2020 was a funny old year for everyone in one way or another. The impact of the pandemic has been felt far and wide with the digital marketing world no exception. As the importance of physical presence waned, trends shifted and both people and businesses simply had to adapt.
Rewind back to 2019 and we were lucky enough to buy our brand new Jewellery Quarter offices.
After searching high and low for our new home, we settled on the newly renovated Squirrel Works building. A beautiful old silver factory in the heart of Birmingham that has been repurposed in true JQ style.
The design and final renovation even went on to win 2 RIBA architecture awards.
Moving the team to this newer office had a whole host of benefits, not least by allowing for better collaboration and discussion thanks to its more open plan layout. All ready to press ahead, we threw ourselves into our new space ready to better serve clients in 2020.
Then, the world went to pot.
After just a few short months in our newly purchased home, we were forced to relocate yet again. But this time it was not to a lovely new office, instead we moved to kitchen tables and spare rooms – as the world moved to remote working, so did we. The ‘new normal’ meant collaboration and teamwork was now to be done over Google Meets or Slack, rather than around our brand new boardroom table.
As strange and unfortunate as this was, the expected challenges of remote working were few and far between.
Thanks to many of the structures and processes we already had in place, only a few tweaks were required to take working remotely into account. Once these had been ironed out, WFH limitations evaporated.
In the months that followed, the world continued to adjust to its new reality. Industry norms and expectations changed in almost every sector, with lasting effects still very much in play as we head towards the Autumn of 2021.
Digital marketing was no exception and threw up some of its own interesting trends that are sure to shape the industry moving forward.
Social media use, for example, is up considerably post-pandemic with newcomers TikTok reporting a 38% increase in monthly active users between 2019 and 2021. It’s not just TikTok either, the established players Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have also reported accelerated growth over the same period. This increased level of social media use has highlighted the need for a strong brand presence online through both social platforms and web domains.
Brands have also had to rethink their strategy and KPIs when it comes to paid advertising. Forbes recently claimed that short term performance metrics will be replaced with longer-term brand building and organic SEO strategies, mainly thanks to reduced budgets post-pandemic. This sentiment was echoed by Search Engine Journal in a recent piece that outlines how SEO is set to become the top marketing priority for many companies moving forward.
Looking to the Future
While the world slowly gets back to normal, so do we. A move to a hybrid working model over the last couple of months has been a welcome change from the makeshift home offices we’d become so used to.
We’re now back at our Birmingham home 2 days a week, allowing our recently expanded team to benefit from the face to face interaction needed for collaboration to thrive. Of course, it’s not just our team who have benefited, opening up our (covid compliant) doors once again to clients is yet another example of normality returning.
There’s a buzz and excitement that has returned to the local area, too. Shops, cafes and restaurants are lively once again on a workday in the JQ with plenty of new additions despite the recent turmoil.
One project that we’re particularly excited about is the development of Glenn Howell’s St Paul’s Quarter. Situated on the old AE Harris factory site, this landmark project broke ground earlier this year and, despite some exciting archaeological delays, is set to become one of the city’s most exciting urban regeneration projects.
The plans have been specifically designed to better connect the centre of Birmingham with the JQ and because of where we are situated, the Ricemedia offices are set to be right at its focal point.
The future is looking particularly exciting at the moment.