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Brand-demic pivots that resonated

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As the entire world is adjusting to this year of social distancing, brands have had to entirely reevaluate their strategies. The tone they go market right now is more important than ever and will likely affect consumer perception of them for years to come. Time is absolutely of the essence when it comes pivoting in response to the pandemic—and some brands have shined brighter than the rest in their response to this new normal.

Hotels.com, a company entirely based around travel and hotel stays, quickly pivoted their campaign focused on motivating people to get away and travel instead of being jealous of others’ travel to a very simple ad acknowledging and recognizing the current situation and emphasizing that people should just be staying home right now. The company is notorious for rewarding travelers for staying at hotels and chose to prioritize the health and safety of their customers over their own corporate goals.

Guinness, a beer brand often associated with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, ran an ad this spring emphasizing that people can absolutely still celebrate the holiday from home, despite how different this year feels. The ad showcases the history of Guinness and points out that while we don’t have parades this year and we cannot be cheers-ing at a pub, as long as you’re home with friends or family, you’ve already won.

Calm App, the leading app for meditation and sleep, was already a brand of significant importance in 2020 and the challenges people face, but took their brand a step further during the pandemic by developing Calm Together focused around minimizing the feeling of isolation and disruptions, and allowing people to connect with others or improve their own mental health. The app prioritizes caring for one’s mind and acts as a simple reminder for how people can best care for themselves and others right now.

du-nord-sanitizer
Du Nord Craft Spirits team loading hand sanitizer.

On a local level, a Twin Cities brand that swiftly adjusted not only their philosophy, but their actual production line is Du Nord Craft Spirits. The craft distillery was forced to close its Cocktail Room mid-March. Rather than dwelling on that closure and its potential financial impact, Du Nord promptly adjusted their production line to produce hand sanitizer. Not only was staff able to be brought back to work for hand sanitizer production and sales, they have also donated the much-need product over the past few months to organizations and groups in need.

While not all brands have acted as quickly or adjusted as successfully as others, these are just a few of the many that have stepped up not only their marketing, but also their production and community presence during this complicated time. When brands truly put their people and community first, great things can happen – even when most of the world is shutting its doors.

As foodservice marketers, how can you pivot your message to demonstrate operator empathy? If you need ideas, feel free to get in touch with Anita Nelson at 612-353-3410 or anita@infoodmktg.com.

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