How Covid-19 is affecting 2020 marketing trends: 14 takeaways for brands

The pandemic continues to have ripping effects on consumer behaviours. To help brands navigate their Covid-19 marketing strategies, we followed up with our subject-matter experts for an update on their 2020 trend predictions made (way back) in January. How have they held up?

We found a common and interesting theme. While the world is very different, the relevance of the predictions remains. In many cases, the effects of the pandemic have accelerated the trends and brands have been forced to quickly adapt to keep up with changing consumer habits and expectations.

Here is an overview of the multi-platform trends so you can focus on the ones most applicable to you and your brand. We follow with each expert’s explanation of how the pandemic is affecting that trend. The resulting takeaways can help guide your Covid-19 content and marketing strategy for the remainder of this extraordinary year, and beyond.

Themes

  • Authenticity
  • Sustainability
  • Brand Values

Platforms

  • Voice Search
  • Digital
  • Ecommerce
  • Omnichannel
  • Podcasts
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Digital Print
  • Package Design

 

Authenticity

January 2020 Prediction
We will see rising value in quality and authenticity, driven by the ever-growing attention being paid to fraud and privacy.
– Duncan Clark, VP Strategy, SJC Media and Publisher, Ottawa Magazine

The Pandemic Effect
With four months to observe and reflect on people’s communication patterns, the trend towards quality and authenticity is even more relevant now – because, maybe more than ever, quality content can mean the difference between life and death. But also, because the conversation about privacy has never been more complicated. Citizens in jurisdictions all over the world are being asked to share their whereabouts and medical histories as a means to protect the whole – and are naturally and fairly asking questions about the safety and necessity of that information, where it’s stored, and how it will be used.

Takeaway for Brands
The increasing prevalence of data collection is accelerating the public’s questions and interest in privacy. Consumers are relying on quality content from authentic sources they can trust.

 

January 2020 Prediction
For brands that market to women, I think we’re ushering in a new era of authenticity and telling it like it is. No more being coy about the confusions and challenges of women’s lives by talking around it, or showing air-brushed, sanitized versions of life. No more assuming that only white, cisgender, thin, straight women buy your products.
– Sasha Emmons, Director of Lifestyle Content, FLARE, Today’s Parent and Chatelaine

The Pandemic Effect
Many things have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and more recently, since anti-racism protests have spread around the globe. But I think the trend of authenticity is more relevant than ever. It still behooves brands to be transparent and true to the lived experiences of their customers.

Takeaway for Brands
It will be tricky to get it right. Brands with a track record of not walking the walk will be called out by customers and staff, and should expect being held to account on social media. For instance, Ben and Jerry’s bold public statement about dismantling white supremacy rings true because of their long-standing and vocal commitment to social justice.

 

Sustainability

January 2020 Prediction
We will see more and more brands developing holistic strategies around sustainability efforts. Marketing will be focused around communicating stronger values and supporting recycling, reusing, refilling and reselling.
– Sylvie Lamont, VP Creative, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Plastics are indispensable during a pandemic (masks, gloves, gowns and disposable bags). Covid-19 will bring more attention to plastic pollution.

Takeaway for Brands
As companies have lifted their decisions to ban plastic bags and other single-use plastics, it will become even more evident for consumers to make choices that lead to a cleaner and sustainable future. Shopping at bulk stores or shops with refill models, purchasing reusable masks and the need for reusable shopping bags has increased. Cooking tips to help reduce waste and DIY projects will resonate more with customers as we look to create a healthier future through the principle of reduce, reuse and recycle.

 

Relatable Brand Values

January 2020 Prediction
To cut through the massive volume of messages vying for our attention, above all it will be important to understand the motivators for each generation when making choices about the brands they surround themselves with. Defining our identity is an ongoing exercise for humans. Content, storytelling and brands are key to this exercise.
–  Nadine Silverthorne, Director, Branded Content, Audience & Events

The Pandemic Effect
I believe that in light of current circumstances, brands whose values align with individual or collective identities matter even more. With the news changing by the minute, most of us are looking for information that leads to a better understanding of the world and our place in it. Canadians are seeking information on how to plan our day to day, and our long-term future based on real issues. Many of us are hoping to see ourselves, our joys and our struggles within our pages and online.

Takeaway for Brands,
As content brands we now have a deeper obligation to tell difficult stories, to cast our research net wider, to question how we tell those narratives, but I know we are up to the task.

 

Voice search in a touchless society

January 2020 Prediction
There will be an increase in content creation for search in 2020.
– Jacqueline Loch, VP Client Innovation, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked an accelerated rise in the adoption and usage of voice-activated devices in homes, specifically in the cooking at home and recipe category as well as in the health category with Covid-related health queries.

