To us, like many people in our industry, 2021 represents an immense opportunity. A chance to rebuild from 2020 but also to grow even more, knowing what we know and feeling stronger.
When it comes to planning marketing and communications this year, we know that it is never going to be as simple as mapping out a calendar of activities and channels.
To alleviate anxiety and generate some much-needed positivity, we began the year with an interactive discussion with our creative partner Studio Black Tomato and the high-end travel network that makes The House of Beyond.
In this open and frank discussion, we covered everything from whether or not brands can trust usual seasonal peaks, if whole SEO strategies should adjust based on Covid keywords and whether or not brands can afford to ‘hibernate’ in these unpredictable times.
As with controlling our inner thoughts, we spoke about the merit of splitting plans into the elements of your brand you can project and control, and those which involve a bit more flex and agility.
Fixed: Emotional/ brand centric elements.
- What you stand for:
- The beliefs you have
- Your unique selling points.
- Your culture and identity
- Your view on the world
- Your personality/ Tone of voice
- How does your brand act like as a person?
- Your storytelling
- The stories you tell beyond your product
- The interests you have as a brand – brand partners, your locality, arts, music, what is the wider world that you can share and tell stories about that appeals to your consumer?
These are the components of your brand that should stand the test of time. They shouldn’t just bend and flex based on the latest news story, social phenomenon or cultural trend. During a period of ‘hibernation’, there is ample opportunity to fortify these elements, for example in the stories you tell, your website, your menus, your internal communications, your brand film. These ‘fixed’ components become your guiding light and point of navigation through unpredictable times – they are the definite non-negotiables within your content plan.
Fluctuating: Rational, reactive messaging.
When planning for the unpredictable, it’s wise to accept a degree of malleability, with an understanding that more dynamic formats such as social posts, press releases, events and SEO will need to be reviewed and planned for month by month and even day by day. Having dynamic formats to roll out alleviate the anxiety of ever-changing news headlines.
So how can you plan for 2021?
- Build out storytelling from the elements in your brand that you know will not change: This informs your social media, your newsletters, your media outreach.
- Use reactive and short turnaround channels for things which will need updating and are in flux: put budget aside for press for re-openings / openings. Use paid social to communicate changes to services and drive bookings.
- Re-assess your marketing and comms plans on a quarterly basis – even though things will be changing every day you need a plan to stick to.
- Find strength and creativity in the elements of your brand that are fixed – it’s easy to get distracted by the things which are always changing. Use different channels for different messaging – you need to be brave to not communicate everything, everywhere.
To discuss any doubts, questions, thoughts and ideas you may have for your 2021 plans and beyond, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to help.