We can all agree that 2020 was a year of change that shook the world to its core – including modifying the way makers in the marketing industry achieve the best results. 

After a year of the unknown, it’s a wonder what is to come next. So, the question on everyone’s lips is this: How has the pandemic changed marketing forever? Well, it begins with the consideration that marketers will now be building brands in a new world order, and those brands need to bring value to survive.

The key takeaways

Working with Covid-19

When the stay-at-home order struck, especially in the first lockdown, many businesses had to quickly come to terms with working from home. That meant a crash course in Zoom, an added pressure on communication and the worry of survival. It was dreary, to say the least, but the marketing industry has learned some big lessons when it comes to adapting and reshaping the way we work.

E-commerce excelled 

The rise of e-commerce in 2020 was difficult not to take note of, with everyone at home basking in the sun and a lot of those people on furlough, online shopping was a form of escapism that many people turned to. Online shopping also became a necessity for most when shops shut. Therefore meaning that brands needed to drastically adapt their strategies to fit with new consumer behaviour. Online sales grew by 46% in 2020, compared to the previous year – the largest increase since 2008.

Back to basics with behavioural trends

With the world suddenly becoming unpredictable, consumers found themselves returning to cable television for updates and credible information. We spent far more time on social media, watched more video content on streaming platforms and Youtube and Google became the latest additions to the list of most loved brands – meaning that media and entertainment now dominate the list. 

With most of us spending more time at home, internet usage increased drastically. So much so that it is reported that there was an estimated 3.23 billion, which is about 80% of the overall global number of internet users, who used social media at least once every month in 2020. 

Brands who did it right

Brand positioning was a huge highlight that shaped marketing strategies across the world. How you position your brand during such challenging times truly defines your business now and in the future. Your actions could potentially stick in the minds of your consumers for a long time.

Heinz created an emotive campaign last year with its heartwarming ‘breakfast isn’t going anywhere’ slogan – partnering up with Magic Breakfast to donate 12 million free breakfasts to school children who needed support. This type of campaign, during questionable times, is something that will encourage consumers to remember the human touch behind the advertisement for years to come. 

We can agree that there is nothing more British than popping the kettle on when times get tough. Many tea brands in the UK adapted their marketing strategies to develop human connection amongst their social media followers – providing comfort to the country when it was needed most.

Yorkshire tea used their social platforms to offer familiarity during such moments, often by tweeting lighthearted references about working from home – addressing the typical challenges most of us faced when experiencing a new work environment. 

By reminding us all that real humanity is not lost in the world of business, Yorkshire tea continued to spread messages of positivity of current social importance in their well-known, well-loved brand voice – a nod to the warming northern culture. This meant that their brand marketing strategy did and could still adapt to the times. 

Nike’s first coronavirus themed campaign focused on the ‘stay at home’ messaging that was so crucial to us all during the first few months of the pandemic. The success of the campaign was down to its authenticity and simplicity. 

There was no need for quirky jokes to make light of the situation or including anything clever to catch your eye, it simply told an incredibly important message to consumers everywhere. 

There were many big brands out there paving the way for pandemic success and they often expressed emotion amongst their audience, something that proved crucial in times of loneliness and crisis. 

The approach has changed 

The rise in need for sustainability 

Adding a ‘human touch’ to marketing is the latest inspiration in the industry and consumers want to know that their money is going to businesses who are doing the right thing in unprecedented times. Embracing a sense of community has taken over the sense of urgency when it comes to sales and nurturing conversations are becoming more meaningful to customers.

With sustainability at the forefront of consumer concerns, people now want to know whether your products are sustainably sourced and how you supported your employees through the pandemic. Content marketing and emotive messaging is now considered the solution to creating powerful connections with people online.

Changes that are here to stay

Digital first

Staying at home for the summer meant a lot of people spent more time on their digital devices to pass the time. As a business, creating a memorable online presence is now more important than ever before to ensure your website is mobile friendly and investing in SEO is the best way to improve your website’s rankings. 

Establishing your ranking on search engines is essential to let people know who you are and what you stand for when it comes to a user searching for specific keywords that relate to your business. 

Content is still king

Where consumers are delving into the digital experience more often, your content could end up playing a huge role in converting that user into a client. 

Content needs to be to the point, high-quality and relevant to you and the page it sits on. Brands are becoming thought leaders in their industry which is something that will set you apart from your competitors. Producing high standard content will put you in front of your readers as an expert in your field, further complementing Google’s E-A-T principle and other SEO guidelines.

Virtual events are a lasting solution

Whether it was your favourite artist’s concert or an important business exhibition, events in 2020 were completely written off when Covid-19 hit,  either being cancelled or transformed into virtual events where possible. While it’s not likely that virtual events will replace those in real life forever, it has certainly made the industry think twice when planning such events. 

There are many benefits to at least having a virtual alternative available, even if it is simply an additional option for those who might not be able to travel or attend an event in person. 

2021 Onwards


Marketing has changed in plenty of refreshing ways after the pandemic and despite the crisis we experienced over the past year, these changes will grow to become a great opportunity for the industry to adapt and develop. 

In many ways, the consumer journey has become more straightforward – leaving minimal room for mistakes if something were to go wrong. Customer feedback is more important than ever as potential customers want to see positive reviews and recommendations before they experience your services for themselves. 

Marketing is forever changing, but keeping up with the trends ensures you don’t get left behind when the benchmark shifts once again.

Do you want your brand to be remembered forever? A memorable, clever campaign will get people talking for years to come. Rooster Marketing is a full-service marketing agency that can develop your business from the ground up. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can elevate your brand.