The Great Brand Identity Crisis: Coming in 2022

2021 was the year of asserting new purpose and looking for ways to meet the moment—and it all comes to a head in the new year

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If 2020 was a time when it became untenable for any marketer to avoid the deeply polarizing issues that upended life around the globe, from racial justice to sustainability to politics, 2021 forced a grand level of clarification about what a brand ultimately means.

Marketers felt the force of consumers’ explicit demands to take declarative stands on the issues they care about. Consumers’ identities were more tightly entwined with deep-seated political views. Brand affinity could no longer be driven by pure product preference.

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This story first appeared in the Jan. 3, 2022, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.