There have been a lot of re-occurring themes in the world as of late, and the power of community is one that keeps coming to the fore.
Perhaps the most prominent example over the last 12 months has been the Black Lives Matters movement, a global-scale community pushing for change, which just a few weeks ago was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Another community surprised us all recently: the financial powers that be felt the wrath of the Reddit community, when a group of hedge-fund haters took on Wall Street, unexpectedly spiking stocks like GameStop by over 1,700%.
From Wall Street to Sesame Street, American food delivery service DoorDash aired their very first Super Bowl ad to promote a new community initiative.
The Neighborhood campaign – which marks Big Bird’s rap debut – promotes a new initiative to connect customers with smaller, local merchants in the neighbourhood, rather than the usual, nationwide brands available on apps like Uber Eats.
With distant socialising still very much a part of our everyday lives, the digital world has been evolving to keep communities close together.
Xbox’s heartwarming new Beyond Generations campaign follows elderly relatives and their grandchildren learning to play games together and connecting in completely new ways.
#DeletedFacebook has been trending across Twitter again due to backlash in Australia; Vogue Business reports that some brands are already starting to build their communities on less-established social platforms, such as Triller, Twitch, Discord and OnlyFans (yes, that OnlyFans).
And another new social platform grabbed headlines this week when Elon Musk reached out to the Kremlin for a chat with Vladimir Putin on invitation-only app Clubhouse; the Russian President is said to be considering the approach.
Not all brands are betting on digital alone to connect and serve communities though, with many investing in a new hyperlocal trend, with working from home causing many to shop locally, too.
Automotive brand Lynk & Co’s latest sustainable, community-focused brand hub is now open in Gothenburg, celebrating all things Swedish (sauna included, of course); DIY-favourites IKEA and B&Q have also tested smaller, localised stores recently.
And some communities are even funding new store openings themselves: Indie record shop Next Door Records, for example, is set to thrive in post-lockdown London, having been born out of a crowdfunding campaign last August.
A heightened sense of community is one of a few key shifts in human behaviour amplified by 2020, which looks set to mould the way brands connect with consumers at retail way into next year.
In our latest report, Five Consumers Shifts That Will Last Beyond 2021, we explore the other trends anticipated to have a lasting effect on brands and the way they serve their audiences.