Brands face the unavoidable reality of marketing to a fearful audience as COVID-19 continues its impact on nearly all industries. Neilsen reports that media usage has increased by 60% due to lockdowns and shelter-at-home restrictions. This spike is launching new market trends and providing unique opportunities for digital marketers.
We examine how brands launch relevant influencer marketing campaigns by donating to charities, increasing health awareness, and tailoring marketing plans for an at-home audience. We examine how brands adapt to new challenges and adjust goals to mitigate brand risk when brand safety matters.
Many companies have continued with their planned marketing campaigns, re-adjusting CTA's and continuing to acknowledge the coronavirus. Despite the fact that many events and activations were canceled or postponed by the outbreak of the coronavirus, many are still pursuing them. Although each company's goals may differ, many are achieving success with meaningful cause-marketing approaches.
Consumers are concerned about their social and environmental responsibility. 87% of customers would be willing to switch brands based on association with a good cause.
Advertising and marketing campaigns are more successful when brands partner with causes -- 95% of college students surveyed said they are less likely to skip an ad by a brand if it promotes a partnership with the charity.
8 ways influencer marketing campaigns have made a difference in supporting the at-home audience and acknowledging the global health crisis.
HOW THESE 8 BRANDS WORK WITH INFLUENCERS DURING CORONAVIRUS
1. PROCTOR & GAMBLE JOINS CHARLI D'AMELIO #DISTANCEDANCE
Proctor & Gamble teamed up with Charlie D'Amelio (one of the most followed influencers on TikTok) to create a COVID-related dance competition.
P&G encouraged audience interaction through a campaign that was centered around a "dance challenge", which is a powerful engagement driver on TikTok. P&G donated a donation of $125 to Feeding America for the first 3,000,000 #DistanceDance videos created by users. Already, over 90,000. have been created by users in response to this challenge.
2. UNDER ARMOUR TEAMS UP w/ ATHLETE INFLUENCERS FOR THE "HEALTHY HOME" DONATION CHALLENGE
MyFitnessPal and Under Armour enlisted the help of health and wellness experts to create inspiring branded IGTV content in support of their "Healthy At Home” campaign. Two celebrity influencers were teamed up to support micro-and middle-tier influencers. This allowed them to turn their social media accounts into a resource for people experiencing social isolation. Under Armour will also donate $1 to Good Sports, Inc with every MyFitness sign-up to ensure that youth sports programs have the equipment, footwear, funding, and funding once play resumes.
THE "HOME WORKOUT" SEARCH SEES A 350% INC
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Nearly every fitness/health industry brand has changed its social media strategy to offer classes online, live streams, and workout tips. Social media accounts for activewear brands are becoming influencer-hosted channels, where fitness influencers host Stories and IG Live Takeovers.
Partnering with fitness influencers is a great way for brands to create quality content and entertainment quickly for their home audience.
3. TRUTH INITIATIVE CURB BOREDOM WITH #WERKITFROMHOME TIKTOK TREND
Truth Initiative has partnered with Gen Z TikTok's most prominent influencers to increase morale and show that there are "plenty" of good times without having to leave the house.
Truth encouraged young people to take up the #WerkItFromHome challenge. It also praised those who do the right thing and stay at home. The sponsored hashtag featured a link to the website of the nonprofit, which offers mental health tips and CDC information. Over 2,000 people have taken part in the sponsored challenge so far.
4. #REVOLVEAROUNDTHEWORLD BECOMES #REVOLVEAROUNDTHEHOUSE
REVOLVE brings its traveling influencer team indoors, with a full live stream schedule via Instagram and IGTV. REVOLVE, a fashion retailer worth $1.2 billion, has focused on loungewear, self-care, and activewear throughout the lockdown. However, they are still producing content by adapting their campaign to include influencers in homes. REVOLVE's pioneering Influencer Strategy has been a benchmark for other brands. The company's campaign modifications during COVID-19 are a great example for marketers.
5. GATORADE UNITES SPORTS FANS TIKTOK #PLAYBYPLAY CAMPAIGN
Six Gatorade influencers were sponsored by Gatorade to be active and safe while they make their "big plays" at home. Three official sound clips were provided by the brand to allow users to recreate iconic moments in sports with items around their homes. The six sponsored TikTok posts had an average engagement rate exceeding 21%.
6. THE #COOKIEWITHACAUSE KEEPS FANS ENTERTAINED DURING QUARANTINE
Oreo launched the #CookieWithACause hashtag challenge on TikTok, asking users to upload a video with a cookie on their forehead. Then they asked their fans to move the cookie to their mouth using their flair. Oreo promised to donate to Save The Children for every 1 million user-generated videos. Within 24 hours, the campaign generated more than 29.5 million hashtags. At least two influential influencers also joined in on the cause-focused fun.
7. SHOEWEAR BRAND CREATES BIG FOOTPRINTS WITH #ATHOMEWITHFRYE - INSTAGRAM
Frye Company joined forces with two well-known influencers from the fashion/lifestyle industry to launch #AtHomeWithFrye campaign to support Feeding America. The shoe company hosts weekly product giveaways as part of its COVID-19 initiative. This is to help build brand awareness and give back to their loyal customers.
8. EA SPORTS STAYS HOME WITH HARVEY PEITO
The Australian model encouraged his followers to #StayHomePlayTogether while promoting Fifa 20 in the sponsored post. In just six hours, the Instagram post had received over 30,000 likes.
Esports has had its fair share of live event cancellations because of the coronavirus. However, Esports is better equipped to adapt to the COVID crisis than traditional sports and has done comparatively well.
TIME discovered that Twitch viewership rose 31% in March, and stream elements reported a jump of 15% in YouTube Gaming's viewing figures over the weekend of March 14. Ann Hand, CEO at Super League Gaming, told Venture Beat that Esports was "a key way people will stay socially connected during this period."
HOW BRANDS MARKET WHICH INFLUENCERS CAN BE FURTHER ADJUST
- Due to the economic disruption caused by the pandemic, brands will have to appeal to more conservative customers.
- 47% of Influencers recommend that brands acknowledge COVID-19 within current campaigns
- Partnerships with charities and non-profits allow brands to share socially beneficial messages through their campaigns.
- Consider influencers as teachers and resources for creating branded content
WHAT APPROACHES SHOULD BRANDS AVOID DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS
- Be careful not to spread misinformation. Vincent Racaniello, the creator of the podcast This Week In Virology warns against sharing medical facts and not verifying them. "Everyone has the chance to become an expert with the advent of social media."
- To avoid an influencer market scandal, brands and influencers must be sensitive about content. This will ensure they don't appear to profit from the current health crisis.
Skye Wheatley, an Australian influencer, made headlines when she took a photo next to empty shelves from a grocery store for a sponsored Instagram posting.
Brands can reach their audiences by using influencers who use a powerful message. Marketing with a cause-focused approach can make brands stand out from the rest and leave a lasting impression. These are the top examples of marketing for a charity that can be used to help marketers and brands amplify their campaigns during COVID-19.