After a year like 2020 offering predictions on anything in the new year may seem foolish. But despite the annus horribilis that was 2020, we’ve each noticed things that might indicate progress, challenge and/or opportunity in 2021. So, as the sun sets on 2020, here are our predictions for 2021:
Alexis Davis Smith, PRecise Communications
- I believe many brands will continue to build upon efforts started as response to the Black Lives Matter movement last summer. People of color will continue to be elevated and more diversity and multicultural programs will be executed – not only to benefit African American consumers, but all previously overlooked segments. Also, companies that made public statements will begin to deliver on promises, if they have not already; those that offered performative statements only will be called out.
- On the contrary, brands that did not get it, still won’t get it. There will be many of those.
Ben Finzel, RENEWPR
- Corporate leaders will be more willing to proactively speak out in favor of full LGBTQ equality, even in the face of new attacks on equal marriage rights, adoption, employment and housing from increasingly fringe elements on the far right.
- We will see at least two new multicultural/LGBTQ CEOs named in 2021 and at least one of them will be a first for their industry, shattering another glass ceiling.
- Companies that successfully use data and research, as well as follow and study the demographics of the U.S. Census, will increase marketing and communications to the Hispanic market in 2021 to the benefit of their bottom line. While most are still woefully and embarrassingly behind in being inclusive of Latinos – the nation’s largest AND youngest ethnic group – in their advertising campaigns, incremental progress has been made in recognizing this growth market.
- On the flip side, those who continue ignoring Latinos will see a dip in sales and loss of market that will be nearly impossible to bring back. This is because market research shows Hispanics are the most brand conscious and brand loyal group in America. They notice and support companies that make an effort to respect and value their purchase dollar and become loyal, multi-generational, buyers, despite price, once they engage a brand. Smart brands will gain and grow with them; others will learn the hard way what ‘Adios” means.
Christina Yumul, Storieology
- I predict the definition and measure of successful organizations through the eyes of the both the companies themselves and consumers will change. It won’t just be the earnings that determine success, but also how well they provide support to the personal growth and development of their employees and consumers will be more crucial. Companies will step-up to especially address various issues from diversity, inclusion, environment and family remote-work support to social impacts. Individually and as a collective, all these audiences will ask one central question: “what do you stand for, and what good have you done for us, lately?” Companies will answer loud and clear with their actions that will hopefully start healing the divide that is suffocating our nation.
LaTricia Harper Woods, Mahogany Xan Communications
- Companies will continue to struggle to find their voice when it comes to calling out racial injustice. This will be detrimental as consumers will no longer continue to wait on the sidelines, hoping that the companies they interact with finally “get it.” With the diversity of the new administration, look for companies to try to emulate that level of inclusion within the ranks. What will be key is whether companies are playing a numbers game or are they doing the work to authentically achieve an inclusive and equitable organizational culture.
Tanya Churchmuch, MuchPR
- Organizations will want to do the right thing as it relates to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within their ranks in 2021, but many will find it challenging and could start to question if it’s really worth it. This important effort takes dedicated investment, manpower and a lot of hard leadership work, but doesn’t usually show the immediate financial benefit which drives the bottom line at most companies. Some will decide that token diversity hires will be enough, rather than going through the demands required to create true organizational change. But beware – companies that make this easy choice will lose out in the long run. Studies already show that diversity in management positions increases profitability, and the reality is that employees deserve to work in places where they see people like themselves being supported and represented. Companies that make true efforts for diversity, equity and inclusion will ultimately reap the benefits of happy and satisfied employees, which also brings overall business success.
What are your predictions? Share them with us!