Our Word for 2021: Rebuild

A year of growth, change and evolution drives the industry to come together
This year didn’t turn out the way we thought it would. No one saw the worst public health crisis in a century coming when predicting what would come in 2020. The pandemic drastically impacted our lives this past year, and without a sound forecast for when the world will be past this pandemic, our traditional predictions for the start of a New Year look different, too.  

@Properties It's Bigger Than Me Mural by Dwight White in Chicago

  • COVID-19 wasn’t the only curveball in 2020. A contentious election kept us all hanging on the edge of our seats, and its aftermath underscored sharp divisions that existed all along. A renewed fight for racial justice also humbled and inspired us in 2020. 
  • We gained a new appreciation for frontline workers this year as they braved public transportation to get to work and stood behind counters ringing up item after item, all so that the rest of us could stay safe and supplied. We also appreciated and admired the medical professionals who saved and sacrificed for us in 2020. Here in Chicago, we used mural art to support and raise money for our healthcare heroes.
  • On the business front, things didn’t exactly pan out as planned either. At Muros, we were excited about the possibilities for digital and traditional out-of-home advertising (OOH) in 2020, believing that enhancements in data integration and measurement would drive strong growth. In reality, we saw slows as people stayed inside.

While we managed to stay quite busy, changes in consumer behavior in response to the need to stay at home and limit social interactions prompted many brands to deprioritize OOH in 2020. At many companies, ad budgets took a hit and/or were redirected to digital channels. So, what happens next?

2021 Predictions for Out-of-Home Advertising
An IAB survey found that paid search and social won the 2020 ad budget wars, while traditional marketing channels like OOH and digital OOH lost share due to the pandemic. Our fearless prediction for 2021 is that digital and traditional OOH will make a huge comeback.

People gained a whole new appreciation for their neighborhoods, communities and the outdoors (including the ads in those spaces). Additionally, according to a recent Harris poll, people are in a different emotional space than they were in 2019 for a lot of reasons. 

In a political sense, people are tired of the “fake” and hungry for the authentic. Our 2021 prediction is that the brand leaders who understand this mental shift in consumer attitudes and create genuine messages that resonate will be the most effective marketers in the new year.  

Having endured a protracted, multipronged crisis and emotionally wrenching year, people are also primed for more empathetic communication. Creative strategies that can find ways to communicate authentically and empathetically will be the ones to break through.

Another 2021 prediction: people love devices and screens and that won’t change, but our behavior has also adapted where we’re looking up and looking around more than ever. Advertisers can take advantage of the change in that dynamic to connect with potential customers using OOH advertising — including eye-catching murals.  

We predict that after a year of separation and distance, 2021 will be a year when we focus on coming together, connecting with each other and creating opportunities to communicate shared values. We’re counting on a rebuilding year.

We’ve lost so much that is unrecoverable in 2020, but we’ve gained an incredible amount too, including a new appreciation for the people and places and values that mean the most to us. The businesses that tap into those sentiments and reach out to customers with that message will thrive far beyond 2021.

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