Brand Messaging Goes Viral in Response to the Viral Outbreak
April 6, 2020
We as marketers operate within a society fueled by connection; abiding by an industry ethos that cautions if we can’t find a way to come together, then ultimately, we’ll have no choice but to fall apart. However, little did we know that within just a few short weeks, the industry would soon be challenged by a fierce dichotomy leaving not even a single brand unaffected.
So, in an effort to navigate this new landscape, many brands are separating themselves from the rest as they reveal campaigns encouraging consumers to keep separate from each other.
Prior to Covid19’s disruption, the world of eCommerce was displaying enormous progress due in part to ongoing digital transformation. From email marketing technology to social networking tools, our Evestar clients in particular have welcomed overwhelming growth as our team combines innovative strategies with inherent intuition.
However, when the industry is confronted with something as unexpected as the current global outbreak, the brains behind the brands have no choice but to adjust to a new norm, accepting that we must come to terms with something that is on anything but our own terms.
Nevertheless, in good old marketing fashion, it wouldn’t be long before brands would begin breaking out viral messaging to respond to the viral outbreak.
Well documented for their profound response to tragedies (and with haste, may we add), the marketing minds behind NIKE didn’t hesitate to articulate their sentiments:
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“If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance. Play inside, play for the world.”
The response, which followed their announcement pledging a 15-million-dollar donation to Coronavirus relief efforts, was shared by some of the world’s most famous athletes. The roster consisting of powerhouses like Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Jordan, was also accompanied by Lebron James whose post amassed over 1M likes within just the first few hours of posting.
Effortlessly combining star power with brand power, Nike yet again knocked it out of the park to drive a global message that would prove to be at the top of any playbook.
It’s not just apparel companies who are using their trademark power to respond to the current pandemic. Just last week, McDonalds Brazil launched a bold campaign that separated their infamous golden arches to echo social distancing guidelines.
Despite their intentions, the message was ill-received in light of reports that the company wasn’t taking necessary precautions to protect employees. While the South American campaign has since been removed; operations within the US continued with a 5-series video ad illuminating their drive-through and delivery options.
Fortunately, the US campaign received positive feedback; however, when it comes to the golden arches, it appears the over-arching lesson is that there’s a fine line between motivation and monetization, when marketing amidst a crisis.
When it comes to corporations altering their logos in response to the Covid19 crisis, not all feedback has been negative. To encourage communities to practice social distancing, Mercedes Benz dared to redesign their infamous insignia. For the first time in the auto manufacturer’s history, the three-pointed star was separated from the outer lying ring that it famously connects with.
Other brands including Audi and VW also made changes to their distinct emblems, all of which accompanied announcements that production in Europe would come to a halt to favor the health and wellness of their employees. Additionally, the Mercedes AMG team has since redirected their focus to developing a CPAP machine for hospitals to use when treating patients who have fallen victim to Covid19.
What’s the Real Message?
As communities are urged to keep their distance, many brands have gone the distance to use this as an opportunity to connect with their consumers. However, it’s evident that messaging alone isn’t enough to convince customers of a company’s intentions. To support these sentiments, actionable information must be delivered to demonstrate a corporate commitment as much to the community as it is to the consumer.
From adjusting messaging to introducing further employee protection, it seems as though Covid19 is spreading a virus just as much as it is a message. It’s now up to brands to listen and respond, using their own platforms to leverage an inevitable shift that will not just revolutionize eCommerce, but perhaps transform the way we operate as a society.
What are you noticing as this situation unfolds? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how brands are adapting their strategies in response to Covid19.