Two years is generally too short a period for any cycle of change to manifest itself, hold sway and finally become permanent. COVID-19 has defied that trend. The new normal that the pandemic has set off in the ecosystem in which brands, businesses and consumers operate reinforced itself in a fast-forward mode in 2021.

The world went into an overdrive to pin down the virus, taking a two-pronged approach. First was to defeat the virus clinically. The second step was to circumvent the impact of the pandemic and carry on with business as usual. The trials and tribulations of brands and businesses to innovate, sometimes to the extent of reinventing, in order to stay afloat gave way to a set of clear directions to acquire consumers or warm up to their preferences.

We are likely to see deeper integration of technology and creativity in the year ahead. Unlike the great surge in resignations in 2021, the New Year will see a revival of sorts in terms of focus on nurturing talent and creativity.

At the peak of the pandemic, when brands scurried for the cover of digitization, the only belief that guided them was to stay connected with their consumers. After almost two years since their digital adoption, the same is no more about brand recall but about completing the customer journey through the marketing funnel. The New Year is set to optimize that journey with the focus on hyper-personalization — be it through AI-driven applications for better customer experience, through micro-influencers or vernacular content. The New Year will also bring clarity in how META will blow the brand bugle.

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