Takeaway for Brands
Consider content that is based on semantic search queries. Creating custom branded voice scripts for Amazon Alexa and Google Home that drive to e-commerce will quickly become the norm. As voice-enabled devices shift from voice only to voice and digital screen, marketers will have the opportunity to layer in interactive video with rich content such as product demos, buying guides and tutorials that will all drive to e-commerce conversion.

 

Personalized digital experiences

January 2020 Prediction
With the growing number of Gen Z consumers (loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010), we must develop content that reflects their interests and media consumption habits. We need to make the experience of viewing content a personalized, rewarding and valuable one. We need to make sure they feel that if they chose to engage with your content, they feel they are winning out on that value exchange.
– Dave Dolejsi, AVP Content Strategy, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
The strategy behind relevant content delivered through digital channels has never been more important. Where we saw a movement towards e-comm adoption and digital experiences back in January – we now have seen an acceleration of the timetable. Where we saw a slow and, in some cases, reluctant, adoption of digital from groups other than Gen Z, we now see mass adoption out of necessity, a desire for interesting digital experiences to replace the physical ones we temporarily can’t enjoy.

Takeaway for Brands
Big ticket items we traditionally needed to see and touch in person (appliances, cars etc.), now need to somehow be communicated and experienced through digital devices. As such, new content, from Augmented Reality and 360 photography to interactive mobile and video programs, are now more critical to the path to purchase than we dreamed they would be so soon.

 

January 2020 Prediction 
The focus will be on creating meaningful highly-personalized content, a quality over quantity approach, targeting niche audiences on niche platforms will continue to evolve. – Amanda Eaton, Content Director, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Now more than ever, brands need to adapt to the current situation by finding ways to stay connected to their customer base. Navigating this “new normal” has pushed retailers into rethinking how they are doing business, and in some cases has forced them to find new and creative ways to narrow their focus, buff up the e-comm experience, and personalize communications and services.

Takeaway for Brands
During this crisis, not only is it important to have a digital plan in place but it also means humanizing that digital experience. The upside is that there is opportunity in this climate to test innovative approaches to customer care and digital platforms that may have been too high risk before.

 

Content that converts to e-commerce

January 2020 Prediction
The role of content is quickly expanding from its top-of-funnel role of inspiration and engagement to a deeper role of driving e-commerce conversion. The demand for mobile-first shoppable content will increase the amount of content required by marketers well beyond the traditional marketing ecosystem.
– Jacqueline Loch, VP Client Innovation, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Today’s retail landscape is rapidly changing with an increased digital transformation that has been accelerated by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The competitive set has expanded to include many new digital-first entrants and platforms and direct-to-consumer sales by brands is on the rise. Social platforms are now shoppable with in-app commerce, and the growth of content required for e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Shopify and retail DTC e-commerce sites will fuel the need for a high volume of content to guide the customer experience to sales conversion.

Takeaway for Brands
With the upcoming launch of 5G mobile networks and 5G-enabled mobile devices, the mobile wallet will take over as the e-commerce platform of choice. Brands will take on the role of content always-on publisher across channels and will require a content strategy that includes content built for e-commerce conversion.

 

Omnichannel marketing

January 2020 Prediction
Omnichannel marketing is a content vampire and requires a high volume of content produced to align with an agile content strategy. Retailers and brands will struggle to evolve in-house marketing teams and in-house e-commerce content on-boarding needs to meet the demand for the increased amount of content required. In addition, we will continue to see marketing budgets shift from a variety of marketing channels into content to meet the consumer expectation for real-time content, access to product information and frictionless purchase via e-commerce.
– Jacqueline Loch, VP Client Innovation, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Since the start of the Covid-19 era, consumers have accelerated the shift to mobile and digital showrooming with an increase in demand for omnichannel content that is required to drive e-commerce sales conversion.

Takeaway for Brands
Retailers need to produce a high volume of content that is required for their Covid-19 marketing strategies that spans across channels and meets consumer demands and expectations for always-on commerce.

 

Podcasts

January 2020 Prediction
Podcasts will grow in popularity.
– Douglas Kelly, President, Strategic Content Labs

The Pandemic Effect
Deep engagement never goes out of style. The social isolation around Covid-19 has only increased audience desire for meaningful experiences with content. The platform and much of the content associated with podcasts remains compelling.

Takeaway for Brands
The challenge remains how to monetize podcasts both as either a pure editorial product or a content with a marketing-related component.

