Last year was about the pandemic and themes focused on ‘resilience’ and ‘business models that needed to pivot’ popped up in our content across clients and verticals.

What will this year be about? Well, if you believe Pinterest, charcuterie boards, home cooking and ritual baths will be the rage on the platform in 2021.

But for our B2B clients (no cheese and wine clients sadly on our list), here are themes we expect that will resonate and be useful to keep track off as we create content strategies in 2021.

  1. The tentative resurgence of hope and consumer spending

The pandemic is not yet won — far from it. But the world is getting ready to move on and practically straining at the bit to do so. According to McKinsey, “revenge-shopping” will sweep across the consumer landscape as consumer confidence returns.

The Consumer Confidence Index supports our optimism. The Index reflects prevailing business conditions and details consumer attitude, buying intentions, vacation plans — it demonstrates the degree of confidence that people have in the economy and their personal financial situation.  The Index monitored by a US-based thinktank Conference Board is up by 6+ points globally, 9+ points in Asia Pacific and 2+ points in Europe.

Tip: One way to tap into this trend is simply bring in a spring in your content one. It’s okay to be a little upbeat and not worry about whether your audience considers the optimism disrespectful. But we recommend proceeding cautiously as the global recession is not going away anytime soon and individual industries have varied rebound trajectories. For example, leisure travel is not expected to rebound strongly this year.

  • The future of work is here — work-from-home is here to stay

We manage the SME content hub for a banking client. Amongst the ideas about loans, cash flows and e-commerce, we recommend that the bank create content that helps SMEs manage human resource policies with empathy.

How do you manage mental health and wellness remotely? How should you structure your performance assessments now that part of your workforce is working remotely? How do these assessments account for tasks done and time spent in front of the laptop?

Why is this important? According to Gartner’s 2020 Reimagine HR Employee Survey, “employers that support employees with their life experience see a 23 per cent increase in the number of employees reporting better mental health. There is also a real benefit to employers, who see a 21 per cent increase in the number of high performers compared to organisations that don’t provide the same degree of support to their employees.”

Tip: We would recommend creating content that exhibits your company’s softer side, establishing your care and concern for your employees.

As Peter Bakker, managing director, IMMedia Content says:” [The last year] It has stirred our human psyche and (re) ignited our more empathic qualities. This has also affected how we create content — it has evolved to become more inclusive and empathetic to the audience(s) we are aiming to reach.”

  • Environment and sustainability will pick up further traction 

Joe Biden’s win clinched this trend. Even if you believe climate change is a hoax, this will be the keyword to create content around in the world of content — regardless of the business.

Nearly three-quarters of ASPAC CEOs say that managing climate-change risk will be crucial to keeping their jobs in the next five years, according to KPMG’s annual CEO Pulse survey.

A key sector will be financial services and the asset management business.  Every year, Larry Fink, BlackRock’s Chairman and CEO, writes a letter to chief executives and BlackRock’s clients laying out the fund’s investment philosophy.  In the 2021 letter, Fink addressed the “rapidly accelerating transition’’ in the investment landscape: from January through November 2020, investors in mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds invested US$288 billion globally in sustainable assets, a 96 per cent increase over the whole of 2019 — much more than Fink had expected. 

“There is no company whose business model won’t be profoundly affected by the transition to a net-zero economy,” Fink states.  

If the world’s largest fund throws down the gauntlet, then that’s a trend the world will listen to in 2021 and beyond.

Tip: Ensuring that your brand and company are in step with this landscape should show up in your content calendar for the year. Thought leadership articles, CEO statements on websites and LinkedIn are a great way to establish your brand’s commitment to sustainability.

  • Digitalisation, automation, digital platforms — these are not just buzzwords 

These words are real, quantifiable actions that companies have taken through last year. Chatbots powered by AI, automation of simple tasks, image-recognition technology adopted by retailers and consumer product companies — the trend is ubiquitous across business and functions.

Tip: Regardless of your industry, now is the time to show what steps you are taking to make 2021 a better year through digitalisation for your stakeholders, employees and customers. Start small if you are not confident of talking about big moves. Adopted a new work-from-home digital protocol; that works too.

Want us to bring your content to life through data-driven insights? We’ve developed the IMMediate Platform which uses machine learning to optimise your content strategy.   Call us for a chat.