How brands are adopting innovative means to drive consumer engagements

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Updated: Apr 20, 2020 10:26 AM

From redesigning logo to driving digital campaigns, brands are adapting to the situation by driving sensitive and timely campaigns

McDonald's logo redesign, wherein it separated its iconic golden arches, in Brazil drew a lot of criticism, with some questioning how the brand has been treating its workersMcDonald’s logo redesign, wherein it separated its iconic golden arches, in Brazil drew a lot of criticism, with some questioning how the brand has been treating its workers

At a time when all focus has shifted to coronavirus, brand promotion may not be the best idea, but some businesses have proved this to be wrong with their sensitive and timely campaigns that seek to create more awareness around the pandemic.

They are doing this by bringing innovative designs, advertisements and offers. Some like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Audi and Volkswagen interpreted social distancing with temporary logo redesigns. McDonald’s logo redesign (in which it separated its iconic golden arches) in Brazil, though, drew a lot of criticism, with some questioning how the brand has been treating its workers. Some even called it an “opportunistic, awards-baiting” move on the fast food company’s part.

Audi’s Turkish Instagram account posted a video showing its logo with four rings splitting apart into separate circles, telling people to stay at home and keep distance. Volkswagen, too, promoted inspirational messages and separated the V and W in its logo.

Closer home, Lifebuoy, the hygiene brand from Hindustan Unilever (HUL), is digitally advocating the use of hand sanitiser and soap. Dettol by Reckitt Benckiser Group, too, rolled out its #HandWashChallenge on TikTok to raise awareness about handwashing. Godrej Consumer Products slashed the price of its Protekt sanitisers by 66% as part of its #ProtektIndiaMovement to build awareness and ensure preventive measures against coronavirus.

Digital campaigns around habits and lifestyle have also made the work from home scenario more exciting. E-commerce fashion platform KOOVS launched a campaign titled #AboveKeyboardDressing for home video meetings. All you have to do is dress up your upper torso, which is visible on the screen, while you can be in your home outfit waist-down. A quirky and experimental juxtaposition of two completely opposite dressing styles at the same time.

Shalimar Paints launched ‘Colour of Quarantine’, a consumer engagement contest to creatively spend time with the family indulging in painting on paper, canvas, wall, sculpture, a pot or any surface of one’s choice. Besides this, the brand is planning to run online contests, too, for associated dealers.

Indian radio channel Red FM started the campaign, ‘Care Karona’, to spread accurate information on Covid-19. “It is important that we give out the message in a manner that also sounds interesting to the listener. We have come up with a creative rendition of the logo to emphasise the importance of social distancing along with creative communication and advertisements supporting social distancing and work from home. Red FM, T-Series and YouTube plan an all-star fundraiser digital concert ‘The Care Concert’ in April to support the PM CARES Fund with a stellar line-up of artists such as Yo-Yo Honey Singh, Adnan Sami, Neha Kakkar, among others,” says Nisha Narayanan, COO and director, Red FM and Magic FM.

Global fashion label United Colors of Benetton has also ensured a focused approach through content stories. “We have tried to bolster hope through user engagement by creating templates of self-care, stories on silver linings and shoutouts to the real warriors, the doctors,” says Sundeep Chugh, managing director and CEO, Benetton India.

Sumit Sehgal, CMO, Sheela Foam, the largest manufacturer of mattresses in India under the renowned brand name Sleepwell, says the spread of coronavirus has impacted sleep as well. “To reiterate the importance of sound sleep for eight hours, our campaign #StaySafeWithSleepwell shares the benefits of healthy habits and how sleep is important to stay healthy. We recreated our logo and leveraged visual storytelling to urge citizens to stay home, sleep well and curb the spread of the virus,” he says.

The idea is to be creative yet contextual. “Communication should be light-hearted and fun,” says Vikas Bagaria, founder, Pee Safe, a personal hygiene brand, which participated in the #safehands challenge initiated by the WHO. “We have started a series of posts related to quarantine and designed a campaign that familiarises people with toilet seat sanitiser spray, which can be used as a multipurpose disinfectant spray in times of demand-supply crisis in the country,” he says.

Bharath Sastry, CEO of Vistaprint India, an e-commerce platform for custom printing services, who has designed Covid-19 templates for business enterprises and customers, says, “Relevant online presence without focusing on selling is important at the moment and the focus must be on the fundamental promise of the brand.”

Denim label Numero Uno focuses on being more conversational than promotional in digital talk by engaging people in different challenges like fitness, cooking and others, besides campaigns like ‘Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Generous and Be Numero Uno Citizen’. “Direct interaction with customers on social media, engaging content in ads, educating people about hand sanitisation, and other guidelines on lockdown have helped spread awareness. People process such information faster. With the crisis, one doesn’t want to see an advertisement selling something that is not an essential need,” says Asha Esther Jaikishan, head, marketing, Numero Uno.

Spreading positivity through music, The Park Hotels has launched #SomeplaceElseLive concert and collaborated with a repertoire of artists to perform for the Someplace Else Facebook page every evening, bringing music to every household. #THEParkHeartofHope initiative which helps senior citizens and underprivileged with food supplies and essential items, and #FoodReimagined wherein chefs share simple recipes to cook from the comfort of one’s home are some other initiatives.

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