COVID-19 has put a halt on life around the world. The Stay-Home order is confining the majority of individuals to their homes. While society adapts to social distancing as the “new normal”, millions struggle to find silver linings in this new form of daily life.
State Farm recently released a commercial in response to the outbreak. The commercial opens by acknowledging our “New Normal,” with clips of the impact that the pandemic has made on community members; a medical professional preparing for work and a mother homeschooling her child. The video cuts to a visual with the words, “HOPE ISN’T CANCELLED.” The narrator offers assistance to anyone facing financial burdens, by contacting their local agent. Rather than advertising their latest insurance promotion, State Farm took it upon themselves to remind their audience that they are here for us.
Reactions to this commercial were extremely positive. Viewers shared that they were proud to be a part of the State Farm Family, following the commercial release.
For those who watch cable television, this may be an obvious tactic for advertising – but ask yourself: When was the last time you watched a commercial? If people aren’t recording their favorite shows, most will seek entertainment on a streaming service. As of February 2020, one out of five people watching television programs were using a streaming service. Although an NTIA report showed 73% of households in the U.S. pay for cable each month, that percentage is decreasing. Americans are ditching live television and commercials for a subscription with their preferred streaming service. This is also known as “cutting the cord.”
This leaves us with the key to supporting your consumers; Social media — the “free” alternative to commercials. A recent report shows that 91% of people feel that connecting through social media is the best tool to sustain a sense of unity. A singular post on Instagram could bring comfort to users feeling supported by their trusted brand. So what does this mean for your brand’s social media involvement?
Evaluate your brand’s limits and possibilities. The content you deliver will guide community members who can benefit from the capabilities of your business.
If your business is able to produce a helpful product in a time like this, promote that effort.
Bar Hill Gin, located in Vermont’s capital city of Montpelier, began manufacturing hand sanitizer in response to COVID-19. The distillery has restructured their website to be accessible for anyone to make a contribution for hand sanitizer production. All finished products are being delivered to healthcare professionals statewide. The spirit brand plans to continue this production for as long as needed.
The distillery even constructed tuneful hashtags such as #ginforthewin, #raisethebarr, and #stopthespread.
Barr Hill Gin focuses on two key aspects since their shift in manufacturing. First, a visual that features the work they are doing to donate to healthcare professionals. Second, a brief summary of their progress in this brand adjustment. One of the posts introduces Phyllis, the instrument they have since named that produces the alcohol for hand sanitizer. The video was shared with the opening statement in the caption, “Friends, we aren’t giving up.”
If your brand is unable to make a physical impact with your resources, offer support.
Burton responded to the global crisis by closing all locations, giving their employees the opportunity to stay home and curb the spread. The Burlington location on College Street is exploring ways to express the brand’s empathy to the situation and offer support to their followers through their Instagram.
The account’s most recent post was delivered, beginning with the visual “We are Burton Strong”. Content included three videos of employees from the Burlington location, sharing why they are social distancing. Reasons for staying home included being able to get back outside later for skateboard season, hiking with four-legged loved ones and keeping the elderly safe.
The caption for the post gives followers the opportunity to comment why they are choosing to stay home. Hosting a space for your followers to share experiences will not only show your brand’s compassion, but enforce the sense of unity.
Connecting with the community like never before!
Following the spiral of COVID-19, restaurants have been working tirelessly to keep business alive. Forced to close their doors to sit-down customers, take out and delivery orders are saving countless establishments from shutting down for good. Patrons are now welcome to place orders for food and cocktails to-go. The trickiest part has been updating customers on changes to business hours and menu items. This has motivated local spots to embrace the power of social media like never before.
Burger Bar, in the town of Colchester, is communicating with Vermonters through their Instagram account. When life gives you lemons (even rotten lemons like COVID-19), make lemonade…or margaritas!
Burger Bar provides appealing pictures of menu options and the to-go cocktails now available in mason jars. The posts carry a happy, consistent tone and contain catchy hashtags like “#sundayfunday”. The account has seen immense growth in follower count and popularity as a whole because of this. Employing social media as a tool to inform consumers is affirming the unifying efforts locals are seeking.
A Major Don’t
Nissan released a commercial in response to COVID-19. The automobile manufacturer opens by reminding viewers that they have been there for their customers “through thick and thin,” for over eighty years. The narrator goes on to offer “No payment for 90 days to new customers.”
People are not currently looking to purchase new vehicles unless it is a dire need. New York Times reported significant auto sales declining in Honda, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz by 37 to 50 percent. Corporations using the crisis to market their business could attract negative attention to the brand. There is a fine line between providing support versus generating clutter. Clutter can just remind people of the serious and negative impacts COVID-19 has had on their lives.
An example of clutter on social media could be an online shop posting about the latest sale on swimsuits. Does a consumer want to spend their limited funds on clothing if they are uncertain when the Stay-Home order will be lifted? Less can be more. If your brand has nothing relevant to offer, it may be best to say nothing at all.
Relevance is a vital ingredient to content in these scary times. Uncertainty makes our lives feel out of our control. Determining your brand’s role will reestablish loyalty of your adherents. Chaos makes people reevaluate what is important to them. Show your followers that they can rely on your brand to find hope and the light at the end of this tunnel.