What did We Learn from Some of Pop Culture’s Biggest Moments in 2021?

Wow, where did 2021 go! It seems like only yesterday we were navigating how to celebrate the holidays in the middle of a pandemic. As we are reflecting on lessons learned, life lived, laughs earned, we were struck by a few key pop-culture moments that brands can learn from to drive business and loyalty, as well as set a course for continued growth. 

Remix and Remaster to Deepen Loyalty 

Is there anyone on the planet that has not heard at least one new version of an old Taylor Swift song in the past few months. Like her or loather her, she is a genius at reinventing her songs in new and relevant ways to connect with a new generation of listeners and reinvigorate her base. I am sure you watched the 10-minute version of All To Well – and felt a little bad for Jake G. 

Brands need to follow her lead in being brave enough to look at core brand attributes (logo, mission, value proposition) and reinvent to engage with today’s audiences. Brands also can go back to the proverbial well, dust off some memorable campaigns or products for today’s audiences. Just remember, nostalgia doesn’t mean old. 

The new Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce that Popeyes introduced to go with its fried-chicken sandwich and nuggets. (Aaron Hutcherson/The Washington Post)

Expect Unexpected Partnerships to Gain New Customers

If you missed it, Megan Thee Stallion had a partnership with Popeye’s and Little Nas X is Taco Bell’s Chief Impact Officer. Megan’s unexpected partnership was more than a limited menu item; it included “Hottie Sauce,” branded merchandise, and a six-figure donation from the QSR chain to a local Houston Charity that the singer is passionate about. Are you asking yourself why artists at the apex of their success would partner with a QSR chain. It simple – every brand and every artist, athlete, musician are new reciprocal awareness channels when executed correctly. Both brand and individual celebrity raises chatter, drives awareness, and increases sales with unconventional partnerships.  

Brands can grow their sales and reputation by exploring new partnerships that align with a key prospect group. BUT, these new celebrity partnerships have to be executed in fresh, organic ways. Consumers are craving authenticity from brand partnerships rather than a celebrity showing up in a commercial or a product being featured in a movie or video. 

Experiences Matter to New and Loyal Customers 

We really hope no one got fired for this. But let’s be honest, the 2021 Channel Advent Calendar, albeit well intentioned, was a fail on a global scale. Stickers? Really Channel. (PS – We’re still trying to find the mythical Prada Advent Calendar – any leads would be appreciated. 😃)

We won’t belabor the reasons why some promotional activities backfire, but we will point out that experiences with a brand still matter. And for the folks in the back row that did not hear, we will say it one more time –ExperiencesStillMatter. And we could argue that brand experiences matter more now that in the recent past. 

Brands must think through, update, and challenge themselves on the experiences they are providing. Big and small. Experiences from unboxing to behind-the-scenes to once-in-a-lifetime getaways are currency in todays digital world. 

The Story Still Matters to Customers (and media) and So Does the Channel 

Free BritneySimone BilesRichard Branson. We are sure each one of these names brings a story flooding back into your mind. We all can remember where we were when we first heard at least one update on each. And we could have named many other stories that would illicit the same response. Why? Because each of these individuals shared their honest, true, transparent and organic story. On their terms. When they wanted.  And by doing so, each embraced by the public. 

What can brands learn? Tell their stories honestly and allow consumers to become part of the story. Brands have one of the biggest stages – their social media accounts – to tell their layered brand story how and when they choose. One sizes does not fit all in today’s multi-channel, multi-audience world.

What were your favorite moments in film, art, music, and sports this year? Share them with us on Facebook – we’d like to read your memories.

Want to make something commercial and creative at the same time that causes your business brand to stand-out from the masses? Yalo can help you out – it’s what we’re here for 365 days a year. Please reach-out to us below!