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Can digital be a force for good?

Published on
December 8, 2020
CJM Team

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to adapt to staying at home. For some the transition has been easy, for others it has been challenging. In this blog post we are going to share some real-world examples of how other brands are using this as an opportunity.

Can digital be a force for good and a force for change?

We have been really inspired by the way local businesses are adapting to the Covid-19 challenge.

Surrey Drive is an initiative which was set up to help support the NHS workers by ensuring that they get a hot meal at the end of their shift. It was formed by several businesses who were looking to support the NHS, after news broke about their staff struggling to buy food in the supermarkets due to the shortages.

Digital helps to spread the word

Companies such as Pret A Manager are working hard behind the scenes to keep their staff safe, whilst continuing to provide fresh meals to our NHS workers. They are a great example of a brand that has adapted from being a restaurant, to offering a fully-fledged takeaway and delivery service.

Throughout this period they have used digital to communicate with their customers and the wider world. This has ensured that although the vast majority of their restaurants are currently closed, they still remain at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak they have adapted well to offering a takeaway-only service. Admittedly, they already offered this service prior to the pandemic, but they now offer it in addition to maintaining the social distancing guidelines. If you take a look at this press release you can see how seriously they are taking the pandemic and the associated hygiene implications.

All of their communications reflect their desire to reassure their customers, whilst also continuing to observe the government’s guidelines.

How do smaller companies use digital?

Closer to home we have a local business called the Basingstoke Fish and Chip Shop - which you guessed it, sell fish and chips. They work with another local business, a delivery company called Savvii, to provide the people of Basingstoke with fresh and tasty food – fast. The customer service has always been excellent, and they are clearly observing the restrictions. Their business model works because it is based on providing takeaways only. They are using digital as a force for good, because it allows them to keep in touch with their customers, whilst maintaining the social distancing rules.

Digital as a force for change

Over time we’ve noticed that the number of impressions and reach across our Facebook and Instagram accounts has increased. This makes sense, as more people are online and are therefore more likely to see our posts. Over the past few weeks we've seen some brilliant examples of organisations using the lockdown to their best advantage. VisitEngland have been inviting visitors to tour Buckingham Palace online, meanwhile the British Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts have opened up their collections to online users.

This is a very exciting period of digital transformation, as more of our cultural institutions embrace it as a means of sharing what they do with a global audience. I for one, am a huge fan of Assyrian Art, and since I'm unable to visit in person, I will probably have a look at the British Museum website instead. After all, during the lockdown I can use this time to gather ideas for places to visit once this is all over.

Organisations are using digital to reach their customers at home

At the moment it is cheaper to run adverts than normal, due to a lack of advertisers. Studies have shown that there has been a reduction in the Cost-Per-Metric (CPM). However, we think that it is the wrong time to advertise, particularly when the call to action is “Book now”, “Join”, “Move”, “Get out” or “Business as usual”.

Lessons we've learnt from the Lockdown

The best use of organic posts at the moment is to acknowledge the current situation. Yes, it is hard because everyone is at home, but we can still paint a positive picture. Some of the most successful posts we have seen have a common thread or theme. Such as empathising with others, and weaving the government’s messages into our communications.

How are influencers using digital?

We need to focus on helping rather than selling at this difficult time. Some of the best examples we’ve seen are by the popstar Sophie Ellis Bextor. Every week Sophie has been hosting a kitchen disco and sing along afterwards, before sharing it online. It is an absolute riot, and as fans of her music, we have really enjoyed watching her perform well known songs. She gets dressed up in her finery, and sings her heart out to keep us all entertained. Her family also make regular appearances, which is brilliant. It gives her videos a sense of normality whilst also transmitting a very clear message: Stay at Home.

London Fire Brigade NHS Campaign

Another brilliant example is by the London Fire Brigade in Hounslow. They have run a wonderful campaign to raise money for NHS Charities Together. On Twitter they’ve shared videos of their team running for 24 hours on a treadmill in fancy dress. All to raise urgent funds for NHS charities. It looks fantastic and is a great way to raise awareness of both organisations…all without a hard sell.

Finally, we think that the best use of communications at the moment is to reflect a new sense of brand awareness. Consider weaving the government’s messages into your own communications, and empathise with others more. People are responding to brands and influencers who embody these ideals.

Whether it’s Sophie Ellis Bextor performing a song from her kitchen, or the London Fire Brigade raising money for the NHS Charities Together, you too can get in on the action. You too can use digital as a force for good.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, feel free to share them in the comments section below this post.

Certified digital marketing experts in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

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