 

Books

January 2020 Prediction
Publishing formats have entered a more mature phase with the recent double-digit growth in audiobooks creating a mixed market of print books, ebooks and This is learned behaviour that I think is accelerating the public’s interest in privacy – and makes my January take even more relevant now. Publishing strategy will use the format that makes the most sense to the book and reader.
– Alison McGill, Publisher, Quill & Quire

The Pandemic Effect
The mixed publishing formats have become even more relevant to books and to the economic survival of the publishing industry during the pandemic. With the necessity to stay at home, the opportunity for some of us to read more has often meant a return to books and the break from daily stress they can provide. The ability to access books online during the lockdown has made continued revenue possible for many publishers and writers. And some local bookstores have added delivery and curbside pick-up options. Local stores have become a way for people to get the items they want quickly and also a way for people to support their neighbourhood businesses.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, like so many international conferences, is undergoing an evolution planning a hybrid event of in-person and virtual attendance. This innovation may also have potential after the Covid-19 era as a way to facilitate large trade gatherings while also mitigating some of the environmental impact of business travel.

Takeaway for Brands
The trend with books can be applied to Covid-19 content marketing in general; flexibility is key and depending on the content and the audience, we will see a mix of publishing mediums across print, digital and audio.

 

Magazines

January 2020 Prediction
I’m heading into 2020 with a sense of optimism in circulation. We’re starting to see some of the print declines that publishers experienced over the past few years flatten out.
– Allan Yue, Director of Circulation, SJC Media

The Pandemic Effect
As people were forced to stay indoors over the past few months, newsstand sales took a hit and saw some fairly steep declines as a result of store closures and reduced foot traffic. However, subscriptions became even more relevant with people seeking out information about the virus and just looking for different ways to pass the time. As a result, we saw significant growth through our introductory offers across all magazine brands. While the sample size is small, the results have been extremely encouraging and we intend to put additional efforts into the low price/auto renew strategy going forward for new subscribers.

Takeaway for Brands
With some people spending more time indoors (and hence more time to read at their leisure), and all Canadians on the lookout for trusted sources of content, magazines offer an important vehicle for advertisers and brand storytellers to extend their reach.

 

Digital Print

January 2020 Prediction
Digital printing will grow in popularity.
– Andrew Borelli, VP, Operations & Manufacturing, SJC Print

The Pandemic Effect
The Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented drop in consumer and B2B spending. Our clients need to choose the best avenue possible to communicate their messaging. Valuable insights ranging from the importance of engaging and authentic content, personalization benefits from targeted DM campaigns, environmentally sound and sustainable product offerings and accurate market forecasts are relevant now more than ever.

Digital print affords the opportunity to “print less, more often.” Traditional offset print supports large static runs to capitalize on the economies of scale associated with higher volume runs. The problem there, is that you need to stick with the “one time” common messaging of that particular offset run. Digital print provides the client with multiple, short-run messaging opportunities and at an affordable cost due to the low prepress infrastructure. The benefit here is that clients can change the nature of the messaging to cater to the relevance of their changing business needs. This is particularly advantageous now, in our era of Covid-19.

Takeaway for Brands
With print as part of your overall strategy, digital print will give the flexibility to change messaging as frequently as needed, and at a lower price point.

 

Package Design

January 2020 Prediction
As we start off into a new decade with most of the population trying to deal with information overload, a major trend in package design will be simplicity.
– Bryan Raymond, Account Director, SJC Content

The Pandemic Effect
Nothing has forced the shift to online shopping more than our current situation due to Covid-19 and your package design needs to perform on the digital shelf like never before. Browsing the aisles in real life versus online presents its own challenges for how your package design engages consumers, delivers key messages and stimulates impulse purchases. When tackling your next brand design update or launching a new brand into the marketplace you must consider more than just the competitive landscape in-store and how you perform in shelf sets and focus groups.

Takeaway for Brands
Your online presence is key. How does your design perform in the digital space?  What supporting content can you create from your existing packaging assets beyond the standard front/side/back panel shots to help educate the consumer at a glance, show your points of differentiation, features and benefits?  Our fully integrated end-to-end package design solutions can help you get the right message, in the right way, to the right consumer.

A mini-issue of Today’s Parent reveals how kids are moving #forwardtogether

Months into the pandemic that upended every aspect of our lives, Today’s Parent partners with Rogers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto to put the spotlight on kids.

“Despite a few tears and frustrations, our children have shown an incredible amount of grace, patience and baking assistance in this uncertain time. So let’s hear what they have to say,” says Today’s Parent Editor-in-Chief Kim Shiffman in the introductory letter.

Today’s Parent asked 21 Canadian children to share how they are managing. The mini-issue also includes conversations with Sevaun Palvetzian who leads communications and CSR for Rogers and Leanne Nicolle, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto.

Today's Parent and Rogers Tomorrow's Future inside spread

Toronto Life and Maclean’s take home 10 National Magazine Awards

Celebrating excellence in Canadian journalism in a time when it matters more than ever, we are proud to announce our four Gold wins and six Silver win at the 2020 National Magazine Awards announced on June 12, 2020. For the first time, the winners were announced during a live virtual broadcast and through digital channels.

