Bolder Thinking Blog

[Series] Marketing during COVID-19: Brands are making staying at home easier

April 10th, 2020 | Jeannette Ornelas

Each week on the Bolder Thinking Blog, our analysts share insight and analysis on how companies and brands are navigating COVID-19 with innovative thinking and multichannel campaign strategies. In this week’s post, we discuss how brands are making staying at home easier.

Companies are eyeing the future by focusing on the present. Namely, they’re promoting the ways they’re making staying at home easier.

If brands can only be one thing, be useful

Acknowledge the growing strain and be part of the solution

As the financial impact of COVID-19 sets in, it is increasingly important for companies to acknowledge the strain on people’s everyday lives. It’s not a matter of if, but how and when to engage. As we enter another month of stay-at-home orders in the US, increasing compliance is critical, and brands are embracing messaging that prioritizes relief efforts over profits.

Be an enabler 

Brands can help enforce stay-at-home orders and increase compliance. For example, Uber “is asking you not to move” and is pledging to help “move what matters.”

Uber is pledging 10M free rides and deliveries of food for frontline healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need around the world.

Be a resource

Brands need to give their customers a clear pathway to connect with needed resources. Facebook is making it easier for people to request or offer help in their communities.

Community Help is a place for people to request or offer help to neighbors, such as volunteering to deliver groceries or donating to a local food pantry or fundraiser.

Be supportive 

Being supportive means providing encouragement as well as resources. Chase is featuring small business customers supporting relief efforts. 

In spotlighting these companies, Chase is celebrating their efforts while creating a positive association with #ChaseSmallBiz.

Be a diversion

When people need an escape, it’s okay to deliver. HBO is unlocking 500 hours of free programming, no subscription required.

For the month of April, select HBO shows and documentaries, plus a selection of movies, are available to stream for free (without ads) on HBO Now and HBO Go services without a subscription.

HBO is promoting the move with the hashtag #StayHomeBoxOffice, which serves as a sampling strategy ahead of its scheduled launch of HBO Max in May.

How can brands be useful?

Now more than ever, companies need to bring solutions to everyday struggles.

People lived their days with various levels of struggle before COVID-19 and they will continue to do so long after. What brands do now will set the tone for how they are perceived tomorrow. As companies revise media mix and creative messaging, the question is not ‘should they be engaging?’, rather ‘how do they engage in a way that provides value?’ Moving forward, marketers need to ask themselves questions like:

  • Is this supporting my employees?
  • Is this supporting my community?
  • Is this supporting my customers?

Make sure to check out last week’s post on brands moving from reactive to proactive, and next week’s post on how brands are addressing consumer needs. 

Jeannette Ornelas

Jeannette Ornelas

Jeannette Ornelas is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst for Comperemedia. Jeannette is responsible for producing syndicated and custom reports and providing marketing insights across a range of industry sectors and channels.