Go into any store on the high street and you’ll see adaption in action. Floor signs, hand sanitizers, customer limits, and more are popping up from store to store in an effort to adapt to the current pandemic guidelines, but how are businesses adapting their online ecosystems and how are businesses that can’t be open on the high street adapting to an entirely online audience? 

We’ve collated some marketing campaigns from a range of businesses that we personally thought worked well and were a great way to remain relevant despite what’s changed. Hopefully, these ideas will inspire your business decisions for the foreseeable future and help them persevere alongside any digital marketing already being created. 

1. Getty Museum Starts a Challenge 

The Getty Museum has demonstrated an excellent way of remaining relevant despite being largely inaccessible due to the pandemic. With the risk of infection high, museums have been forced to close their doors. But the Getty Museum found a way to promote the arts and encourage patron interactions at the same time. 

They launched the “Getty Museum Challenge” on their Twitter page, asking users to recreate their favourite works of art with household objects. This resulted in a large amount of user-generated content as those stuck at home looking for ways to pass the time latched onto the challenge with excitement and creativity. The team at Getty Museum realized that a well-crafted social media challenge is a great way to go viral on social media. They pulled it off without a hitch.

Examples of the home-made recreations of the museum’s famous exhibits.

2. Denny’s Zoom Backgrounds 

As people began relying on Zoom to conduct their business meetings and the use of digital backgrounds became more commonplace, Denny’s released their own selection of backgrounds, most of which were designed to make it look as though the user were dining in at one of their franchises. 

They were conscious enough to take a hiatus in order to remain respectful of people’s genuine fear and pain, however, they’ve also been able to provide humour in these uncertain times. This idea has been replicated by multiple other companies, wanting to use their branding to help add some fun to their audience’s day-to-day, including the BBC offering zoom backgrounds of locations from their most popular shows such as Doctor Who and Eastenders, or Google allowing you to change your background to any image on your computer during your Google Hangout sessions!

A selection of the video backgrounds offered by Denny’s.

3. IKEA Focuses on the People 

IKEA is a great example of focusing primarily on building trust with your fanbase instead of simply trying to sell a product. There’s generally an understanding that the promotional content created by brands on social media is ultimately meant to help increase their sales, which can make any attempts at compassion feel fake. However, in some cases, this can be done effectively. 

IKEA managed to do exactly that with their #StayHome campaign. The purpose of the video they shared on social media was to encourage people to cherish their homes as they found themselves quarantined within their own walls. No IKEA products were featured, and no mention of their online services was made. It might seem a little counterintuitive for such a big brand to make no attempt to bring attention to themselves, but in simply relating to the experiences their customers were going through, they came across as genuinely caring.

But like all things on social media, this evolved. It’s now also a collection of memes, how people are using Ikea furniture in different ways, etc. Showing that although a campaign can start as one thing, it has the potential to evolve into something completely different https://twitter.com/search?q=%23stayhome%20ikea&src=typed_query

A funny take on the #StayHome campaign referencing IKEA’s instruction manuals.

4. British Gas Offers Real Solutions 

British Gas, an energy and home services company in the UK, did an amazing job of providing for its customers despite being limited in their capacity to do business as usual. For starters, they created a series of instructional videos to help people perform minor repairs at home. That way, folks unable to call for assistance with solving “non-essential” problems were given the tools to solve said problems all on their own. This approach of offering relevant, useful information was very well received and much appreciated. 

British Gas showing the new everyday routines for their employees.

5. Coca Cola Amplifies Important Messages 

Some companies are trying out brand new social media strategies altogether, including industry giant Coca Cola. Back in April, they announced that they were “donating” their social feed to partner community organizations, allowing those organizations to publish posts from the Coca Cola social media accounts. Posts shared included a message from the American Red Cross asking users to do their part and stay home, another from Food Banks Canada asking for donations, and another highlighting the essential work done by staff at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, among others. Taking a back seat and publicizing other users’ social media & spreading good messages allows them to be involved whilst not actually making the content. Pretty clever in my opinion.

Social media is all about connecting with others, not just selling to them. Businesses are learning that their audience is vital to their business surviving this pandemic or not, and hopefully one of the main things to come out of this change to our everyday thinking is that our marketing should be a mix of advertising and connecting, rather than one dominating the other. We look forward to seeing your business’s marketing evolve during these crazy times, until then, keep calm and carry on!