Isolation and innovation

Tracy Steffensen

With one in 10 Australian’s reporting that their mental health is suffering as a result of isolation measures, there’s sad irony in that the measures that have been taken to keep us all healthy are for many making them sick.

Loneliness has been reported to be as dangerous to our health as smoking, increasing the likelihood of depression, high blood pressure and heart disease. Human connection is a basic human need and many brands and makers are finding new ways to create human connection when we are forced apart.

Social media in particular is helping people create new ways to connect including:

  • Parties and trivia nights over Zoom 
  • Watch Parties
  • Isolation Spotify playlists
  • Serial posts (e.g. 10 travel pics, 10 album covers that influenced your taste in music)
  • Daggy isolation challenges (e.g recreating works of art using the contents of your household)

This need for human connection is an incredible motivator right now and brands and businesses have a limited opportunity to connect with consumers by facilitating new ways for them to connect. Brands are finding innovative new ways to facilitate connection , some great examples are:

Goose’s Quizzes usually runs 45 pub quizzes in Scotland, but has started doing live online sessions every night, with hundreds participating. “It’s been a pretty bad couple of weeks and pub quizzes bring the community together,” says Andrew Wildgoose, founder of Goose’s Quizzes. ”  They’ve quickly utilised “Twitch” to create “Goose in Yoor House” which enables using a smart TV vs crowding around a laptop.

Chipotle – Aside from offering customers free delivery throughout March, the restaurant is also trying to make the situation a little more bearable by helping customers to virtually hang out together. This week, it launched ‘Chipotle Together’: a series of Zoom hangouts featuring celebrity hosts and attended by up to 3,000 guests. So far, celebrity hosts have included stars of the US series, The Bachelor, and featured live music from rock band Portugal The Man.

By helping people come together at a time like this, these brands are building really important goodwill which will pay off in spades when restrictions are eased.

So how do you create connections or bring people together with your own brand

  1. You do you. Authentic communication is key in getting the attention of consumers.  When the Founder of Madame Flavour, an Australian tea company, recently shared the plight of her business and asked fans of the brand for support on social media, her website crashed from overwhelming demand. The support and subsequent attention her story received is helping her keep going through the crisis and in turn making her customers feel good from helping.
  2. Engage your customers. Ask them what they want. Get their opinions. Clothing brand Skwosh Club recently had their designers work on “Quarantee” collection of new T-shirt designs and had users vote online on the ones they liked best. They’ve enabled pre-ordering of the new designs moving important cash through the business.
  3. Adapt. Make sure your marketing fits the times. Fashion brands like Marc Jacobs have cancelled photo shoots from their new ranges and invited staff or customers to participate in photo shoots in their home environment wearing their apparel. This brings a sensitivity to the times and authentic voice to the brands image and marketing.
  4. Run a free online event for your customers. Take a leaf out of Airbnb’s book, where their network of hosts are now delivering online experiences to Airbnb members.  You can Zoom around Paris with a Parisian or Flamenco Dance with a Spanish Dancer.  

Anyway you can connect more customers and encourage them to come together will bring enduring benefits to your brand. We are all in this together, even though we are forced apart.  Please contact us at Marketing Angels for any help in getting closer to your customers during this time, obligation free.

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