By: Austin Avery, Art Director
The last four months have been a wild ride. We’ve lived through a global shut down and are now navigating our way through the various stages of re-opening. Through all of this, consumers and brands have been making daily behavioral shifts in an effort to adapt to the latest definition of normal. While the state of the world continues to be uncertain, marketers must rely on the insights gained over the last few months to continue to reach consumers on a human level.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
At the beginning of COVID-19, many brands reacted quickly to the heightened stresses of consumers in an effort to instill trust. While most were successful at putting out content quickly, few brands were able to create a compelling story that was focused on their key consumer and the new challenges that they were facing.
As Chrissy Teigen and others so gently pointed out on Twitter, brands were churning out content via social feeds and TV screens with the same broad statements and grand gestures of togetherness so quickly that they became meaningless.
As time went on, brands continued to pivot their messaging as they navigated this new territory. They began to learn about the new behaviors of their consumers and were better equipped to craft stories that would more deeply resonate.
GIVE THEM A REASON NOT TO MUTE
Everyone’s lives have been upended by the virus. But with turmoil comes opportunity, and that’s where the creative work begins. It all starts with a moment – a connection that a brand makes with a consumer that helps them solve a problem in their day.
In our chaotic world, these moments have become more important than ever and it is our duty as creatives to spotlight them through our storytelling. At the end of the day, we’re artists that solve problems and our stories need to have people leaning in, feeling understood and seeing our value.
BRANDS THAT GOT IT RIGHT DURING COVID-19
Every brand has a unique and authentic story to be told. It just takes some exploration to dig deeper into the lives of their consumers and discover how their brand is making an impact that matters. As we look back, these are just a few of the brands that got it right:
CarMax’s “The Curb” spot focuses our attention on something most people wouldn’t pay attention to, the curb. Through the course of the :30 spot, they demonstrate to us that curbs are having a moment in today’s world. The curb has become a hub for meeting, connecting, and transacting. With this insight, CarMax shows us they’re adjusting the way they do business and meeting us at the curb for contactless pickup. The new creative is surprising for CarMax, as it pushes away from the parking lot we’ve come to expect from their commercials and is rooted in a changed behavior from the pandemic.
GoDaddy’s #OpenWeStand spot takes us on a journey from the perspective of small business owners during the start of COVID-19, as they are forced to close their doors uncertain of when they may reopen. By centering the story around this difficult moment in a small business owner’s life and offering solutions to create a sustainable business online, they are positioning themselves as a resource to small businesses that may have otherwise been unable to endure.
With the closures of COVID-19 came the difficulty to capture custom content, especially involving people. State Farm tapped the power of user-generated content through their local agents to generate awareness of their inspiring Good Neighbor Community Fund. The Good Neighbor Community Fund invests $10MM in local communities as they work to recover from the past few months. The campaign demonstrates that through the power of agents – block by block, street by street, in 19,000 unique communities across the country – State Farm will continue to deliver on their brand’s promise to be a good neighbor, no matter the challenge.
Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany encouraged fans and season ticketholders to pay $20 for a cardboard cut-out version of themselves to be placed in the stadium for an upcoming game. These cut-outs created a monument that highlight the euphoric energy that fans bring to the game as well as the personal connections fans have with their teams. A portion of the proceeds from these cut-outs also went to a pandemic relief fund.
By homing in on a single moment or feeling, these brands prove that we can still produce innovative and fresh creative that inspire consumers to take action all while living in the COVID era.
ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES AND GET CLEVER
Enough with the rinse and repeat language and accompanying stock footage. Now is the time to push the creative beyond old barriers and create stronger connections that will cement your relationships with consumers for years to come. If we do that, we’ll all come out of this better than when we entered. More creative. More clever. And more able to produce work that truly moves the needle.