June 2, 2020 | Article | by Bailey Gray | Branding
Best Virtual Interactions During the Pandemic
From brick-and-mortar stores to entertainment venues and media companies, many top brands are shifting their digital content strategies as a result of the pandemic. These companies seek to maintain the brand-consumer relationship through virtual interaction.
Smart brands may steer clear of overt selling during these times and, instead, seek to stay top of mind with handy resources, entertainment, and virtual interactions that bring consumers’ favorite brands right into their living rooms.
When the pandemic ends and consumer shopping habits slowly shift to normal, consumers are more likely to remember those brands that have provided something of value — without asking for anything in return — during the pandemic.
Whether you are sponsoring and presenting a series of virtual concerts or simply sharing a recap of what’s available for your target audience, making virtual activations and interactions part of your marketing can improve positive sentiment around your brand.
Let’s look at some of the best virtual activations that seek to strengthen relationships between brands and consumers during the pandemic. What kind of virtual interactions, programming, or resources can you offer to your audience?
GRAMMY Museum At-Home Programming
Like other museums, the GRAMMY Museum is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the museum seeks to stay center stage in our hearts with three types of virtual interactions:
Exhibits at Home — The GRAMMY Museum delivers virtual tours of popular exhibits.
Education at Home — Education has always been a part of the GRAMMY mission, with programs such as GRAMMY Camp and GRAMMY in the Schools. These recorded programs can bolster students’ homeschooling or distance learning curriculum.
Programs at Home — View interviews and conversations with famous GRAMMY artists.
Lincoln Center at Home
Similarly, New York’s Lincoln Center launched a portal with fresh entertainment added daily, including virtual concerts, live ballet lessons, and music and art classes for both kids and adults.
Natural Light Virtual Graduation Ceremony
Most college seniors will not enjoy a graduation ceremony this year. Natural Light brewery targets the young adult demographic — and their parents — with a “fun” commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020.
Seniors and their families can tune in on Facebook Live May 14, 2020, at 7 p.m. EST to hear graduation speeches from top names in business and the media, including Stephen A. Smith, Mark Cuban, and Jane Lynch.
Disney Magic Moments at Home
Upon closing its theme parks across the world, Disney sought to bring its magic into fans’ living rooms. The entertainment company has been offering a new release nearly every day, from virtual concerts to virtual storytimes. Disney also uses its social media channels to stream favorite park attractions such as the fireworks show and parade, all with the hashtag #DisneyMagicMoments.
Consumers appreciate when big brands deliver free content to make the time in quarantine go faster. But you don’t have to have a big budget to deliver valuable content. The Seattle podcasting startup hosted Podapalooza live on April 25 and 26.
While many companies opt to deliver their virtual interactions for free, Glow set up a “pay-what-you-can” structure and is donating the money raised to GiveDirectly, a nonprofit organization that makes donations directly to families affected by the global pandemic. You can still make a donation and access the entire collection of podcasts at your leisure.
Women’s Resource Center
Not all virtual interactions provide entertainment. Some offer crucial mental health help at a stressful time when people need it the most.
The Women’s Resource Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, helps women with support and services, ranging from career counseling to a women’s boutique clothing store that offers gently used, high-end designer clothing at steep discounts.
With the boutique closed during the pandemic, the Women’s Resource Center is focused on its virtual services, including mental health counseling, legal help, and more.
What You Can Do
Even though things will return to normal, the eventual new normal will still mean discernible differences when it comes to how you market your products and services. Consumer preferences and interests will continue to evolve. The companies and brands that have nimble responses to changing tides are the ones that will come out of this period of uncertainty stronger than before.
Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have only exacerbated trends that were already quickly changing the way we live. Here are some things you can keep in mind for your marketing strategy.
- Look at consumer data.
- Speak to your customers.
- Take into account regional differences.
- Think about how your product or service can make life easier or, at the very least, more fun!
Empathetic marketers understand what their customers deal with on a daily basis and finding relevant ways to stay a part of that will lead to enhanced loyalty.
In many cases, traditional activations will be impossible for the next few months. The only option is to own what’s next or risk being left behind. Get in touch with us to brainstorm your content strategy and discuss ways to engage consumers in the new normal.