also on the content that is distributed via social media. In view of the fact that the pandemic and its consequences will also be present in the coming year, companies should definitely adapt their strategy if they have not already done so.

A little while ago I attended a Talkwalker webinar on the top social media trends for 2021. Two things struck me:

1. Almost all of the trends can be broken down to one thing: Emotion comes before information. If brands want to be successful with their content on social media, they have to create emotional connections.

How do brands achieve this? By being authentic, close to their customers, tackling the same issues. Sharing concerns, conveying sympathy, providing support. If brands succeed in this, they create trust. And that is the basis for brand loyalty.

2. (and this is a direct consequence of point 1) None of the best practice examples of successful brands focused on their products. Instead, it was about communicating values. Brands are no longer defined by their product or services, but by the philosophy behind them. Companies need a purpose.

Big brands like Coca Cola or Red Bull have long understood that the product only plays second fiddle. That consumers buy experiences that satisfy certain needs. And in times of crisis, caring is a dominant need.

Show solidarity in disruptive times

Selling business as usual does not go down well now. After all, covid-19 is not only endangering our health, the measures to combat the pandemic are also having a negative impact on our economy, and thus also on consumers’ willingness to buy. In uncertain times, they think twice about what they spend their money on. This applies to the B2B sector no less than to B2C.

The tendency to invest in brands that match one’s own values has been around for a long time. But the Corona crisis is accelerating this development. A survey by Wavemaker has shown: 35 % of the respondents want to continue to support brands that have shown solidarity during the crisis after it as well. In return, almost 40 percent want to punish brands that did not show solidarity.

“Product is hero” is a thing of the past. This must finally sink into the heads of companies, especially in the B2B sector. That is no reason to be sad though. Because today, YOU are the hero.

By Presigno

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