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Picture: 123RF/tomertu
Picture: 123RF/tomertu

Life as we know it has been fundamentally transformed by the Covid pandemic. With consumer behaviour changing faster than ever before, marketers need to be ahead of the curve and swiftly adapt their marketing strategies. Leading brands have learnt that success means flexibility.

As 2021 draws to a close, the big questions are what marketing will look like in 2022 and whether there are lessons from 2021 that we can draw on as we face another year of uncertainty. A recent FM Redzone discussion moderated by chief creative officer at TILT, Arye Kellman, included contributions from leading marketing strategists, who shared their considerations as they start to plan for 2022 and their predicted marketing climate shifts.

Jacki McEwen-Powell, founding partner and strategist at Eclipse Communications, pointed to the huge shift to digital communication that has taken place since the onset of the Covid pandemic. While content remains important, messages must be personalised, she said, adding that brands need to be mindful about creating compelling and exclusive content.

David Wingfield, managing executive of brand and marketing at Absa Group, said that while consumer behaviour has changed to some extent, the landscape has not altered dramatically. He argued that there is still a place for big brand messages. Brands that are pursuing growth need to reach as many consumers as possible with relevant and appealing messages. In a world without cookies marketers can’t get lazy about data any more, he added.

Brands don’t only need to define their purpose but should live up to that purpose consistently, he said. However, that’s often easier said than done, he conceded.

Nadia Mohamed, marketing director at Mondelēz International, conceded that snack brands have benefited from the lockdown and the nesting trend. Pointing to the forced shift from bricks and mortar to online, she said consumers will continue to look for safety and convenience. Her fear, she said, is that marketers are not translating data into workable insights.

Saskia Hickey, brand marketing manager at Radio 702, Kfm 94.5, Eyewitness News and CapeTalk, said the role of marketing is still to deliver the right message at the right time. Marketers need to be responsible and flexible with regard to consumers as they shift between online and offline worlds. Brands need to tap into consumers’ state of wellbeing and have to understand work-life balance. They also need to be authentic and create brand love. Radio has tended to do well through the pandemic as listeners sought social connections, which is not surprising, she said, given that it was the original social medium.

The big take-out:

Brands don’t only need to define their purpose but should live up to that purpose consistently.

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