3 Growth Opportunities For CPG Brands In 2021

January 22, 2021

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Last year saw some brand's growth accelerate tenfold due to the pandemic, take a look at our top 3 growth opportunities in 2021...

As 2021 dawns, we are all desperate for normality. Whether it’s a new normal or the old normal, we’re all eager to see what life is going to look like in the post-COVID world, and whether a vaccine will allow us to pick up our lives where we left them in March. CPG companies who saw their sales explode in the early days of the pandemic have lately seen business return to something resembling usual. While executives maintain optimism that their brands can maintain customer loyalty and attract new audiences when we enter the post-COVID period, their reasons for predicting success vary substantially. Let’s take a look at 3 ways brands are looking to grow their business in the new year.

1. Conscious Consumption

The pandemic has forced many of us to rethink our priorities as the very nature of our lives changed dramatically. We have already seen consumers react strongly to brands that were perceived as socially responsible and altruistic in this troubled and troubling year. Some marketing experts have dubbed a corporation’s sense of purpose and strongly held values to be “a superpower.” As Fast Company observes, a deeply held system of values that “once was a competitive disadvantage against status quo corporations is now a strength. What once made it harder for socially conscious companies to thrive and grow and scale is quickly becoming a strategic asset.” 

Corporate giants have already taken note of this trend. Unilever CEO Alan Jope recently told Barclay’s that the brand was attempting to increase the visibility of its plans to have a positive impact on society and the environment. Jope expressed his opinion that an increased focus on conscious consumption has been “turbo-charged” by the pandemic, and was likely here to stay. The Conscious Consumer Spending Index found that “significant increases in a range of “do good’ behaviors such as reducing consumption, donating to charity, and buying products and services from socially responsible companies” had occurred in 2020, even as the economy stalled and household incomes shrank. It’s likely that this trend will continue in 2021. If you can persuade consumers that your brand is doing everything possible to make the world a better place, they’ll be far more likely to invest their dollars and trust in your brand.

2. Direct To Consumer Sales

We have written before about the need to establish DTC sales channels in order to compete in the eCommerce arena. While DTC was once the domain of aggressive startups looking to take on established companies (like the Dollar Shave Club battling Gillette), the meteoric rise of eCommerce has made it a necessity for CPG brands. The pandemic saw demand for grocery delivery and curbside pickup skyrocket to levels that tested some of the world’s most sophisticated supply chains. Every CPG brand needs to take notice, and if you aren’t already doing your best to build the capability to offer DTC sales, it’s time to get started!

While eCommerce grocery, and home delivery have grown more slowly than many anticipated, the pandemic has forced millions around the globe to experiment with buying groceries online. As consumers become accustomed to the ease and convenience of purchasing food and necessities without long trips to crowded big box retailers, they’ll likely be more reluctant to return to supermarkets, especially as concerns about mingling in crowds linger. The Boston Consulting group reports that “35% of US shoppers new to e-commerce in March plan to continue making grocery purchases online after COVID-19 restrictions are over. By 2022, e-commerce’s share of individual grocery categories is expected to be as much as three times higher than pre-COVID-19 levels.”

If you’re selling a CPG product, there are a host of good reasons for building your own eCommerce sales platform rather than relying on Amazon or an established retailer. You can control your own sales platform, collect all of the valuable sales data that accumulates with every purchase, and you won’t be at the mercy of a retail platform that has incentive to promote its own brand offerings at your expense. If you can convince your customers to buy direct, building and maintaining loyalty will become infinitely easier. 2021 is going to be a huge year for DTC.

3. Microinfluencers Making A Macro Impact

Influencer marketing has been on the rise for years, but recently brands have been moving away from online celebrities with massive followings. Data has given us a clear picture of the marketplace, and analysts like those at Forbes are concluding that “working with influencers with smaller but well-targeted audiences can yield a better return on investment.” 

Shifting to microinfluencers will yield a more specific and personalized connection with the audience you are targeting. Instead of a generic endorsement from a famous face, you’ll be leveraging the intimate connection between a relatable online personality and their regular followers, while also linking your brand to specific content that’s closely related to your message. Whether cooking, nutrition, parenting, or exercise, you can micro-target your messaging to small segments of potential customers, and have it delivered by a trusted source.

Many brands have already been victimized by influencers who artificially boost their follower counts in pursuit of lucrative contracts. In fact, 85% of FMCG companies who have used influencers have reported a costly negative outcome. By spreading your budget around a host of microinfluencers, you minimize the risk of costly mistakes, and take advantage of a variety of niche markets. If you make sure to track conversions and engagement as closely as you can, you’ll be able to maximize the returns on every dollar you spend. As one executive told Forbes, “more followers do not always equate to better engagement and conversions. Relevance and authenticity are far more impactful.”

We experienced absolutely massive change in 2020, in the way we live and the way we shop. There has never been a time where adapting to trends and evolving your marketing approach was as important as it will be in 2021. If you’re looking to build an approach that maximizes your eCommerce potential, get in touch with Adimo today!

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