January 28, 2021
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Top-Trending Business Themes

Social Listening Reveals a Focus on Pandemics, Robots and Cybersecurity… Oh My

My colleagues recently asked me to look at what business-related themes have been trending on social media, so we can get a sense of what might be in store for the corporate world in 2021. As the social-listening go-to at Seed, I was happy to oblige.

Below, is a word cloud I put together showing what’s been on the minds—and social media accounts—of the business world over the course of the past month:

So, what does this tell us about 2021?  Three key implications rise to the top…

COVID-19 is Still Top of Mind

With vaccines starting to roll out, but herd immunity still well beyond our grasp, the business world continues to grapple with the effects of the virus. What does it mean for the economy? When can employees safely come back to work? And perhaps the biggest question of all: what pandemic-related trends and behaviors will stick around for the future?


The Rise of the Robots

While AI, machine learning, and innovations like digital currencies have been swirling around the fringes of the business world for years now, many companies are finally beginning to embrace their full potential. Previously viewed as nifty tools or hypothetical possibilities, these technologies are quickly approaching a tipping point. A more tech-savvy workforce, a pandemic-driven need to automate certain tasks for human safety, and the rapid overall improvement of these tools have all combined to open people’s eyes to their value.


Cybersecurity is a Growing Concern

A sophisticated cyber-attack in December revealed that foreign actors, which have typically targeted public and political entities, are now focusing their efforts on private businesses as well. This serious hack points to a new host of threats (in addition to the usual ones) and significant vulnerabilities in corporate cyber security. While companies and IT departments have done well to train employees and secure their data, our connectedness and broader-networked society will continue to present challenges that all entities will need to address well into in the future.


So, What’s A Brand To Do?

As the world embarks on a new year, we have a fresh slate of opportunity in front of us. Opportunity to take lessons learned during the pandemic. To embrace changes that are working. To address the challenges that need fixing. To leverage innovations that help not only create newer and better products, but also enable safer and more sustainable supply chains as well as increased equity across the workforce.

So where do you begin? I recommend starting where we always do: with human empathy.

2020 was a tough year for human connection. And as our world continues to change, let your audience be your guide. It’s important to understand how your customers/consumers are feeling about the current environment, and to identify how their needs are shifting.

In addition to taking a human-centered approach, lean on technology and innovation to make solving your biggest challenges a little easier. We’re at a point where real, systemic innovations like cryptocurrency, digital workplaces and automation are moving from fringe to mainstream; they’re no longer just parts of our jobs, they’re primary components. Invest in people and strategic partners that will help you understand which of these things can make a meaningful impact on your business and how best to leverage them.

Finally, as businesses become increasingly reliant on digital resources, our country and our intellectual property will face ever-greater threats and vulnerabilities. And, to stay protected, it will take true collaboration between corporations and public institutions. Only by working together, will we ensure our security—and our prosperity—in the post-COVID world.


Catherine Salzman is Director Social Science and Analytics at Seed Strategy where she uses her 10+ years of experience across strategic, media and research disciplines to illuminate vibrant stories that compel action and inspire clarity.

Edited by Adam Siegel. In addition to being the Editor of The Accelerator, Adam is VP, Creative at Seed Strategy where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research and innovation to craft breakthrough creative and winning concept copy.

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