Jun 15, 2020
As the Covid-19 storm continues, one thing is for sure: the world will never be quite the same again.
Thrust into a state of isolation, we have all had to adapt to a more solitary existence, relying increasingly on the hyper-connective capabilities of the digital world, as well as our local communities to navigate these most unusual of times.
Since the start of the lockdown, consumer circumstances and buying habits have changed and brands have been forced to change their operational approach as well as their messaging in response. Many experts have advised this as a time for companies to reassess their brand strategy – one of the many points that came out of our recent podcast episode which included detailed insights on how brands are dealing with the pandemic.
Despite being a highly creative industry, marketing isn’t always as innovative or risk-averse as you might believe. Many brands opt to remain conservative or ‘play it safe’ when it comes to their campaigns for fear of tarnishing their reputation—but now is not the time to sit back and hope for the best. For many, now is the time to pivot, to reinvent, to inspire, and to offer a viable solution to a very pressing problem.
Right now, brands and marketers need to focus on offering short-term communication and innovation to secure long-term success in this unpredictable period. And, some are doing an amazing job.
To inspire your Covid-19 marketing efforts, here are five noteworthy campaigns that you need to know about.
As the pandemic started taking hold in Europe and North America in early March and the lockdown loomed, Guinness stepped up to the mark with its 'Saint Patrick's Day Message' campaign.
The uplifting, inspirational tone of this video, coupled with its theme of communal care and unity strikes an emotional chord while demonstrating value and humanizing the brand in uncertain times.
Original, relevant, and on-brand, Guinness yielded excellent results from this Covid-19 marketing campaign, with high favorability scores in the US (just outside the top 10% of most-revered campaigns). Moreover, 21% of the people that shared the video on social media did so because it defined the spirit and the mood of the times.
And towards the end of March, this Guinness-themed ad posted (featured at the top of the page) started circulating around social media: created by a freelancer who entered a One-Minute Briefs initiative in the UK, it actually touches on all the longstanding Guinness tropes of creativity and core-brand focus.
Lesson: Right now, building a sense of community is essential. Focus on messaging that brings people together, offer clear value, let your consumers know that you’re there for them, and you’re likely to win on tomorrow’s commercial battlefield.
Aberdeen's favourite purveyor of craft beer, BrewDog, took a proactive stance to the pandemic by using its resources to make its very own Punk Sanitiser.
Realising that hand sanitizer was becoming in short supply, the team at BrewDog set about making large batches and sending them to frontline services in the UK for free.
Speaking on its charitable initiative, BrewDog's founder James Wyatt, said:
"We are determined to do everything we can to try and help as many people as possible to stay safe."
To supplement the initiative, BrewDog offers regular updates through its blog while remaining active on Twitter and Instagram—activities that have kept the brand connected to its audience while creating a real brand buzz throughout the pandemic.
This brilliant initiative has also been adopted by other breweries and distilleries around the world, many of which have been committed to serving their local communities.
Lesson: By offering direct value as well as a practical solution to a genuine problem and using your promotional channels to guide consumers to your messaging, you will build trust, authority, and loyalty in these most uncertain times.
In today’s world, people expect brands to take action—and if you can do something to help, you should. You should shout about it too: tastefully, of course.
To pass the time in a productive, proactive way, the staff at Canada's Banff Springs Hotel recently launched a campaign called 'The Art of Waiting'.
From dancing bellhops to singing chefs, this series of mini videos is simple yet entertaining and showcases the brand's fun-loving side while creating a sense of nostalgia that is likely to encourage droves of guest bookings once the doors reopen.
A creative use of visual content that has received a positive response on YouTube.
Lesson: Video content is a powerful marketing medium, and by keeping your messaging simple while sticking to your brand values, you can maintain a positive presence while driving healthy levels of social engagement during the pandemic.
To help its consumers maintain their fitness and personal morale during the crisis, sporting colossus Nike made its club training subscription free for a limited period of time—offering fans of the brand exclusive access to training, health, and fitness content.
In addition to its value-driven offering, in-app content, and inspirational brand messaging, Nike also extended its message of staying healthy during the virus to its podcast. As the pandemic endures, Nike continues to maintain a strong sense of brand loyalty and its collective efforts have also helped mitigate its dwindling sales in China.
Lesson: By taking the time to craft brand messaging that is direct and meaningful across a cohesive mix of channels, you will boost your brand authority both now and as the pandemic starts to wane and societies adapt.
To encourage families to stay at home and help to flatten the curve during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, Lego created an animated video urging kids to be superheroes while offering suggestions on what to do to stay safe.
By speaking directly to children and empowering them with a positive role in the crisis, Lego forged a real connection with its target demographic while offering genuine value with educational tips and resources on playing well at home. These STEM and STEAM-based initiatives are geared towards inspiring families across the globe to get creative during the pandemic.
The campaign’s inclusive messaging and content-driven direction offered audiences the perfect storm of engagement and educational value, which has so far resulted in record sales during the pandemic.
Lesson: By considering the value your product or service can offer consumers in this brave new world and creating content to help people engage with your brand on a deeper, more meaningful level, you will be able to remain afloat in the short-term and perhaps even thrive in the long-term.
“There's a way to do it better – find it.” Thomas A. Edison
We are still in unchartered waters and for businesses across industries, this is probably the most challenging time you’ve ever faced—and will face.
These five inspiring Covid-19 marketing campaigns prove that by staying true to your values, using your existing resources to offer practical solutions to pressing pain points, and maintaining a positive brand presence, you can prevail. We wish you the best of luck.