Toronto Life‘s Michael Lista captured a Gold in both Long-Form Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting for “A Doctor’s Deception.Toronto Life swept the Profiles category, winning Gold for Chris Nuttall-Smith’s “David Zilber Is the Future of Food” and Silver for Katrina Onstad’s “A Star Is Born.” Toronto Life also won a Gold in the Portrait Photography category for “Musai Ujiri,” a Silver in Art Direction for a Single Issue for “Where to Eat 2019” and a Silver for Best Editorial Package for “The Vertical City”.

SJC Media’s Maclean’s took home three Silver awards for Scott Gilmore’s “You are horrible people“ in the Columns category, Kyle Edwards’ “Not a Drop to Drink” in the Long-Form Feature Writing category and Shannon Gormley’s “Into the Dark” in the Long-form Feature Writing 6,000+ words category. Maclean’s also earned 11 Honourable Mentions.

Toronto Life and Maclean’s were the top two nominated magazines at this year’s awards, with 15 and 14, respectively.

Other SJC Media publications to be recognized are:

Chatelaine: Honourable Mentions in the Best Editorial Package category for “It’s Political” and “Save the World;” the Feature Writing category for “Are You There, Margaret? It’s Me, Perimenopause;” and the Profiles category for “What she said.”

Châtelaine: Honourable Mention in the Personal Journalism category for “Traverser un cancer à deux.

Today’s Parent: Honourable Mentions for “Secrets of Daycare Teachers” in the Service Journalism category, and “Dinner on the Cheap” for Art Direction of a Single Article.

FASHION: Honourable Mention for New York London Milan Paris in the Illustration category.

“While trusted journalism is always at the core of the Canadian media landscape, more than ever, Canadians have a need and appetite for informative, relevant and engaging content,” says Tony Gagliano, Chairman & CEO of SJC. “Our nominated work is a testament to the talent and dedication that is serving the diverse needs of readers all across our country. I am so proud of our teams.”

For a complete list of all of this year’s award winners, click here.

Pivot magazine wins big again at the National Magazine Awards: B2B

Pivot magazine, published by the CPA Canada in partnership with Strategic Content Labs (SCL) has won three Gold medals and six Silver medals, the highest tally of wins at the 2nd Annual National Magazine Award: B2B, released today.

SCL, a division of St. Joseph Communications (SJC), partnered with the Chartered Professional Accounts of Canada (CPA Canada) to relaunch, rename and re-envision the association’s members magazine in 2018.

“We are honoured with this recognition for a Gold for Best Issue and a Silver for Best Cover for the November/December 2019 issue,” said SCL President Douglas Kelly.

“We are also very proud of Pivot’s Editor Luc Rinaldi, who adds to his NMA awards with a Gold medal for writing the Best Series of Articles for ‘Foresight: Future Proof,’ ‘Opening Gambit,’ and ‘Back to the Future’ with writers Brenda Bouw and John Lorinc—along with Silver medals in Best Profile of a Company for ‘Transforming America’s Game’ and Best Feature Article: Professional for ‘Inspector Gadget.’ Pivot continues to be one of the best-written, most thought-provoking and best designed magazines in the country,” said Kelly.

In total, Pivot had a total of 18 nominations.

The SCL team on the project—including Rinaldi, Managing Director of Content Maryam Sanati, Deputy Editor Lara Zarum, Art Director Adam Cholewa and Senior Designer Dan Parsons—collaborates with the CPA Canada team, led by Publisher Heather Whyte, to publish Pivot six times a year.

“Huge thanks go out to the collective team of individuals at CPA Canada and St. Joseph Communications who have made Pivot into the insightful publication it is, and a must-read for the country’s professional accountants and business leaders,” said Whyte, who is CPA Canada’s Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Communications, and Public Affairs.

SCL provides strategic, editorial, printing, distribution and advertising sales services to CPA Canada. Pivot is distributed to CPA’s 217,000 members. A digital edition is also produced for members.

At last year’s NMA: B2B awards, Pivot won five Golds, including Best Magazine, and one Silver.

SCL also produces member magazines for CAA clubs in Ontario, the Atlantic provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and for the AMA in Alberta. CAA Manitoba magazine won a Gold for Best Art Direction: Single Article for ‘Lisbon Bite by Bite,’’ designed by Gary Davidson. CAA Magazines produced by SCL received a total of four nominations.

To see a complete list of 2020 National Magazine Awards: B2B winners, click here.

