Marketing During COVID-19: A Human Centric Approach

Marketing, like many other business operations, had to make a drastic shift since the outbreak of the global pandemic. As people in many countries were encouraged to stay inside their homes, existing marketing strategies quickly became redundant and companies had to think creatively and turn their attention to online and social media campaigns to build a connection with their customers.  Here are some of the campaigns that have attracted our attention over the last few months.

Image Credit; Campaign Creators

Image Credit; Campaign Creators

Peloton Bikes

Gym and athletics became one of the industries worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and with retail sales plummeting, major sporting companies turned their focus to indoor workouts.  A company that has been at the forefront of this new exercise revolution is Peloton bikes, offering workouts that could be done without having to leave your own home. 

Purchasing a Peloton bike is a financial decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly (the lowest priced bike comes in at around £2,000). However, when you are able to pay in instalments of $45 per month, with the promise of a 30 day home trial and a 12 month warranty, it suddenly turns into a deal you can’t miss out on.  In March the brand announced they would be offering an extended 90 day free trial period, where users didn’t need their specific bikes and software to be able to sign up. The offer provided an incentive for the consumer and created a feeling of goodwill from the company, and helped attract new customers who had taken the leap to ditch their old gym memberships. 

People from all over the world can compete and track real time results through a shared platform, and although this may not be as good as the real thing, it may have helped fill the void in a time where people were craving human connection.

Another strength that Peloton has built upon is the online community that you are able to access as part of the membership.  People from all over the world can compete and track real time results through a shared platform, and although this may not be as good as the real thing, it may have helped fill the void in a time where people were craving human connection. To top it all smart design features create a great user experience, a 360 moveable screen that is attached to the bike works in your favour if you are working out from small spaces and flats where you can tuck a bike in the corner and twist the screen to give room for completing the home workouts.

Cottonelle 

While a toilet paper brand wouldn’t seem like the most obvious choice when talking about a great marketing campaign, this US based company really stood out.  Back in March people started buying up toilet paper and in that single month alone the toilet paper sales jumped up 213% in one week.

Cottonelle decided to try and tackle this problem hands on, by both trying to reassure it’s customers that everything would be ok, and by investing in a charitable cause that would help those directly affected by COVID-19.  Firstly they put out a message to their consumers encouraging them to ‘stock up on generosity’.  Following this the company partnered with the charity United Way and the brand pledged one million dollars and one million rolls of toilet paper to United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, and as a final charitable bonus for every one person that shared the hashtag #ShareASquare on social media the brand announced that it would donate a further $1.  The company also shared messages on their social media such as ‘we believe our customers have no shortage of kindness’, bringing a human perspective to the brand at a time when the selfishness of consumers seemed rife. 

While a toilet paper brand wouldn’t seem like the most obvious choice when talking about a great marketing campaign, this US based company really stood out.

Ultimately the toilet paper manufacturers were one of the few industries that were profiting as the revenue of other companies was plummeting. In reinforcing the message that ‘we are all in it together’ it’s likely that consumers will continue to pick Cottonelle packs of toilet paper up from the shelves in the future.

Unexpected social media fame – US National Cowboy Museum 

Finally, an example of an unplanned and unexpected social media campaign that has taken off, and has provided the lighthearted humorous break that we have needed at times needed during the last few months.  This US National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma rose to social media fame when it inadvertently put their head of security in charge of their Twitter page after the museum had to close its doors.  His open discussions on how to use hashtags prove that sometimes it doesn’t take money for marketing campaigns to be successful, and that a little human relatability can go a long way – with the added bonus of getting the museum on the radar of those who would never have otherwise heard of it.

Image Credit @ncwhm Twitter

Image Credit @ncwhm Twitter

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Team Coordinator

Sutherland Labs
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