1. If brands are hoping to stay relevant and keep up with the content creation phenomenon, 2021 needs to be the year of Empowering Employees to Power your Brand. It is plain and simple—employee censorship on social channels is a disaster for brands. We can no longer control the message folks. The social framework is “bigger and stronger” than our puny frameworks. Instead of fighting it every step of the way, USE it to your advantage, or you’ll pay a steep price in diminished return… especially during these times of change and uncertainty. Your employees are the best way to humanize and personalize your brand… and truly the best way to scale relevant, contextual content creation

Did you know that employee created content (ECC) receives eight times more engagement than content shared from the company itself? On top of that, employee content extends brand messaging by over 500%. Crazy, right? So why aren’t more companies getting employees engaged in content creation? It’s well known that companies with engaged employees outperform their peers; involving employees in content creation can help to create a sense of common purpose.

The truth of the matter is that the social evolution is a business evolution. Only by changing our old frameworks can we possibly hope to keep up—because social media and the way communication is evolving, along with so many other applications during the pandemic, have completely altered the business landscape. #ROE… Return on Employees.

2. Changing shopper behavior creates a land grab for retailers and brands alike. Established brands like Nike are making huge strides to connect directly with shoppers, preparing for a future where a good portion of retail is direct. Upstart brands including AllBirds, Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club have been pushing incumbents to embrace more flexible channel strategies as well, and the trend is expanding exponentially in 2021. Incumbents and challengers alike are exploring all kinds of channel mix combinations although with a common tactical thread… all brands are seeking direct relationships with shoppers instead of relying on third party retailers… especially with how the #Covid19 pandemic has dramatically altered shopping behavior.

3. Customer Experience with our Marketing… we worry all the time about customer experience with our employees, product, purchase, and service, BUT we have overlooked a critical part of the customer expereince, and that IS how “our” marketing affects “them.” We’ve got data coming out of our ears, so tracking the results of our marketing efforts in terms of dollars and cents is becoming easier and easier. However, all these efforts only measure the upside of banging consumers over the head (how many more clicks, shares, engagements, and ultimately sales, do we get). No regard is given to the downside numbers. What we are NOT tracking is the point at which our customers turn from just annoyed, too fed up with our bot stalking and algorithm tweaking.

I think we need to spend as much time finding ways to track the negative effect of our marketing efforts as we do the positive ones. Every brand that continues to bang your customers or followers over the head again, and again, and again – without regard to the damage it is doing to brand equity – is going to suffer as we move forward in this customer, “my media, my commerce, my way”, world.

Marketing will truly win when humans control the machines, instead of the machines controlling the humans. 

#RetailRelevancy… #NoLetUp!

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