About CPA Canada

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is one of the largest national accounting organizations in the world, representing more than 217,000 members. Domestically, CPA Canada works cooperatively with the provincial and territorial CPA bodies who are charged with regulating the profession. Globally, it works together with the International Federation of Accountants and the Global Accounting Alliance to build a stronger accounting profession worldwide. CPA Canada is a respected voice in the business, government, education and non-profit sectors and champions sustainable economic growth and social development. The organization serves the profession, advocates for the public interest and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards. CPA Canada develops leading edge thought-leadership, research, guidance and educational programs to ensure its members are equipped to drive success and shape the future. cpacanada.ca

About Strategic Content Labs

Strategic Content Labs is a leading custom content company and a wholly owned division of St. Joseph Communications (SJC), Canada’s largest privately held media and communications company. SCL creates award-winning custom content, websites, apps and content management solutions for some of Canada’s leading brands and institutions. Visit contentlabs.ca.
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For more information:
Doug Kelly, President, SCL
doug.kelly@stjoseph.com
416-786-6344

Media & marketing trends that could impact 2020

Regardless of your industry, one thing is clear when it comes to content: there is more of it out there than ever, all vying for our attention. To be successful in 2020, brand marketers need to figure out how they can cut through this clutter to have their brand seen — and heard.

From overall approaches (simplifying your content and tailoring it to growing technologies) to specific channels (we predict podcasts, direct mail and e-commerce will be key areas to connect through quality content in 2020), our round-up of trends from our inter-disciplinary team of experts provides insight to consider for your marketing strategy this year.

A common thread? The need for authenticity. Inundated with messages across an increasing number of channels, consumers are looking for engaging content from sources that they deem are legitimate and brands that they trust.

Here is your source for the media and marketing trends that could have an impact this year (listed in alphabetic order by last name).

2020 Trend Duncan Clark

In 2020, I expect we’ll be seeing rising value in quality and authenticity, driven by the ever-growing attention being paid to fraud and privacy. Even if it’s a self-interested decision, Google announcing that Chrome is following the lead of Apple and Firefox in phasing out cookies is a big moment — and as consumers demand more in privacy and security, brands will have to rely more on providing content of legitimate value and quality to successfully engage.

 

2020 Trend Dave Dolejsi

By the end of 2020, Gen Z (loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010), will make up 40 per cent of consumers. So for a brand to be successful with the type of content it creates, targeting to this generation is a must. Gen Z has a lot of interesting traits to consider. First, they are extremely tech savvy. They have never lived in a time without wifi, mobile devices, or Google, meaning they expect to get whatever they need in the shortest amount of time possible, and they don’t mind if you ask them to engage with your content in a meaningful and interactive manner. In fact, they welcome it. Secondly, they spend up to three hours a day on social media, meaning integration of social media content is also most welcome, as is using your content to leverage those same platforms as a location for engagement. Finally, they appreciate brands that make authentic, personal connections with them. They want to believe brands can be a part of their lives. So what does that take? Well, a recent survey said 65 percent of Gen Z felt brands should take a stand on social issues, so integrate whatever stance you adopt into your content. We must develop content that reflects their interests and media consumption habits. We need to make the experience of viewing content a personalized, rewarding and valuable one. We need to make sure they feel that if they chose to engage with your content, they feel they are winning out on that value exchange.

 

2020 Trend Amanda Eaton

Content that really connects will be key in 2020. Consumers are looking to brands to do more than just sell products and services. The focus will be on creating meaningful highly-personalized content, a quality over quantity approach, targeting niche audiences on niche platforms will continue to evolve. We will see a big shift from brands pushing out content on multi-platforms to dialling back and honing in on the channels that really work.

 

For brands that market to women, I think we’re ushering in a new era of authenticity and telling it like it is. No more being coy about the confusions and challenges of women’s lives by talking around it, or showing air-brushed, sanitized versions of life. No more assuming that only white, cisgender, thin, straight women buy your products. Brands like Knix, Lunapads, Dove, Billie Razors, Aerie and others are taking their cues from women’s content brands and pushing marketing message boundaries by including more real talk and relatable imagery. When content and retail brands are both willing to speak honestly about women’s lives, it creates amazing opportunities for branded content that resonates and engages deeply.

 

2020 Trend John Gagliano

The value of direct mail as part of the marketing mix will continue to grow in 2020. As consumers are increasingly saturated with messages across channels, direct mail holds the unique benefit of being tangible. Neuroscience research shows that tactile communications are easier for our brains to process, recall and take action on. (Plus, with less mail than there used to be, consumers take more time with each piece, especially when it is unique and addressed to them.) The most successful campaigns will be those that integrate across channels, using direct mail to drive digital activity and influence online research and purchasing decisions.

 

2020 Trend Ken Hunt

Data privacy and brand safety will be at the top of mind for advertisers. Trusted media brands will benefit from this shift. Media brands of all sorts will need to prove their ability not only to generate clicks, but to win hearts and minds and drive sales. Fan-centric media brands that are able to connect with audiences through great experiences as well as through media will rise. Quality journalism and trust-worthiness will be the distinguishing features of brands capable of navigating change.

