A strong but agile communication strategy is key to staying afloat and coming out of 2020 in a strong position. Another obstacle is to try and break through the massive digital clutter of this unprecedented year.

This has created an unparalleled challenge for new and established brands as they struggle to break through the social and media noise to engage their audiences.

Now that we are in 2021, what should communicators consider as we continue to navigate this not-so-new-anymore normal? Here are five tips on what brands and communicators should consider to be part of their communication strategy for the year ahead:

1. Generate quality-over-quantity content 

The quality-over-quantity debate is not new to most of us; and yet, in 2021 we are still having to stress the importance of creating quality content. But why? It's because this notion pushes us to have a deeper understanding of our target audience and what they find interesting and helpful to achieve success.

As communicators, we need to stop writing long-winded content pieces that don't really say anything in the hopes of gaining favor with our audiences. Instead, we need to take time to understand and address our target audience's pain points, while educating them on difficult and challenging topics.

This in turn will provide a higher level of engagement from our audience. After all, our audience is looking for messaging that resonates with them on a personal level.

2. Look into your diversity and inclusion efforts

Workplace statistics around diversity show that most companies need to desperately consider aspects of inclusivity to create a diverse workforce. In 2020, many companies were exposed for not being where they needed to be in terms of the diversity and inclusion agenda. They need to put some action plans in place this year to address this.

But what does this have to do with your communications strategy, you ask? Well, it's simple. It starts with brands fostering a company culture where every voice is welcome, heard and respected before they can convince their audience. 

This should be implemeted before audiences see more gender-neutral language and representative images and illustrations that your company uses in its marketing and communications.

3. Plan ahead

If 2020 is anything to go by, it proved that whether you're a startup or a large corporate, an effective crisis communication plan should always be at the heart of your wider communications strategy. Why? Because the last few months have proved that your brand's reputation has never been more linked to your bottom line.

However, keep in mind that it's rarely the crisis itself that destroys the reputation of a business. Rather, it is the way that issue is handled. So, plan as far as possible and you will be ready for whatever comes; you will also be miles ahead of your competition.

4. Take your brand purpose even further

The pandemic has offered brands a unique opportunity to demonstrate the value that they create for all their stakeholders. Growing a brand in times of a pandemic is not an easy task, but the coronavirus has given companies the opportunity to successfully reposition their businesses within changing consumer needs and values that go beyond just offering the best product at the best price.

Brands will need to play a much larger role as a force for good in the lives of everyone, and consumers will be more likely to hold these brands accountable on the promises they make.

This purpose-driven trend will continue well into the years ahead, touching every facet of brand strategy from social media marketing to content creation.

5. Use authentic influencers 

As we head into 2021, influencers will cement their place further in mainstream marketing; however, this will bring about a lot of challenges along the way.

2020 showed us that consumers are deeply invested in who the influencers they follow are as people. Beyond beauty tips or new recipes, consumers want to know what their favorite influencers are driven by, the causes they care about, or even their political beliefs.

This means businesses must be especially careful in identifying influencers to represent their brand, making sure they're vetting them beyond reach and demographics and looking at their passions and how they connect with their followers to ensure they're the right brand fit.

Consumers continue to look for transparency, authenticity and genuine value and brands need to step up.

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