Trends that will hold True in 2021

30 Dec,2020


By Sanjeev Kotnala


Surprisingly, even after the unpredictability demonstrated by the year 2020, the year-end trends are still in demand. They now come with T&C applicable, subject to all-bets-off in case of a natural or man-made disaster.

I admire the forecasters and trend readers. It is tough to differentiate between real trends and fads, a slight tremor and a tectonic shift without apparent earthquakes. Somehow, the current trends expected to hold in the coming year and near future are never in focus. These are trends we are more familiarity and better placed to exploit. But, they have been discussed in the past, so people typically avoid talking about them. However, my dear friend and consultant, Mr Verma is not one of them. He believes one bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. A near certainty is better than something where odds are still to be calculated.

Here is a not too serious attempt on sharing trends and predictions most likely to hold true. There are no uncertainties like cricket or the nagging line of Hazelwood 5-3-8-5 at Adelaide playing havoc with projections.


Agency- Brand- Clients.

• The role of CMO will continue to be threatened, and the tenure CXOs will continue to get shorter. The organisations will continue to move towards a flatter framework.

• Traditional Agencies will continue to be acquired by the consultancy services, or they will continue to be re-vamped, re-merged, re-christened, re-shaped in an attempt to remain relevant.

• Boutique creative and digital agencies will see mergers, buyouts, and splits younger the agency more probability of it being sold.

• The consumer will continue to be irrational and illogical in their approach and deciding on brands and services. The rationalised world of brands, advertising, marketing and communication will keep putting forward rationale logical theories to explain this behaviour.

• Digital Information and peer-reviews will make it more challenging for the brands to provide reasons to buy and prefer them over the competition.

• Consultants and agencies, in alignment with the clients, will keep pushing the Brand Purpose agenda. The large audience in Bharat will continue not to give any weightage (F$#K) to brand purpose. Sales will refuse to show correlation with brand purpose outside the bigger towns.

• The brands will need to remain agile and responsive to the market’s chaos and dynamics. Non-predictability will be the only predictable part of the business.

• Few brands will be trolled for their innocuous silly advertising. Religion, region, caste, gender, equality, inclusiveness and sexual representation will be the trolled advertisements’ central theme.

• Brands will have to find ways for a local presence and micro-targeting local communities.

• Buyers may predominantly check offline to order online.

• Brands that will invest in research and find genuine insights to properly exploit will continue to make sense.

• Research organisation to flourish in these times will have to repackage their offering.



• The print will survive another few years. It will continue to remain the most trusted source. However, this trust will fail to do anything for the revenue and subscription.

• The digital media will see a further explosion. It will be questioned on effectiveness and ROI.

• TV screens will be more and more used to access OTT platforms.

• Cable TV and DTH will find pressure as people move to OTT platforms and expand their entertainment scope.

• OOH will see a rise in the business, and DOOH will expand. The radio will find it challenging to grow. OTT will see consolidation and Podcast will remain an emerging media.

• The validity, confidentiality and confidence of measurement data across media will be questioned.



• We will keep fighting against Data Tracking, Sharing And Misuse.

• The fight between Facebook and Apple will fizzle out.

• People will get divided into two subsets. One willing to pay the price and refuse their data tracked. Another, continue to crib about data tracking but not willing to pay for the services.

• Swara Bhaskar, Radhika Apte, Rakhi Sawant, Vivek Agnihotri, Kangana Ranaut will continue to be trolled.



• The online management degree will start finding more acceptance as 2021 will see almost every management pass out half their degree completed on screen.


Fake News.

• Attempts to curtail Fake News will continue to fail in the absence of stiff penalty and punishment. It will find more acceptance and seen as less nuisance as people will start to live with it. The audience will treat every news as fake until confirmed.

• Expect the launch of an APP promising to check and tag fake news. It will come as a paid service and fail to get the audience or VC interested.



• IPL will see yet another audience milestone. Dhoni will continue to lead Chennai. RCB will yet again shimmer to disappoint

• Indian TOP programme will get discussed again with the below-par performance of larger than required Indian contingent at Tokyo Olympics.



• More COVID-19 Vaccines will get approved. One set of people will want to get vaccinated as early as possible. Another group will oppose it and will refuse to get vaccinated. The third set will sit on the edge, watching every development and not take a decision.

• The Government will not agree to indemnify Vaccine manufacturers against adverse reactions. Few of the Vaccines will be pulled off from the market. Meanwhile, a new, unanticipated, unknown threat will be identified, and another race will begin.



• The Modi Govt will continue to be attacked by the fragmented opposition trying to portray a collective image of solidarity.

• A senior opposition leader will continue to put his foot in the mouth leading to some entertaining memes.

• The court will continue with their much-maligned outreach programme, including late night and holiday hearing cases involving celebrities and religion. However, justice for the aam Adami( not the party) will continue to be out of reach.


Money Markets.

• Share Markets will remain unpredictable. It will refuse to toe the line of market analysts.

• Cryptocurrencies will find more acceptance and a new high.

• A scam involving a senior bureaucrat or banking-financial celebrity status person will be un-earthed, and then nothing will happen about it.



• Many more organisations will give the WFH option to employees.

• Stay-vacations will see a rise.

• A set of employees will shift job to an organisation where they have to work form office.

• Hybrid working-from-home, working-from-office- working from anywhere anytime models will emerge.

• The number of office romance will decrease – but sexual exploitation will remain a problem.

• People 45plus will continue to face difficulty in job switch and remaining gainfully employed.



• Businesses will continue to be faced with are multiple challenges. They will worry about losing market share and changing consumer behaviour, increasing the cost of reaching their audience, innovations and category future trends.

• Business and organisation transformation will be the buzzword, and a few books will be published on the subject. Few transformation certificate programmes will be offered that many silly consultants will buy into. Later in the year, a personality development coach and trainer will rename the same offering and launch it as Power Transformation for personal achievement. Many suckers will fall for it.

• The number of free webinars, virtual meets will increase. You will be offered free discount vouchers in addition to the recording of the session for attending these sessions.


Other Trends And Predictions

• The competitive exams will keep seeing people with marginalised resources outperform.

• Divorce rates will go up. Paternity test rates will come down.

• The majority and minority conflict will continue across religion, region and caste.

• Love Jihad will remain the topic of discussion.

• Women education and empowerment will continue to remain subject of forums, conferences and discussions.

• Manels will still be the predominant Panel formation even while discussing subjects of women interest.

• Some Padma winner will come forward to return just the non-materialistic representation items of the award.

• Horse trading will continue in corridors of power.

• Corruption will see a bit of a decrease in the data released by Government.

• The unprovoked firing on the western border will be a regular feature.

• A set of candidates will start preferring jobs with no or less WFH element.

• Rapes and crime against women will continue to hog the limelight and time-to-time the headlines, however, nothing will change.

• Salman Khan will agree to host Bigg-Boss at a higher cost. Amitabh Bachchan will host KBC and Shetty KKK. Ekta Kapoor at least one episode of some serial will create controversy.


I am serious. We are yet to fully understand and exploit the known trends to the best of our capabilities. And my friend, Vermajee believes, a known devil is better than unknown. He believes unless you are ready to exploit new trends and gain a first-mover advantage, you better watch and learn from others mistakes. And really, what is the advantage of knowing new trends if you have failed to take advantages of the trends you know.

I hope the above is of interest, and you can leverage a few of them.

Happy New Year. May your today always be better than your yesterday. And this year at least this wish should come true.



Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.