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 downright challenging. In this blog post we are going to share some real-world examples of how other brands are using this as an opportunity. They are using digital as a force for good.
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 only offering.
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. For instance, did you know that they have a programme to help the homeless? As part of their ongoing commitments, they provide meals to the homeless as well as to other vulnerable individuals.
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 XXXX 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.
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 Saavi, to provide the people of the town 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.
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. However, we have also noticed how some businesses such as hotels continue to offer promotions or special offers, despite the fact that people simply cannot travel anywhere at the moment. Furthermore, they have been inviting people to “book and travel”, which at a time like this seems inappropriate. Particularly when we simply don’t know when this lockdown is going to lift.
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”.
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.
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 a fan 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”.
Another brilliant example is by the London Fire Brigade in Hounslow. They are running a wonderful campaign to raise money for the NHS. On Twitter they’ve shared videos of their team running for 24 hours on a treadmillin fancy dress. All to raise urgent funds for our NHS. 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, 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.