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Pioneering Storytelling in 2021

Who would have thought we would be where we are this time last year? So how are people feeling? Well, it’s pretty damn obvious; people are worried about their health, their loved ones and the economy. But in addition to these worries, we have seen seismic shifts in people’s priorities, behaviours and overall lifestyles. These shifts initially came out of necessity, but our data shows that many of them will endure – reshaping the future of our industry.

Key themes for 2021

Our research indicates that three key outcomes have emerged from 2020 that will shape how we activate in 2021:

  1. Technology-centric behaviour and attitude changes as a survival mechanism
  2. Community-centric lifestyle shifts born from the isolation of lockdowns
  3. More human-centric wants and desires emerging as a result of online fatigue


Technology is really what saved us physically during the pandemic. The virtual became a substitute for real life experiences and technology eased the pain of being a prisoner in your own home. Our data shows that people embraced virtual events to educate and entertain themselves. Whilst they purchased new tech to streamline their new home-office environments.


2020 saw all generations embrace the powerful combination of Technology and Community in order to connect, combat loneliness, and ultimately support their mental health. This resulted in a most unexpected shift. The crisis actually propelled large groups of people to turn to the very thing that they were consciously avoiding, detoxing from, or simply not understanding – social media.


However by the end of 2020 we found ourselves teetering on the edge of tech-fatigue, starved of human experiences. As a result we are now seeing people return to more analogue past-times and human-based interactions. Experts are predicting the next pandemic will be mental health, and our data affirms that people are prioritising their wellbeing over anything else as we head into 2021.

What does this all mean?

When we took a step back and looked at these trends collectively, we could see that in fact they all complement and interact with each other. This left us wondering, how might we derive a more balanced or symbiotic relationship between humans and technology?

Ultimately virtual experiences and online interactions need to evolve if they are to satisfy consumer needs in a post-pandemic world. By exploring and harnessing new technologies and unearthing more authentic stories, we believe brands can inject more humanity and real life into their virtual worlds for consumers, customers and fans.


Data: GWI 2020