Seven Key Marketing Trends That Restaurant Owners Need to Know

Aug 17, 2021 | Insight

Image: Kevin Grieve via Unsplash

Insights from Deloitte’s Annual Global Marketing Trends Report offering businesses both large and small data-driven insights into a “human-centered” approach to resonating with consumers.


Following a year of widespread uncertainty for the food and beverage industry as well as businesses across nearly every industry, planning ahead has become more complicated than ever before.

With that in mind, Deloitte has released a new report which makes us of their real-time insights that show the evolving needs of consumers and organizations.

The resulting Global Marketing Trends Report offers a look inside the needs of today’s consumers and gives business owners a tangible resource with insight that will help them when planning ahead for the year to come.

“It would be an understatement to say that 2020 has been a challenging year,” said Said Amelia Dunlop, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and chief experience officer, Deloitte Digital.

“While the future has always been uncertain, now more than ever connection and trust are paramount.”

According to Deloitte:
“Customers have made it clear they have high expectations for brands, and amid the current pandemic, those expectations are heightened. Both consumers and companies are confronted with a global disruption that touches on every aspect of their day-to-day lives.”

Deloitte goes on to add that “Companies that are succeeding are typically those acting with transparency and clear intention, rooted in trust and the human experience, while also reacting in real-time with the agility to meet the rapidly-evolving needs of their core consumer.”

They went on to emphasize that “This requires pivoting business models to align with evolving needs and fostering the human connection their consumers are craving.”

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Customers are looking to brands for help — and rewarding those that can meet their most pressing needs.
  • Customers look for brands with a purpose that aligns to their own values. They want brands to provide solutions they can trust, and experiences that include them as co-creators rather than recipients of someone else’s vision.
  • Most brands and organizations who claim to be purpose-led clearly state their motives and have ways of holding themselves accountable to the promises they make.
  • Customers are moving to digital channels with data suggesting this is a long-term shift that continues well after the pandemic subsides.

“While the findings in this year’s Global Marketing Trends report speak specifically to this unique moment in time, they also offer universal insights that CMOs and other business leaders will be able to apply for the long-term success of their brands,” said Jennifer Veenstra, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and managing director of Deloitte’s Global CMO program.

Insights from the Report

Purpose: Built to flourish

Organizations that know why they exist and who they’re built to serve are uniquely positioned to navigate unprecedented change. They are often able to respond more quickly in times of uncertainty and can turn tough decisions into simple choices because they know how to invest, how to engage their employees, and how to meet the needs of stakeholders and consumers. This clear sense of purpose is directly impacting businesses’ bottom lines.

“So much of what we do right now will impact the relationship between companies and their consumers for years to come and this report offers a wealth of useful insights to help guide organizations through this chapter and into the next.”

According to Deloitte’s “Global Marketing Trends Consumer Pulse Survey,” 1 in 5 customers will support a brand that has taken positive brand actions while 1 in 4 will walk away if they do not agree with brand decisions. Keeping this in mind, organizations should look to put their “why” at the center of their operations and work to amplify purpose both within and outside the enterprise.

Agility: Changing the playbook

The current environment has tested business models in unprecedented ways and made clear that agility is a crucial, cultural mindset for organizations.

According to Deloitte’s “Global Marketing Trends Consumer Pulse Survey” of 2,447 global consumers, 58% of respondents could name a brand that quickly pivoted its offerings to better react to the effects of COVID-19. Eighty-two percent said that these new, relevant offerings made them want to do more business with the brand.

To ready an organization for these real-time shifts, CMOs and other C-suite leaders can look to digital tools such as social CRM and social sensing capabilities to forecast where conversations are headed and leverage customer feedback to rapidly prototype new offers.

Human Experience: Know thyself

Striving for efficiency is a logical path forward for organizations scrambling to find any possible means to preserve their business. However, when the pandemic made technology the primary way for customers to interact with companies, it proved insufficient in building connections.

According to Deloitte’s HX In Uncertainty research, which surveyed 16,000 individuals earlier this year, more than 56% of respondents reported they specifically desire a more “human” experience from virtual environments. How can companies become a bit more human? Deloitte’s research suggests C-suite leaders stay proactive in aligning their values with shareholders and view their organizations as human entities that mirror — and support — the values of those they are built to serve.

Trust: The promises we keep – or don’t

Trust is built on a brand’s promise and the delivery of its product or service. Even in the most turbulent of times, when delivery meets expectations, brands build trust. When the gap between messaging and delivery widens, trust breaks down and reputation suffers. While trust takes years to build, it only takes seconds to destroy.

According to Deloitte’s HX In Uncertainty research, which surveyed 16,000 individuals earlier this year, more than 56% of respondents reported they specifically desire a more “human” experience from virtual environments.

In today’s digital age, data privacy is often at the core of building consumer trust and Deloitte found that consumers are 2.8 times more likely to continue purchasing from a brand after a data breach when brands are transparent in their intentions. Deloitte’s “Consumer Pulse Study” reported that even during the global pandemic, a third of respondents most concerned with data privacy are willing to share data with businesses helping with the pandemic given that they were trustworthy organizations operating both transparently and ethically.

Participation: A two-way street

As part of the “Global Marketing Trends C-suite Survey,” Deloitte surveyed 405 C-suite executives about their response to COVID-19 and over two-thirds of respondents said that they transformed the way they engage with consumers because of the pandemic. Many brands have had to rely more heavily on digital technologies and less on in-person interactions but rather than limiting participation, this shift has increased the opportunity for brands to digitally collaborate for extended customer loyalty.

Evidence of this success? An impressive 56% of respondents in Deloitte’s “Consumer Pulse Survey” reported that they participated digitally with a brand over the last year with acts including posting on social media, developing original content and even co-creating product offerings.

Fusion: The new ecosystem

Fusion is the art of bringing together new business partnerships, customer insights, and digital platforms to create ecosystems that more holistically address human needs. While partnerships were important ingredients to growth before the pandemic, an overwhelming majority of C-suite executives (78%) agreed that new relationships forged during COVID-19 will continue to be part of a long-term strategy after the pandemic subsides. And although executives are still operating with a defensive mindset – 42% of respondents are looking at digital investments as a way to improve efficiency while very few (17%) are looking to grow revenues. Through pioneering partnerships that address customer needs beyond what their organization does today, companies can establish a new, proactive mindset focused on growth, differentiation and disruption.

Talent: Marketing disrupted

As the pandemic shifted ways of working and impacted budgets and even headcount, marketing organizations have focused on ways to make their most valuable asset – their talent – a strategic force. The Deloitte “Global Marketing Trends C-suite Survey” found that a vast majority of CMOs (77%) have turned to AI to automate work during the pandemic, but only a small fraction of those (6%) have also tapped the gig economy – an option that could allow companies to scale their workforce up or down as needed. An interesting layer to the CMO response regarding the role of gig workers, the Deloitte “Consumer Pulse Survey” found that 14% of respondents had entered the gig economy for the first time during the pandemic.


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