Stopped to check your screen time on your phone recently? With the world indoors in response to Covid-19 there has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been an increase in content consumption across digital media. Social media is no different to this, with all channels seeing usage levels skyrocketing since lockdown, LinkedIn alone reported seeing engagement growth rise by just shy of +3000% from January to March 2020. In response to this brands are acting accordingly – producing endless content to satisfy the insatiable hunger felt by a planet of people trapped indoors.

Newsfeeds are swamped with brands’ responses to the outbreak, company announcements and tips for the isolation period. So, the question remains, how do you get your brand heard amongst a sea of voices? To help you gauge what works, we have compiled a list of ten brands that have taken to social media to offer a response to COVID-19.

1. H&M

H&M, who have amassed a total of 8.3M followers internationally, have taken the notion of giving their voice to those that need it in a very literal sense by allowing ‘takeovers’ of their social media from global aid organisations. A simple idea but highly effective, offering an international platform to organisations such as the Red Cross to spread information and help across the globe.

2. Nando’s

How acceptable is humour in a time like this? As Harvard Business Review states ‘the nuances of brand voice are more delicate than ever’, so the real challenge here is understanding your audience and your brand perception. Nando’s is a great example of a brand that can play with humour in an effective, yet informative, way. Remember, it’s times like these that social media offers an escape through humour and light-heartedness, and we all need a laugh right now.

3. Volvo

Copy done properly. Volvo have put a minimalistic slant on this clever example of anti-advertising. As a multi-million-pound brand they have taken this opportunity to use their internationally renowned position to promote an important message in a very savvy manner.  

4. Ikea

On brand and on-point, here Ikea Israel have repurposed the oh-so-familiar flat-pack instruction manual formatting to create their most unforgettable manual yet.  

5. Guinness

A genius approach from Guinness, this social media post found its fame initially as a fake Guinness campaign that went viral. The artwork has now been authenticated by the Guinness brand who too were fans of this creative concept.

6. Nike

Playing on the conscience of the consumer this clever post from Nike tackles both the ‘play (or stay) inside’ message along with the idea of community spirit that is so tangible in the current climate. This message translates health officials’ guidelines, whilst maintaining an undeniably Nike feel.

7. Burger King

Taking to the outdoors to convey their stay indoors message, Burger King Belgium presents an industrial scale change of tack. This brand opted to change their iconic ‘Home of the Whopper’ slogan to a more contemporaneous ‘Stay Home’ message. Bold and brave, this eye-catching amendment offers a physical reminder of the government recommendations seen across the world.

8. Vogue

Powerful and poignant, Vogue Italia responded to the devastating crisis by leaving their front cover plain white for the first time in their history. Editor in chief Emanuele Farneti supplied the accompanying copy ‘Above all: white is not surrender, but a blank sheet waiting to be written, the title page of a news story that is about to begin.’ A strong sign of optimism, hope and respect in these times of darkness.

9. Gym Shark

Low cost and high impact, Homeshark (otherwise known as Gymshark) simply changed their display name in an effective PR stunt that resulted in their most liked Instagram photo.

10. Go Outdoors

Following a similar path, Go Outdoors shared a short promotional video branded ‘Go Indoors’ displaying the beautiful British landscapes and urging the viewer to ‘stay at home’ to ‘protect the NHS’ and ‘save lives’.

So, there we have it, ten brands covering a breadth of audiences, nations and tones all responding in different ways to the COVID-19 crisis. What we can learn from this is the importance of expressing your brand’s voice in this time, as Ted Murphy founder of IZEA put it, ‘We see significant opportunity for brands to connect with an audience that is hungry for content, education, and online social experiences’. The answer is not should we speak, but how do we want our voice to be remembered.  Take the time to uplift your audience, praise you heroes and you will find your brand remembered on the right side of history.

Stay safe, stay home and save lives.

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