Will 2021 bring a business comeback?

  • by Ian McCawley
  • 18/01/2021

In this third blog of our series examining what recovery from the pandemic might look like in 2021, we spotlight the future for commercial organisations.

What will an eventual return to the office mean for millions of workers after a period of homeworking? How, in turn, will brands be able to engage customers in light of the accelerated trend towards online shopping?

Here’s what WPNC experts think will happen:

John Watson, Chair: “The speed of the recovery will wrong-foot a lot of people. There is massive pent-up demand. Once the vaccine is widely available consumer spending will blossom.

“Organisations that are still in lockdown mode will be left behind by those that are more agile and get marketing messages out fast. Media channels will be clogged and rates will rise, so those without deals in place will find it more difficult.

“Meanwhile, there will simply have to be complete integration between digital and marketing. The teams will have to join together because the consumer will be, frankly, puzzled by a digital experience that doesn’t follow the marketing comms that are appearing everywhere else.”

Richie Florey, Head of Delivery: “People will want to get away from the four walls they’ve been living and working in, and all the stresses and strains that has brought, even if it’s staying in this country.

“Also, people will want to go out to eat more and help the hospitality sector. Takeaways are okay but it’s not the same, as sitting inside a restaurant. All of this will lead to an upturn in our economy, which it desperately needs.”

Bob Nash, Creative Director: “The UK housing market will change significantly as more people than ever are willing and able to work from home. Staycations will remain more popular than before the pandemic as people have rediscovered the beauty of our countryside.” 

John Eversley, Managing Director, Agency: “Mobile networks will soon sell advertising space on handsets. When you pick up your phone and unlock your screen, there’s a moment when your Apps load and you tap to read social media, emails or Google. This has to be prime real estate. Networks won’t charge for the data used in viewing the content; revenue from advertisers will cover this.

“Elsewhere, the clamour for virtual events with a close to real-life experience will grow. We’ll see more development of tech in this area. Major sponsors will support these events, with online data access allowing more personalised promotion of sponsor brand services. Events including rugby, the Olympics, Glastonbury and other huge money-spinners will want ways to feed fans and sponsorship can do this. The opportunity for advertisers and agencies is in the CX journey and developing ads and content to engage the viewing public.”

Hannah Williams, Client Services Director: “As more and more high-street shops close we predict a future where only what have been deemed ‘essential’ shops during the Covid era will survive. Digital shopping has become a stable go-to option for all generations. We may also see an increase of smaller businesses advertising on TV now have a reason to under the ‘support local’ banner.

“In the world of work we predict one or two days in the office a week, used not only for catch-ups and social aspects but also to innovate as we really make the most of time together. Companies will look to others to facilitate these sessions initially and then they’ll become part of the norm.”

Lincoln Bogartz, Senior Digital Project Manager: “The pandemic forced the wide adoption of working from home practices for the agency and our clients. Delivery of projects with distributed teams will become the norm. Digital tools and practices that are designed to overcome the lack of face-to-face interaction and facilitate collaboration for remote project teams will continue to improve and proliferate.”

Gail Cookson, International Director: “Sales of eye make-up will increase as women still wear masks, with lipstick sales booming too as it has become the new 'office wear’ on Zoom!”

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