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2021 Trends: Why Focus on Brand Values Matters

December 30, 2020


The way we all live and work was dramatically altered this year, as the pandemic ripped through industries around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis that followed forced us to both ponder and take immediate action in the face of growing uncertainties. Nevertheless, planning for the future is not as easy as it sounds, given the present and the rising health concerns. For some of us, the end of the year may be full of unknowns as we make our way to a new normal, while still holding hope for a swift end to the crisis.

This is not, however, the first crisis to hit our civilization, and history teaches us that critical situations have often inspired innovations and shifted views on what matters most to people around the world. It has been already pointed out that the greatest plays in the English language were written during a pandemic, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that creative thinking in digital marketing and beyond is now more important than ever. That is precisely why marketers should think creatively and bring fresh perspectives to their businesses and brands, while also focusing on the right values.

Marketing Predictions Focus on Brand Values

Deloitte has tried to answer a question that puzzles marketers around the world: how do you create and develop the ramifications of global marketing trends during an unprecedented crisis that continues to change our world in unforeseeable ways? To make sure it had the right answer for advertisers everywhere, the largest professional services network in the world released its 2021 Global Marketing Trends report, whose opening chapter looks at brand purpose, and building the right foundation for a business, one that can lead to profits even in difficult times.

The company argues that it is those organizations that know why they exist and who they are built to serve that are better equipped to survive and grow during the crisis. “Guided by an authentic, enterprise-wide purpose, these organizations turn tough decisions into simple choices—following the path that best embodies their purpose,” noted the Deloitte report. 

Why Brands Should Live According to Their Values

The need for transparency and authenticity seems to be greater than ever, and while meeting clients in person is more difficult than before, staying true to core values is also more important than ever. As businesses everywhere move from offices to homes, so did interactions with clients and consumers. That is why relatable content and authenticity matter so much now and will probably continue to matter in the following years.

Eshan Ponnadurai, global head of brand and consumer marketing of Whatsapp, is encouraging marketers to take action and live according to what they preach. “Brands are ‘taking a stand’ but they typically don’t deliver on them. Pure messaging and statements are not enough—it’s action, providing solutions via your products and commitment, that matter,” says Ponnadurai. 

Thinking About What People Value

Acting according to their values might seem like an overstatement, considering that much of the digital construct we live in is actually virtual. However, this is the only way of earning customers’ trust. And trust, according to Deloitte, is just as important as purpose. Living up to what the public expects is by no means an easy task, especially in these turbulent times, but the first step might be more accessible than you think. According to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends report, marketers should first and foremost determine what their customers value. After that, all they have to do is make sure that their brands’ values and commitments are fitting to serve these needs and ultimately become realities.

While empathy and transparency serve as indicators for brands’ purposes, it is effectiveness and honesty about results that determine just how committed various brands are to these purposes. For marketers that put a high price on their brands’ reputations, this can be translated into two simple steps to follow: sending the right message and keeping promises.  

While we might feel that we are still challenged by uncertainties as the world is collectively looking for a way out of the crisis, some values remain important tools on a personal and professional level. Purpose, authenticity, and trust can help send the right messages and deliver the right promises. By creatively thinking about these values, you and other marketers around the world can carefully guide both brand and customers in a time when everybody needs guidance.