I listen to the news every morning while making breakfast, and I check in once at night to see if I’ve missed anything urgent. Hearing words like “quarantine” and “isolation” evoke feelings of fear, stress, and terror – as humans, our nature is to find comfort in groups and we regularly look outside ourselves for inspiration, entertainment, and guidance. However, I have found that this quarantine and social distancing experience has connected me with people I wouldn’t have otherwise known and reconnected me to friends with whom I’ve fallen out of touch.
As marketers, a great deal can be learned by human behavior and when a global crisis causes widespread emotions to escalate, we see people reveal a more raw sense of what they want. This pandemic, horrific as it may be, requires us to slow down, put our lives in perspective, and reconnect with our humanity. By taking away our ability to physically be around people even if we are mentally distant, we are now realizing that our only way to feel connected is to live our lives in real-time and be mentally present.
Using #TogetherAtHome, music artists and entertainers have hosted live concerts and dance parties in efforts to boost our connectedness while others do the same by posting photos and videos all over social media channels – participating in things like TikTok challenges and SnapChat gaming. These responses build organizational and personal brands even when branding is not the primary objective. Those who focus on supporting their employees and local communities will likely gain more traction, while organizations who appear to be placing profits before people will inevitably suffer a blow to their brand perception.
When quarantines were enacted, Bandier, a women’s athletic apparel brand founded in 2014, launched free Instagram Live workouts every day at 4:00 pm featuring various fitness professionals. As trainers lead a global audience through the routines, they promote various Bandier ensembles to the thousands who participate in their live, at-home workouts. People tune in from around the world to feel connected to the community brought to them by Bandier.
Other fitness brands and local studios have caught on to the trend and started streaming their own sweat sessions for both existing and new audiences. Beauty giant, L’Oréal Group, announced their efforts to produce and distribute additional hand sanitizer while manufacturing companies open factory space for ventilator assembly, and luxury brands add face masks to their repertoire. Time will tell if these businesses see an increase in traffic and customer loyalty. My theory stands that our new normal has created a whole new world of opportunity for digital marketing and for organizations to show us where their loyalties lie.