For the first time in a couple of months, organisations can look back to 2020 and feel better. A year ago, the UK was in the dark about the future direction of the economy with the lockdown stretched ahead and a nascent understanding of COVID-19. Fast forward, the vaccination program is in place, and the restrictions are easing. The forecast also suggests that the British economy will emerge will less damage than expected. The EY ITEM Club predicts the UK economy will grow by 6.8% in 2021 because organisations and individuals have been very flexible in respecting the restrictions, and the economic impact has been minimal. Economic experts also think that the unemployment rates will peak at 5.8% in the following months, lower than the 8 or 9% predicted a year ago.
Businesses can plan for post-pandemic recovery
The pandemic still affects the British economy, but with the EY ITEM Club forecasting a growth of 5% in UK GDP in 2022, organisations should start planning for the future. They’ll return to normal operations in the following months, in case they didn’t do it already, but they need to understand how the present conditions impact long-term strategies.
Brand management and market research play a crucial role in helping a business succeed and grow in the current volatile business environment. As shown since the pandemic struck, market research will depend on how well the businesses understand the evolution of the markets with their distinctive patterns and on steady tracking of market performance in 2021. The multiple factors that influence the industries (the virus, COVID-19 drugs and vaccine, fiscal and stimulus responses, and consumer resilience) affect the market sales trajectories that will look highly different from before the virus outbreak. Objective market research will enable brands to understand the larger and longer-term picture.
Companies need to get closer to their audiences in 2021. They need to be innovative, agile and willing to make bold choices to identify growth opportunities. Many organisations had to cut their marketing and market research budgets in 2020 due to recessions. But in 2021, they need to focus on brand management and marketing because they can prevent customer loss during periods of slow sales. Market research is also essential to find new clients, niches, and potential new services and products.
Brand managers should be aware that the world changed because of the pandemic. Experts think that ten years’ worth of marketing and digital adoption were compressed in the last year of the pandemic, but everything internet-based soared. The question of brand managers is how much of this behaviour should they expect to become permanent in the post-pandemic era. Where will their needs, attitudes, and plans of marketing and business should go forward?
Four research insights UK brands should know in 2021
Despite the turbulent 2020, the marketing community uncovered a couple of trends that will boost brand management effectiveness in 2021. Organisations want to rebuild and recover, and the following insights can help them create a series of strategies that can improve their performance in these uncertain times.
1. Share of search is more than helpful
A company’s share of organic online search queries is an effective tool, managers can use to determine the short and long-term ad effects and predict changes the industry may experience in the future. The share of search metrics offers organisations a new benchmark to boost their performance and predict sales. Brands can enhance its usefulness as a metric if they expand its application to facilitate strategic diagnosis.
2. Digital rent and digital availability
Marketing experts like Professor Byron Sharp stated that building physical and mental availability are the main triggers for brand growth because they make it easier for a targeted audience to notice and buy a brand. Organisations in the UK should understand that they operate in the age of e-commerce and need to manage their digital availability to provide their clients with the expected services. This idea focuses on driving penetration growth of the availability concept that better marketing helps both organisations and clients.
The bottom line is that the brands that want to sell online have to do their best for their clients to find them. Online marketing is an extension of their physical availability and works like a digital signpost.
3. Brands should research the movable middle
Brand managers and marketers prioritise the strategies that ensure reaching as many potential clients as possible. Some of the buyers are already loyal, while some are brand switchers, and the great majority are non-buyers. The latest information states that brands need to focus their research and advertising on the segment of the movable middle segment that includes clients with a 20 to 80% probability of buying from a particular brand. Research is essential to identify this segment, and the brands interested to single it out need to work with a leading research company in London specialised in researching the market. This approach excludes the majority of customers who are interested in buying the brand anyway. The movable middle customers are five times more responsive to advertising.
4. Attention measurement is essential
UK brands need a new measurement strategy to determine how effective their advertising is. Attention can be used as a qualifiable metric to understand the response the public has to brands. Attention measurement can provide the missing layer of quality in advertising planning in 2021 because it allows marketers to compare channel performance. It’s expected the companies that use attention measurement to trigger disruption in creative media planning. Cross-media attention research shows that engagement ads on a social media platform can trigger more customer retention than any other marketing strategy, supposing that extra attention is displayed in the price advertisers pay.
In 2021 brand managers are in full alert of strategies and events that can impact their organisations. This means that marketing intelligence will be taken more seriously and research better funded to identify potential threats and opportunities.