 

2020 Trend Alison Jones

Publishing formats have entered a more mature phase with the recent double-digit growth in audiobooks creating a mixed market of print books, ebooks and audio books. Publishing strategy will use the format that makes the most sense to the book and reader. Celebrity memoir? Readers want to hear it in the voice of the celebrity. Tell-all insider accounts of political turmoil? Ebooks mean readers can have it minutes after the book is released and read it in hours. Compelling images? A book you want to keep and have on your shelves for years? Print is king.

This year for the first time, Canada will be the Guest of Honour at the most important international book trade fair held in Frankfurt in October. The industry has been preparing for this opportunity over the last few years with many foreign-language rights deals already being signed. It’s a singular opportunity for Canada to show the strength of our books to the world and build our business globally.

 

2020 Trend Doug Kelly

Although they have been part of the modern-day media mix for some time, podcasts will continue to grow in popularity, both as an editorial exercise for traditional media companies and as a content marketing strategy for brands. Podcasts are one of the most successful mediums for much-sought-after engagement in today’s highly competitive media environment.

 

2020 Trend Sylvie Lamont

Sustainability and climate change are top issues influencing shoppers to look for ‘sustainable retail’ solutions. We will see more and more brands developing holistic strategies around sustainability efforts. Marketing will be focused around communicating stronger values and supporting recycling, reusing, refilling and reselling. Many brands are already moving in this direction: H&M recycles old clothing, Bulk Barn has a reusable container program that supports a zero-waste lifestyle and Ikea will allow customers to sell their gently used furniture to the store for a credit.

 

2020 Trend Jacqueline Loch

Content built for voice search
As voice-enabled devices continue to evolve from voice only to voice and screens, there will be an increase in content created specifically for voice search. According to ComScore, 50 per cent of all search in 2020 will be conducted via voice search, and according to PwC, 55 per cent of households are expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022. This will drive the requirement for content that is based on semantic search queries. Creating custom branded voice scripts for Amazon Alexa and Google Home that drive to e-commerce will quickly become the norm. As voice-enabled devices shift from voice only to voice and digital screen, marketers will have the opportunity to layer in interactive video with rich content such as product demos, buying guides and tutorials that will all drive to e-commerce conversion. Creating content designed for voice search via scripts and video will quickly become a top priority for brand marketers in 2020.

Content that converts
The role of content is quickly expanding from its top-of-funnel role of inspiration and engagement to a deeper role of driving e-commerce conversion. Social platforms are now shoppable with in-app commerce, and the growth of content required for e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Shopify and retail DTC e-commerce sites will fuel the need for a high volume of content to guide the customer experience to sales conversion. The demand for mobile-first shoppable content will increase the amount of content required by marketers well beyond the traditional marketing ecosystem. Brands will take on the role of content always-on publisher across channels. With the upcoming launch of 5G mobile networks and 5G-enabled mobile devices, the mobile wallet will take over as the e-commerce platform of choice. Brands will require a content strategy that includes content built for e-commerce conversion.

Content volume increases for omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing is a content vampire and requires a high volume of content produced to align with an agile content strategy. Retailers and brands will struggle to evolve in-house marketing teams and in-house e-commerce content on-boarding needs to meet the demand for the increased amount of content required. In addition, we will continue to see marketing budgets shift from a variety of marketing channels into content to meet the consumer expectation for real-time content, access to product information and frictionless purchase via e-commerce.

 

2020 Trend Pierre Ness

Fast turnaround times, flexibility, unique personalization and customization capabilities, and the added level of sustainability. (Only print what you need when you need it, and easily change it up each time.) These are all the reasons why digital printing will be driving force in the industry’s growth for 2020. It’s important to remember that while we are in a digital marketing age, the print industry has been seeing yearly growth since 2011. Technological advances in digital printing have opened up exciting new opportunities for marketers to efficiently and effectively send targeted, tangible communications as part of their multi-channel strategy. We’ll see many more applications of this in 2020 and beyond.

 

2020 Trend Bryan Raymond

As we start off into a new decade with most of the population trying to deal with information overload, a major trend in package design is simplicity. Gone are the drop shadows, full-colour logos and complicated design architectures of the past. Consumers are arriving to the shelf distracted, over-stimulated and unengaged. If your package design doesn’t make it extremely easy to find your brand, deliver your message and engage the consumer in as few steps and seconds as possible, you risk losing that sale (and the opportunity to drive and grow your business). This thinking goes beyond the shelf into the digital realm. Online representations of your brand packaging need to engage and deliver in the most simple way. Optimized web images can be done quickly and inexpensively if done right. Pulling out key information such as flavours and count sizes as opposed to just posting a regular pack image can drastically improved your engagement online.

