Nike website at https://www.nike.com/you-cant-stop-us
We’re paying close attention to what brands big and small are doing to connect with their customers' evolving needs in the era of COVID-19.
Here's a quick snapshot of work that caught our eye. We will keep adding examples as we see them.
This has been the most common tactic we've seen so far, providing customers with access to a subset of products and services for a limited time to help them through the pandemic.
Campaign: NFL Game Pass
What’s good: The NFL is offering their Game Pass product for free to view full broadcast replays and condensed games.
Campaign: San Francisco Chronicle free coronavirus coverage
What’s good: The Chron has lowered their paywall to content that the San Franciscans need to keep abreast of the current events.
Campaign: Headspace free meditations
What’s good: The popular meditation app has made free a selection of meditations called, "Weathering the Storm."
Campaign: Hootsuite free access to Professional plan
What’s good: Organizations in affected industries (restaurants, hotels, event venues, performing arts, etc.) may use the professional version of Hootsuite's social media management software, at no cost until July 1st, 2020.
We've seen some promotions that come across as tone-deaf, but those that are doing it right demonstrate an awareness of their customers' needs and offer value that strengthen their customer relationship.
Campaign: Allstate Shelter-in-Place Payback
What’s good: Allstate is looking after their customers by rewarding them for sheltering in place with discounts on their insurance.
Campaign: Ram truck's payment assistance program
What’s good: Ram truck's Drive Forward program highlights "No Monthly Payments for 90 days and 0% APR for 84 months" on select Ram vehicles.
Giving advice is always tricky. Make sure it's relevant to your audiences and credible coming from your brand.
Campaign: GoDaddy Open We Stand
What’s good: GoDaddy is launching a brand movement for small businesses, backing it with advice for how the get through these tough times.
Campaign: Coursera Together
What’s good: The popular online learning platform is offering free online learning and community resources during COVID-19.
Brands are expanding their employee charitable giving programs to include organizations focused on COVID-19.
Campaign: Coach We Love
What’s good: The fashion brand has committed $2 million to matching employee donations towards the COVID-19 response efforts.
Minimizing the impact on customers by allowing payment deferrals and waived cancellation fees.
Campaign: Apple Card payment deferrals
What’s good: Many credit card companies are allowing their cardholders to defer statement payments.
Campaign: Hotwire self-cancellations
What’s good: The travel industry is launching new tools to enable travelers to more easily change or cancel their reservations.
Buy-one-give-one charitable giving models
Charitable giving mechanisms that enable customers to contribute through their purchases.
Campaign: Crocs healthcare donations
What’s good: Crocs is donating a free pair of shoes to healthcare workers on the frontlines with each pair purchased.
Campaign: Madison Reed Direct Relief
What’s good: The hair color brand is donating $5 of every purchase of specific products to Direct Relief.
Free shipping to encourage online purchases.
What’s good: Free delivery through Uber Eats
What’s good: Free delivery for online orders through March.
Campaign: DoorDash zero commission
What’s good: DoorDash and Caviar will eliminate commissions on orders for restaurants through the end of April.
Campaign: Walgreens free shipping
What’s good: Walgreens is offering free shipping with no minimum, and expedited shipping through Postmates for a fee.
fundraisers and Grants
Businesses are sponsoring fundraisers and set up grants for small businesses.
Campaign: Intuit Small Business Relief Initiative
What’s good: Intuit seeded $1 million into a fund that small businesses can access if they setup a public GoFundMe campaign.
Campaign: Facebook Small Business Grants Program
What’s good: Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses.
Campaign: Google Ads credits for SMBs
What’s good: Google is giving $340 million in ad credits to SMBs worldwide to use on Google Ads platforms before the end of 2020.
Influencers are teaching their audiences tips and tricks for getting through the pandemic.
Campaign: Thomas Frank WFH Tips
What’s good: Popular influencers are sharing their tips and tricks for how to work from home.
Restaurants are offering takeout meals at cost to keep their staff employed.
