Connecting with Quarantined Consumers: A Look at the Creative Marketplace During Covid-19
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to build connections and maintain trust within your community. As the world hunkers down to weather the storm, it’s anything but business as usual. After being forced to shut their doors, brands are turning to the digital landscape to connect with consumers, foster loyalty, and boost brand affinity.
Going the (Social) Distance
As we integrate into the new normal, big-name brands are taking the opportunity to go beyond sales and conversions in favour of a more “human” approach. For example, Nike and Volkswagen Group are using their reach and influence to educate the public about the importance of staying home. This is especially poignant when companies like McDonald’s, who operate on brick-and-mortar sales, reinvent their brand identities in solidarity with social distancing efforts.
By taking a public stance and putting consumer safety above corporate success, these brands are becoming more than just companies — they’re injecting their identities with emotion that consumers will relate with, respond to, and remember after the world resumes operations.
Survival of the Fittest
Now, perhaps more than ever, a company’s willingness to adapt is essential to its success. Established brands that rely on traditional models, like movie theatres and dine-in restaurants, are having to sacrifice the familiar and find innovative ways to keep their business alive and relevant. Companies like Cineplex, who would otherwise compete against the Netflixs and Apple TVs of the world, are now having to rely on virtual streaming services to stay afloat. By implementing such initiatives and partnering with home delivery apps, Cineplex was able to bring the movie-going experience home, ensuring the ongoing relevance of the brand in these ever-changing times.
More and more, we are seeing these “traditional” companies partner with competitors to disrupt the marketplace and bring their products to the people. From home deliveries to subscription services, we are all trying to find the right way to make it through together.
Caring Isn’t Cancelled
In these troubled times, people need material support and emotional comfort. While some companies are turning to e-commerce sales and home deliveries to provide for their customers, others are taking a more personal approach to drive their brand essence home. Summersalt, for example, transformed its regular customer service channels into an opportunity to provide emotional support. Their “customer happiness” team sends 10-minute meditation videos, self-care ideas, and puppy GIFs to anyone who reaches out through the free text message hotline.
Other brands are focusing their support inward. Aritzia’s Thanks To You Sale dedicated 100% of the proceeds to their Community Relief Fund, which helps support their employees during store closures. Not only do these initiatives drive sales at a time when consumers are especially money-conscious, but they do so for compassionate reasons, putting their employees’ well-being above profit. On top of that, Aritzia is giving the general public an opportunity to support COVID-related efforts in a way that’s mutually beneficial.
With nothing to do but watch TV and browse the internet, consumers are actively seeking opportunities to connect in the digital space — and brands are stepping up to the plate. From social media challenges to webinars and live watch parties, companies are able to sublimate the brand experience consumers would usually get in brick-and-mortar locations by engaging their community online. Whether you’re breaking a sweat in lululemon’s virtual fitness classes or indulging in some grub at Chipotle’s Zoom lunches, brands are capitalizing on opportunities to bring users together at a time when we’ve never felt more alone.
sooooooo who wants to have lunch together on Monday? we’re going live on Zoom at 11am PST. we’ll drop a link that morning.— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) March 14, 2020
By providing consumers with activities, challenges, and tasks to pass the time in isolation, these brands are seamlessly integrating themselves into our everyday lives. While life beyond quarantine is still nothing but a question mark, companies like lululemon and Chipotle, who are taking the initiative now, are all but guaranteeing our reliance on them later to solve our day-to-day needs.
With storefronts closed, schools cancelled, and employers encouraging remote work, consumers are facing more unique challenges now than ever before. And while staying home and social distancing is important, it is an unprecedented obstacle. At Arcane, we’re helping our clients adapt to the changing media landscape by pivoting tactics to reinforce their values. From sales for frontline workers to shifting manufacturing efforts, our client partners are reinforcing that, although we are far apart, we’ve never been more united.