2020 has undoubtedly been one of the trickiest years yet for marketeers. There’s been a real need to carry on communicating, even during the hard times. A number of businesses have had to close their doors entirely (those in the tourism, hospitality, retail, entertainment and arts industries in particular) meaning there’s not always that much to say, but it’s also important not to go quiet on your customers too. Quite a sticky situation.
Furthermore, not every business has found the time or the budget to keep up with PR, social media and marketing throughout this pandemic.
But those that have, have thrived.
There’ve been so many brands doing wonderful things as we’ve journeyed through lockdown, out of it, and back into it again for lockdown 2.0. Despite thinking there might not always be something to say, for a number of businesses, they’ve always found a way.
We’re now pretty much back to the same place that we were in March, and it feels bleak for most of us. Christmas is just over a month away, but many are feeling anything but festive. Nevertheless, there are some great businesses out there still trying to spread positivity even in the most uncertain of times. I’ve seen many brands do a great job of sharing the love and joy over these last few months.
So, instead of talking about the doom and gloom, let’s focus on the good and praise those who’ve done an excellent job of sharing it. It is #YESvember, after all.
6 brands spreading joy throughout the pandemic
This list isn’t exhaustive. My hat goes off to all of the businesses that have worked hard to keep on communicating throughout the Coronavirus crisis. So many companies have made excellent work of their PR and social media strategies recently, whether that’s with spreading positivity, pivoting their business by thinking of new and original ways to trade, or just by generally putting out some really interesting messages.
Though I’ve only listed six here, I could talk at length of the commendable efforts and resilience of many more brands. For now, though, here’s a handful worth highlighting…
Burger King recently made headlines for urging their UK customers to visit competitors such as McDonald’s, because businesses and their employees need support now more than ever. They received some criticism for forgoing the mention of smaller and independent businesses in the name of marketing, but overall I thought this was a really nice touch from the fast food brand and served as a timely reminder that big or small, we should be supporting outlets wherever we’re able to at the moment.
I couldn’t write an article praising brands for their efforts this year without mentioning Chester Zoo. Their regular virtual zoo days were excellent in keeping people motivated (and kids educated) back in March and April, and ultimately their quick thinking ad well planned campaign no doubt helped with the #SaveOurZoo plea, plus the volume of ticket sales that followed their reopening in June.
Pringles & KFC ‘Take The Shave’ For Movember
November marked the start of Movember, a campaign launched to raise awareness of men’s health issues. It typically involves participants growing out a beard or moustache, but this year two brands decided to switch up their mascot’s signature looks to take part in their own way. Both the Pringles man, and the KFC colonel were redesigned to appear clean shaven at the beginning of this November, with a view of letting their facial hair ‘regrow’ over the month. I thought this campaign was a nice way of raising awareness of serious issues, plus it’s super creative and bodes well for encouraging word of mouth marketing and social media traction.
Alongside clapping for the carers, there was also another doorstep phenomenon that took off earlier this year. Back in May, #TogetherInOneVoice was launched with support from the Co-Op. The stunt encouraged those in Manchester to fill the streets with music for a chance to win their shopping for free. I thought this was a particularly nice campaign to emerge during the first lockdown and was exactly what was needed at the time. More recently, I got a good laugh over the tweet about Aldi employees singing on the doorsteps of journalists to spread some Christmas cheer. One way or another it worked, as they got a good conversation going on social media.
Roller Skating Delivery Riders
Greggs teamed up with Just Eat in September to market their new home delivery offer, by trialling a ‘Sausage Roll-er skating Squad’ in a couple of their stores down south. There’ve been some debates amongst communications professionals as to whether the mood is quite right this year for wacky stunts like this, but in my opinion if you’re not putting anybody in harm’s way – then I’m all for it. We need a bit of positivity and nothing really says ‘fun’ like a delivery on roller skates (especially when it’s the nation’s favourite pastry). Not to mention, this was an excellent way to generate some hype around Greggs’ new service. It has a great talkability aspect – something needed to send campaigns viral.
Trees Or Socks?
Ever great at their brand messaging, Innocent pulled another out the bag with their social media campaign that takes a stab at spreading a little joy in the name of charity. For a limited time, followers were invited to treat themselves to a pair of new socks, with a pair donated to Crisis for every one claimed, or a mini tree to plant as part of the Big Climate Fight Back. Will this sell them more smoothies? Not necessarily. But what it will do is help to continue building the prolific brand image that they have, and keep them positioned as a caring company with a great CSR. Not to mention, the campaign has racked them up some pretty great social media engagement too.
Images copyright: BurgerKingUK/Twitter | Pringles/Twitter | Greggs/Famous Campaigns