While reflecting on the year that was 2020, we’ve compiled our top predictions for 2021 as they relate to how we live, work and play.
While some of the shifts were more welcome than others, it hasn’t all been bad. In fact, the adversity of 2020 has actually inspired a lot of innovation.
At Linktree, we’ve seen huge growth in our community. We’ve helped 9M users globally monetize their passion and connect with their audience.
We’ve loved seeing the creative ways the Linktree community has adapted to 2020. So to reflect on it all, we got the Linktree team to share the big cultural shifts they observed last year and their predictions for 2021 as well as hot tips so that you can future-proof yourself or your business for what’s next.
#1 The work week will fit into your schedule
It only took a global pandemic for the world to embrace remote working. But with the help of the right technology, some of us found that we actually work better at home. Others learned that they really prefer to work around other people, but on a more flexible schedule.
Now we know that it’s all about working where and when you’re the most productive, rather than being chained to the desk from 9 ‘til 5.
Expect to see huge shifts in what the standard ‘work week’ looks like. If 2020 revealed what environment you’re most productive in, our prediction for 2021 is that you’ll be able to design the schedule that will help you to be most successful.
Make sure you’ve got all the collaboration tools in place to stay connected to your team and be transparent about when you’re offline. Now imagine what you’ll be able to achieve if you’re not limited to a time and place?
#2 The offline world will go more online
This year, we leaned on technology for our products and services more than ever before. Think: home delivery groceries, live streamed exercise classes, virtual house inspections.
While it’s been a huge convenience, what does it mean for products and services that can’t be fully digitized?
Real world experiences aren’t going anywhere, but expect to see technology integrated more into them.
For instance, if you’ve visited a cafe or restaurant lately, you might have had to scan a QR code on the way in. This is one of the ways the online and offline world have collided for a more connected (and covid-safe) customer experience.
If you’ve got a physical product or service, now’s the time to think about how tech can complement it. Why not offer in-store customers a discount if they sign up to your mailing list using a QR code, or have the students who come to your yoga classes check in via QR code?
Start thinking about how you can create a richer customer experience — it’ll breed fiercely loyal customers and future-proof your offering. Start small, see what works and build from there.
Tip: If you’re in the hospitality game, we have tips especially for you.
#3 Brands will need to be better
The Black Lives Matter movement changed the way consumers interact with brands, as the push for better cultural, physical and racial representation reached a tipping point. Companies were held accountable by their audience and we saw many big brands pledge to be more conscious moving forward.
Of course, not everyone was playing catch up. Brands like SavageXFenty were using diversity and inclusiveness in marketing from the get-go.
It’s not a temporary phase. In 2021, brands will be expected to use their platforms to speak out, to be inclusive in their marketing, and to give back to their followers.
When marketing your product, speak to people from all walks of life. Champion diversity in everything that you do. Use your social media for good. Be in your customers’ corner and spread positivity — it can be fun.
#4 Casual content will be cool
Lockdown changed a lot of things and one of them was how we view content. This year we saw big brand collaborations filmed on iPhones and famous musicians record Jimmy Kimmel spots from their bathrooms.
It all proved that audiences are willing to consume unpolished content and that the idea matters more than the execution.
Big budgets won’t be essential for content success in 2021 — as long as you’re clever, you can nail it on the cheap. Authenticity matters most, so use what you have, tell interesting stories and go for mediums your audience relate to.
Remember: be less concerned with how it looks and more concerned with what it says.
#5 Creators will build and become brands
2020 saw millions of people pushing to monetize online. With bricks and mortar stores in decline and ad spend dropping, individual creators have shifted from partnering with brands to creating their own.
It’s happened at all levels: we saw Pharrell capitalize on his famously youthful looks to launch a skincare line, while more creators expanded their offering on platforms like Patreon to build independent income streams.
With so much of the creative economy disrupted by covid, creators will keep finding new and innovative ways to build their career. This year the best and brightest won’t wait for brands to give them work, they’ll create their own.
#6 When it comes to marketing, memes are king
Memes are a win-win, so they’ll stick around. Audiences are more likely to share and engage with this kind of content. Brands get to feel more aligned and in tune with their audience’s experiences. Everyone’s happy.
#7 Collabs will come from anywhere
Travis Scott x McDonalds. KFC x Crocs. Pablo Rochat x Instagram. 2020 saw some truly weird and wonderful partnerships, proving that brands don’t always have to play it safe. This year, the sky really was the limit.
Prepare to see even more unexpected collabs in 2021. Partnerships can come from peripheral or totally separate spaces. Look for the not-so-obvious choice, get creative and search outside your immediate circle.
While no one has a crystal ball to see what the future holds, the best we can do is learn from the past to prepare for whatever comes next. We hope these predictions for 2021 help to set you up for a year of success!