Who could have predicted the events that unfolded in 2020? Our partners certainly didn’t, but who can blame them, it was 2020 after all! Question is, will they be more cautious with their predictions for 2021, or go all out with nothing to lose? Let’s be honest, no one truly knows what this new year will bring, but our partners have given their predictions a pretty damn good go.

 

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“Businesses who adapt to meet changing consumer needs will win through.”

Genevieve Tompkins, Managing Partner

Grabbing 2021 by the proverbial… if there’s ever a time to adapt your business to meet consumer expectations and needs, it is now!

As the fates of businesses across the UK are once again thrown into turmoil, one thing is certain; businesses who adapt to meet changing consumer needs will win through. Think Brewdog; smashing their way through Covid-19 challenges with masterful inventiveness.

Direct to consumer brands largely had a very good year in 2020, as many were unaffected by lack of physical footfall. Having well oiled digital distribution meant that they were already well set up for business as usual in a pandemic (once the initial bumps in rising demand were ironed out, ahem, Ocado).

But the best trick in the book was working out what consumers wanted during these times. In 2020 local bricks & mortar businesses became online delivery businesses as restaurants and garden centres got to grips with the new reality of consumer engagement and purchase funnel. With more people baking and gardening than ever before, the seasonality curve was well truly distorted with consistent demand. This was incredible to watch and meant some businesses were able to weather the storm that was 2020 with new-found routes to market and in some cases, an entirely new customer base.

So there we have it, I excitedly (yes, really) predict more and more inventive behaviour from our DTC friends in 2021. Here’s to the entrepreneurial spirited business owners out there – Covid-19 is an unprecedented challenge to our times, but you are greater and stronger than it!

 

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“I hope that people will begin to listen more.”

Sam Drake, Managing Partner

People have opinions about everything these days.

But my bullshit detector is going off at an increasingly alarming rate.

I realise this is perhaps a plea loosely packaged as a prediction but in 2021 I hope that people will begin to listen more.

Opinion and a point of view is important but these have to be shaped by real insight and knowledge.

People should not stop expressing a point of view but should read more, understand more, lean into others opinion more – but most importantly listen more.

As our world becomes increasingly complex with different disciplines, personalities, structures and strategies at play the art of listening and understanding will never be so important.

It’s something that consultants spend a lot of time doing and they do alright.

My 6-year old informed me in a home schooling session this month that repeating the same maths question a bit louder did not help her to understand the question.

She asked me to listen.

I did.

I helped.

In 2021 I don’t predict that lots of people will listen more but I do predict those that do will be the ones who step ahead.

 

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“The danger of making predictions is life can come at you pretty fast.”

Simeon Adams, Creative Partner

Last year I promised to approach 2020 with boundless energy and optimism. I believed there was plenty to be optimistic about, with a settling political and economic outlook, and an emerging shift in ad spend from direct or performance media spend with short-term aims to brand building – and the invention and creativity this might yield. 

Well what a shit shower that prediction, and the whole year, turned out to be. 

The danger of making predictions is life can come at you pretty fast. 

So, asked to make the same pithy predictions for this year, I’m going to take the reverse approach. I’m going to predict a cataclysmic year of economic seizure, collapsing ad spend and a market bereft of creativity, invention and fun. 

2021 will be significantly worse than last year. The UK will continue to mismanage the pandemic (okay, that might be a foregone conclusion rather than a prediction) and our business and our clients’ business will fail to innovate our way out of the mess and create value and opportunity for our businesses brands and the economy. 

I, of course, say this with full and renewed certainty that the exact opposite will happen. 

Oh, and while we’re at it, Southampton FC will get relegated and definitely won’t finish in the top four.

 

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“I suspect most of the UK just want their old lives back.”

Simon Wilden, Partner

A Year of two distinct halves. 

Lockdowns media trends are familiar now. Coming months will see mobility remain at record lows with OOH suffering. Watching TV continues to boom but the biggest winners are the streamers. Last year’s limitations on production mean domestic broadcasters lack the programming firepower to reinvigorate peak-time audiences. Radio should do well as clients and planners understand how listenership is up, despite no up-to-date RAJAR data. 

Speculation starts when we consider life when COVID concerns subside. Talk of a new normal is exaggerated. Some people will retain some aspects of recently enforced lifestyle changes in their post-COVID lives. City centres will be slightly quieter places, with office workers balancing WFH with trips in to meet colleagues and clients. Local areas will see increased demand for existing services and opportunities for new businesses. Dormitory towns will start to wake up – at least on Fridays. 

I suspect most of the UK just want their old lives back.   

The roaring ’20s was the response to Spanish Flu and World War I. Will we see a similar period of decadence and debauchery? If people embrace returned freedoms, we’re likely to see AV consumption take a back seat – Netflix might even see their subscriber base trimmed a tad – and the outdoor media market thriving again. Events and entertainment will have a massive Q3. 

A year of two halves, but much more positivity for most markets and new opportunities for brands and businesses.