Campaign: Manresa family meals to go
What’s good: Restaurants are offering to go meals at cost to keep their staff employed.
employee relief pledges
Large employers are publicly pledging significant sums of money to provide economic relief to their employees.
Campaign: MLB pledges $30M for ballpark employees
What’s good: MLB’s 30 teams are stepping to the plate to help those employees, with every team donating $1 million to the cause.
fighting the coronavirus
Some businesses are in the rare position to directly fight the COVID-19.
Campaign: AB InBev hand sanitizers
What’s good: The world's largest beer company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is producing sanitizer at breweries in New York and California.
Campaign: Dyson CoVent
What’s good: The consumer products company known for their high end vaccums is manufacturing 150,000 ventilators for hospitals.
Campaign: Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool
What’s good: Apple has launched an online app that lets users screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.
fighting the coronavirus
Other businesses are supporting frontline healthcare workers.
Campaign: Sweetgreen Outpost free meals
What’s good: Sweetgreen is providing free food for hospital workers and medical personnel at some of their Outpost locations.
Campaign: MIXT community support
What’s good: The salad chain founders have a multi-pronged approach to feeding frontline healthcare workers and also those in need.
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Brands acknowledging the pandemic in ways that are relevant to their brand and its purpose
Campaign: Airbnb COVID-19 Responders Housing
What’s good: Airbnb Hosts help provide housing to 100,000 COVID-19 responders.
Campaign: FedEx special shipping operations
What’s good: FedEx set up a special operation to help the U.S. government quickly move COVID-19 test specimens from more than 50 remote drive-thru testing centers at major retailers across 12 states.
Campaign: Markforged 3D printed test swabs
What’s good: 3D printing startup, Markforged, is making test swabs for the COVID-19 tests.
Campaign: Lyft delivery of medical supplies and meals for seniors in need
What’s good: While ride demand is temporarily down, Lyft has expanded their services to include delivery and transportation partnerships with healthcare, government, and businesses to help both those in need and their own drivers.
Messaging reminding us that we're all in this together.
Campaign: Nike You Can't Stop Us app
What’s good: Nike is promoting their app as a way to help everyone stay active, positive, and healthy — together.
Campaign: Coca Cola billboard
What’s good: Coca Cola modified their logo to space out the letters, while promoting a message of unity.
Campaign: Chipotle Lunch Party
What’s good: Chipotle is hosting digital lunch parties featuring free burritos and celebrity guests via Zoom.
Campaign: Adidas #Hometeam campaign
What’s good: Adidas is hosting a series of virtual events to keep people creative, fit and having fun.
Open communications about the impact the business is feeling, and how they are coping with it.
Campaign: Amazon's COVID-19 blog
What’s good: Many brands have set up a dedicated blog to share updates on their COVID-19 response
As audiences feel overwhelmed, content creators are providing an escape with 'Comfort Content'.
Campaign: NYT The Daily podcast
What’s good: As more of us are isolated at home, content that is geared towards taking the emphasis off the current pandemic is more and more sought after.Back to the top ^
WHAT TO AVOID
Most brands have the best of intentions. However, customers will be watching out for those that appear to be taking advantage of the crisis, so be thoughtful in your messaging.
- Don’t overstate your contribution
- Don’t ignore our circumstances. Review your communications to make sure they are appropriate
- Don’t make decisions for your customers that they have not consented to
- Don’t be divisive
- Don’t ask for contributions unless you are able to demonstrate what your company is already doing to help
- Don’t confuse or conflict with directions given by public health officials
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Last week the Harvard Business Review published an article titled, Roaring Out of Recession. The key message was that those businesses that outperformed their rivals after the crisis selectively cut costs and focused on operational excellence while investing in marketing, R&D, and new assets.
Neither those companies that cut cost fast and deep, nor those that ramped up spend faired as well.
And we're wrapping up this post with a quote from Sister Corita Kent, one of our favorite pop artists, "Make Hope."