[Series] Marketing during COVID-19: Companies move from reactive to proactive
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 changing their strategy from reactive to proactive.
This week, companies and brands across sectors encouraged consumers to practice social distancing and find ways to enjoy staying at home.
By reiterating the advice consumers are already getting from the CDC, WHO, and state governments, companies positioned themselves on the side of social-distancing. The most successful campaigns tied the “stay home” message to companies’ products and services, showing how they would ease a troubling and difficult measure.
Streaming music providers tried to make staying at home a little more entertaining. But they struggled to get the word out, generating little (or no) engagement on social media.
Apple Music could broaden the reach by promoting this and other social-distancing-themed playlists on social media and beyond.
Leaving the home is not completely avoidable all the time. So companies tried to make the outside world as safe as possible, not only for their customers but also for their employees. In communicating the measures they’re taking, they showed empathy and care for their front-line workers—a message that’s good for workplace morale and health and, of course, for brand image.
Banks gave consumers a reason to go digital: to keep their employees safe. For Wells Fargo customers, going digital means minimizing contact with in-branch employees. For online-only Ally, that means understanding longer-than-usual phone wait times.
Companies are rallying customers in support of workers impacted by the health crisis and celebrating acts of generosity.
Budweiser is uniting #OneTeam for the heroes on the front lines. As part of a $5M donation to the American Red Cross, Anheuser-Busch, alongside its sports partners, will identify available arenas and stadiums to be used for temporary blood drive centers. Anheuser-Busch-bottled hand sanitizer will also be utilized at Red Cross blood donation centers and to support emergency shelters for future relief efforts.
As the end to the COVID-19 crisis continues to extend into the distance, expect to see companies balancing crucial and serious safety measures with more lighthearted fare to keep consumers engaged as they get used to their homebound lifestyles.
Zoom and Microsoft exemplify the way we work (and live) now.
Most of our interactions have shifted online, and especially to video chat. Now, companies can embrace the fact that consumers are more online than ever before.
What’s next: Stay engaged
Looking ahead, companies will need to continue to hone their channel strategies and messaging. Companies can keep consumers engaged by embracing changes to daily life.
Consumers are reminded of COVID-19 everywhere, and it can get noisy. So when it comes to digital marketing, they need a channel strategy that maximizes the message while minimizing the noise,be both realistic and hopeful, and continue to need to be nimble.