 

2020 Trend Nadine Silverthorne

Whether you’re a publisher, an advertiser, a marketer, a content creator or a reader/consumer, we all have the same problem to solve: How to cut through the massive volume of messages vying for our attention in the market to get to the people and ideas that matter. Above all, it’s important to understand the motivators for each generation when making choices about the brands they surround themselves with. Defining our identity is an ongoing exercise for humans. Content, storytelling and brands are key to this exercise.

Boomer identity has been largely defined by “What do you have?” Establishing stability and security through goods purchased was important in a post-war society, and magazine brands helped to influence how one saw themselves, with advertising being a natural part of this ecosystem. This generation has grown up with our brands and trusts us to bring them the best take on any story.

Gen-Xers define themselves by “What are you into?” The cultural touchstones one engages with in terms of books, magazines, films, music, TV and movies, shape the Gen-X identity. Marketers and content brands have a huge role to play in continuing to help this consumer know about what’s coming (and they like to be the first to know) that will help them build on their personal brand.

Millennials are about “Where have you been?” And, “What do you have to share?” Travel, learning, anything experiential and a globally-oriented mindset are tenets of this generation. And if there’s an opportunity to take that all-important social media photo to share, all the better. Content brands and marketers are integral to this audience, but must find new ways to engage with them, using social media and events to captivate and build loyalty.

Gen-Z (or Zoomers) believe deeply in “What have you done?” or “What do you stand for?” Who better to help this generation understand this increasingly complex world than our journalistically trusted brands, in partnership with the increasingly socially conscious advertiser? Video, events, social media, print, digital… this is an active and informed cohort who wants to change the world and define their place in it. Marketers and publishers have an important role to play here, but we need to really put these customers first and begin to align with their values if we hope to win their loyalty.

I think the future is bright with integration opportunities from print to digital, video and podcasts to exciting sponsored events, all of which reach valuable consumers who choose to engage in brand-safe environments on the page or screen, or live in person.

 

 

 

SJC gives Rexall’s Be Better line a makeover

After successfully rebranding Rexall Pharma Plus’ Kit beauty line, SJC was tasked to create a refreshed brand identity for their Be Better product line. Our brand redesign for Rexall’s health and beauty products boosted their appeal and shelf presence. Along with a bold, contemporary palette, our creative included close-cut photography to showcase the scent and product variety.

Recognizing SJC’s commitment to innovative craftsmanship in packaging design, our Be Better makeovers won a Silver 2019 PAC Canadian Leadership Award in the Rebrand Non-Food category. Celebrating craftsmanship in package brand design and innovation, PAC Leadership Awards winners positively impact business performance, enhance brand value, prioritize sustainability, highlight innovation and celebrate collaboration.

What SJC has been up to this holiday season

Get your home holiday ready (inside and out), browse the best cookie recipes, zero in on the perfect gift ideas, host a party and enjoy quality time with family. It’s all in our 2019 round-up of SJC holiday content we’ve been busy creating on behalf of our clients and our magazine readers across Canada. From magalogs, gift guides and custom content to broadcast spots, video and packaging, take a scroll through some of our favourite holiday content and get inspired to enjoy the spirit of the season.
Warm holiday wishes from all of us at SJC!

M&M Food Market – Your Holiday Headquarters

Highlights: To promote M&M Food Market’s timelessly popular party packs, we created a series of short, festive videos, shot in SJC’s food studio. The 15 and 30-second videos were shared on its website as well as social to show how holiday hosting can be a breeze with M&M Food Market’s convenient apps and desserts.

 

 

HELLO! Canada – A Very Royal Christmas

Highlights: Just in time for the holidays, the stand-alone special-interest publication was created by the HELLO! Canada team for anyone who loves royals, Christmas or both! The 100-page perfect-bound keepsake, printed by SJC Print, showcased everything from Royal Family traditions and heartwarming photos to fun quizzes and festive recipes. Plus: Gift-guide pages brimmed with ideas; presents for royal fans; fashion and accessories inspired by stylish royals; and treasures for the little prince or princess in your life. Available at newsstands and online, A Very Royal Christmas was supported by advertising in HELLO! Canada, Maclean’s and on social media.

HELLO Canada Holiday 2019

 

The Brick “Holiyays” with HGTV’s Kortney Wilson

Highlights: In a series of 15 and 30-second broadcast spots, HGTV’s Kortney Wilson moves from the dining room to the living room to the kitchen, where she unwraps one key product for each space. A fun way of positioning the My Brick Home 2019 holiday catalogue (photographed, designed and printed by SJC), each product benefits Kortney’s holiday entertaining and inspires viewers to create their own stylish party central this season. Shorter spots were also created for digital and social platforms, including animated supers for when audio is off.

