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BW Businessworld

The Human Connection

Building socially and human-conscious enterprises will be the focus of business in 2020.

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The year 2019 brought many challenges to the global economic landscape − Brexit, the trade war between the United States and China, unrest in Hong Kong, the declining health of the automotive industry, among them. In India, slowing growth across major sectors added to the gloom.

According to Chetan Ahya, Chief Economist at Morgan Stanley, the synchronous easing of trade tensions and monetary policy will be a key theme in 2020. The current sentiment is positive, he says in Morgan Stanley’s 2020 Global Macro Outlook. A recovery has been fore-cast in the global economy from 2.9 per cent in 4Q19 to 3.4 per cent in 4Q20 (at an average GDP growth of 3.2 per cent in 2020). The global economy is expected to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2021, driven primarily by emerging markets.

In the realm of marketing, the last couple of years have witnessed increased use of technology, which have led to increased buyer profiling. The focus for 2020 however, is keeping brands real and authentic in times of fast changing technological advancements. The marketer will focus strongly on keeping the ‘human’ front and centre.

“As marketing gets more automated and data driven, the need for brands to be more humane and purpose driven will become even more stark. Clients, consumers and employees are increasingly looking for brands to embody values of an organisation that go beyond profit,” says Jehil Thakkar, Partner, Deloitte India.The Deloitte 2020 Global Marketing Trends Report points to seven key trends on which every business will focus over the next few months. More that 70 per cent millennials, it says, expect their employers to focus on societal and mission-experience, it helps brands pick partners and collaborators to better their offering. The fourth trend is ‘Trust’, without which no brand can under-take purpose-driven work or retain consumers. ‘Participation’, is the fifth trend, encouraging consumer/stakeholder participation in the brand’s activities.

‘Talent’ will an important area of focus, as will ‘Agility’ for it helps brands keep pace with technological advancements and changes in a fast-paced competitive environment. In sum, the emphasis of marketing will be on socially and environmentally responsible businesses.