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2021 Global Marketing Trends

Customers have made it clear they have high expectations for brands. These include solutions they can trust, a brand purpose that aligns to their values, and experiences that enable them to act as co-creators rather than recipients of someone else’s vision. In the current environment, those expectations were heightened. Companies that succeed, particularly when confronted with global disruption of business, work modes, and service delivery, act with intention and clarity in fundamental ways.

For the 2021 Global Marketing Trends, we surveyed 2,447 global consumers and 405 executives from global companies to understand how each are navigating current conditions. Unprecedented change has shifted seven distinct global marketing trends for 2021 including: Purpose, Agility, Human Experience, Trust, Participation, Fusion, and Talent. The report shares clarifying insights and real-world examples to help global brands navigate these trends and thrive. Customers are looking to brands to navigate the path forward. Are you focused on leading the way?

Bringing authenticity to our digital age

We are living in an era of unprecedented technological innovation, but one thing remains constant: the human. By putting the human at the forefront of our digital environments, brands can successfully navigate the increasingly digitised business, economic and social environment and make an impact that matters.

Demystifying purpose. Customers know what their values are, do you? As customers align with businesses that share their values, companies that act with purpose are more positioned for success. They are able to respond more quickly in times of uncertainty. They can turn tough decisions into simple choices because they know how to invest, how to engage their employees and how to meet the needs of stakeholders.

Changing the playbook. The current environment has tested business models in unprecedented ways and made clear that agility is a crucial, cultural mindset for organizations. Digital technologies can empower organizations to respond more nimbly when rapid changes in customer expectations and market needs collide. It is now more important than ever to accelerate— rather than throttle—investments in those technologies.

A two-way street. Customers are interacting with brands more than ever before, from a simple product review to co-creating content. With engagement now a two-way street, companies are thinking about customers strategically, as brand ambassadors, influencers, collaborators, and innovators in their engagement strategies. Companies are tapping into this passion to broaden their focus for more collaborative engagement with customers.

Know thyself. As our world becomes more enabled by technology, people are easily reduced to an email address, a social media interaction or an order shipped in a box. By deepening their understanding of their customers, employees, and stakeholders, companies can create tools, solutions and devices that make peoples’ lives better, not just always on.

The new ecosystem. Organizations can better help the people they serve by creating innovative experiences through cross-industry partnerships. Fusion represents the art of bringing together new business partnerships, customer insights, and digital platforms to create ecosystems that more holistically address human needs. TALENT

The promises we keep—or don’t. Trust takes years to build, yet only seconds to destroy. Trust is built on a brand’s promise and the delivery of their product or service. Even in the most turbulent of times, when delivery meets expectations, brands build trust. When the gap between messaging and delivery widens, trust breaks down and reputation suffers.

Marketers disrupted. As the pandemic shifted ways of working and impacted budgets and even headcount, marketing organizations have focused on ways to make their most valuable asset, their talent, a strategic force. Technologies like AI liberate marketers from mundane, tactical execution freeing them to innovate and generate the big, creative ideas.

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