Marketing Through Volatility: Key takeaways from the most-awarded work of 2020

By May 9, 2021ISDose




Many advertising and marketing industry awards were paused in 2020 but not all; a new WARC report, Marketing Through Volatility,  uncovers insights behind some of the world’s most-awarded campaigns of last year  – for creativity, media and effectiveness – and examines the strategies of brands that were notable in their response to the disruption of the past 12 months.

Marketing Through Volatility has been compiled using the WARC Rankings proprietary methodology.

Eight key takeaways

  1. Urgency can create a space for innovation

The urgency to respond to the events of 2020 created a space for innovation for some brands, which pivoted their creative ideas while remaining highly recognisable.

  1. Successful brands retain their authenticity through crisis

The most awarded brands have a strong sense of their brand, and they stay true to this in their messaging.

  1. Bravery and risk-taking is often rewarded

The most awarded brands are commonly brave brands: brands that take risks and challenge category norms.

  1. A strong brand purpose is sustained and consistent

2020 put a lens on the authenticity of brands and their overarching purpose. Many marketers are convinced that their consumers now prefer brands with a sustained, consistent purpose, applied across media.

  1. There is opportunity in continued brand investment

Whilst there’s been a shift towards performance marketing over the past 12 months, evidence abounds that brands that continue to invest in brand-building through recessions see success.

  1. Customer-centricity enables a rapid response to change

A focus on the customer has made it easier for brands to detect and respond to changes in consumer behaviour during and post-pandemic.

  1. 2020 highlights the need for scenario planning and agility

The most awarded work of 2020 highlighted the benefits of scenario planning and being agile enough to pivot in the face of challenge.

  1. Successful media strategies lie on a solid data bedrock

The need for solid first-party data strategies was accelerated by the pandemic, when the ability to target customers using connected and digital channels was paramount.

The full 2021 WARC Rankings  – Creative 100, Media 100, Effective 100  – will be released in November to allow the inclusion of a full set of show results, including those that were postponed or cancelled in 2020.


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