 

 

 

Toronto Life and Pusateri’s Fine Foods: Home for the Holidays

Highlights: For the December feature of a monthly co-branded series with Pusateri’s, Toronto Life visited the Pusateri family at home to share how the family prepares its annual Christmas celebration. Capturing the family in action, food-focused photography, and even some of the special family recipes, Toronto Life shared the custom content in print and online.

 

 

 

Canadian Tire: NOMA Heritage LED String Lights

Highlights: Last holiday season, our brand and package development team worked closely with Canadian Tire’s marketing team to design a new brand identity for its NOMA Advanced™ line of products. On the heels of this successful relaunch, we teamed up with Canadian Tire to help make the holidays even brighter with the design of NOMA’s new Heritage line of retro style string lights. The packaging features reflect the roots of the NOMA brand and the personality and design architecture align with the vintage-inspired lights that are sure to bring a radiant glow to homeowners’ holiday decor.

 

Toronto Life – Nordstrom Holiday Shopping Challenge

Highlights: This holiday season, Nordstrom had you covered with a range of services – on-site gift-wrapping, expert shoeshine and sneaker buffing, plus a concierge service that will take your coat and shopping bags and let you shop hands-free. Best of all, there’s complimentary advice from Nordstrom’s crew of stylists, who will handpick your holiday outfits and steer you to the perfect gifts for everyone on your list – at any price point. To prove it, Toronto Life asked a group of stylish Torontonians to see if Nordstrom’s style experts can find them one amazing party outfit and two presents in less than 45 minutes. Check out episode 1 and find out if Jessica Lam beat the clock.

 

 

Leon’s – Hello Yellow Holiday “comfort & joy”

Highlights: SJC designed and produced an inspirational holiday-themed print magalog with Leon’s. The English version was polybagged and distributed through the LCBO and a 24-page digital version – available in English or French – included extended content to support Leon’s online channels. We also animated various stories within the magalog content in a series of GIFs for Leon’s to use in its social promotions.

 

Chatelaine – Holiday Cookies

Highlights: Just in time for holiday baking, Chatelaine rounded up 100+ of the very best triple-tested cookie recipes from the Chatelaine kitchen, including six new cookie recipes from the December print issue inspired by classic winter cocktails. Browse through Chatelaine‘s most popular recipes over the years, or jump right to classics like gingerbread or shortbread.

Chatelaine holiday cookies

 

Today’s Parent in partnership with LEGO Duplo

Highlights: Today’s Parent partnered with LEGO Duplo for its highly anticipated Toy Guide issue, including creating a custom cover out of 6,192 LEGO bricks! In addition to featuring three of the toddler toy sets in the print guide, and leveraging its curated influencer network to run a very successful toy-testing Parents of Influence program on todaysparent.com, Editor-in-Chief Kim Shiffman touted the top toys on a special holiday-inspired episode of Cityline.

 

 

General Motors: Unwrap the Holidays

Highlights: SJC creates the content delivered on General Motors’ In-Dealership Digital Network (IDDN). Several years ago SJC Content was selected to provide the content strategy and create the video content for GM’s in-dealership digital network that is now in more than 5,400 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealerships across the United States. This year, we created the “Unwrap the Holidays” spot, which is engaging, holiday-themed content that brings Chevrolet’s holiday “Employee Discount for Everyone” campaign into every dealership across the company.

 

FLARE, Chatelaine and Today’s Parent in partnership with Tourism Toronto

Highlights: With the most wonderful time of the year upon us, Tourism Toronto partnered with our three lifestyle brands to create custom guides to seasonal events and holiday hot spots in Toronto. FLARE came up with 25 of the cutest and most creative winter date ideas, while Today’s Parent rounded up the most festive family-friendly activities in the city, and Chatelaine put together the definitive list of Toronto foodie hot spots.

 

Gift Guides

Highlights: Whoever you need to buy for this year, our Media brands have you covered, with well-curated gift guides from Chatelaine, Châtelaine, Flare, Today’s Parent, Toronto Life, and FASHION.

FASHION gift guide 2019

Steering engagement for CAA

Three divisions of the Canadian Automobile Association — CAA Saskatchewan, CAA Manitoba and the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) — engaged our Strategic Content Labs (SCL) to bolster readership and increase engagement with their vast membership base.

We re-imagined and redesigned three distinct magazines, created a digital platform for Alberta, and focused on delivering content across all business lines — automotive, travel, insurance and membership.

In less than a year, we nearly tripled the audiences of three regional member magazines and turned each into the largest content brand in its market.

In addition to strategic consultation, content creation and management, SJC oversees business development and sales, printing and distribution.

In celebration of the magazine’s 50th anniversary in 2018, SCL and CAA take you inside SJC Print to show you “How Canada’s Most-Circulated Magazine is Made.”