It goes without saying that the state of the world amidst COVID-19 is scary, it’s uncertain, and it’s impacting everyone. There have been countless incredible individuals manning the front lines, doing their part in a vast variety of ways, and taking a stand to make a difference. The same holds true with companies of all sizes.

These companies may very well have had their marketing planned for the entire rest of the calendar year, but they found ways to pivot on the fly, and to do so in a meaningful way.

Here, we’ll not only run through some of these brands’ examples, but we’ll also share how you can apply the strategies they used into impactful campaigns of your own. At the end of the day, everybody wants to make a difference, and when companies have the platform to do so, it’s important that they use it in a productive and helpful way.

Ford: Built to Lend a Hand + Built for Right Now

For a long time, Ford has been behind many inspiring super bowl commercials and everyday feel-good ads, but in the time of COVID-19, they took that one step further.

Playing off of their slogan, “Built Ford Proud,” Ford took their new video ads in two directions: “Built to Lend a Hand,” and “Built for Right Now.”

“Built to Lend a Hand” takes a somber look back at the pivotal moments in history where there has been a need for vehicles—planes, tanks, disaster relief vehicles—and a need for financial and emotional support amidst those same moments, and remind consumers that they were there. They make it clear that now, in this crisis, they’re still there, and ready to help their customers who are impacted.

In the face of crisis, Ford doesn’t just say they’ll be there, they actually find tangible ways to do so.

In their “Built for Right Now” video ad, Ford reminds consumers that they’ve been around for well over 100 years, which means they’ve witnessed the world’s true ups and downs. They mention who Ford vehicles are for (read: everyone), and that they’re not only built to help, but they’re built to help right here, right now.

Key takeaways:

  • First and foremost, remind consumers that you are there for them in any which way you can be.
  • Take real action—words can be comforting, but offering real help, whether it’s financial, emotional, or physical, can mean everything in a time of crisis
  • Reflect on history—even companies who haven’t been around as long as Ford can think back to a time in the past when people had to band together, and remind consumers of the power and strength that can result from everybody working together
  • Be comfortable with a pivot—shifting an existing marketing plan can seem intimidating, but work with what you already have, be honest, and don’t shy away from addressing the situation outright

Guinness: A Message on St. Patrick’s Day

For the last 260 St. Patrick’s Days, Guinness has been there with glasses filled to the brim, celebrations to rejoice in, and enough spirit to last a lifetime.

This St. Patrick’s Day, however, was different. Rather than staying quiet or scrambling, Guinness maintained the very spirit they’ve been known for for over two centuries, and put out a message that was equal parts heartfelt, comforting, and inspirational.

Key takeaways:

  • Share the efforts you’re taking (big or small) to give back to your community or the community at large.
  • Take a step back from what it is you’re marketing or selling, and remind people to be good to one another and to thank one another—those reminders coming from a brand that people know and trust can do good for the world.
  • Remind consumers that you’re focusing on the past, the present, and the future—what people have been through, what they are going through, and where they’ll go next.

Budweiser: One Team

You don’t have to be a sports fan to know that all types of fans regularly crack open a Budweiser beer on game day.

The sports world is typically divided by city, by mascot, or by jersey color, but today, Budweiser is digging into those same terms to show unity throughout their consumer community and the community of front line heroes working to make the world a safer place.

Budweiser, a company who regularly spends quite a few marketing dollars around sports season, is reallocating these funds to help the front lines, and remind consumers everywhere that there is no room for division in times of crisis.

Key takeaways:

  • Think of something you’re known for regularly, and transform it—a restaurant known for its burgers? Show that you’ve pivoted to curbside pickup, or donate whatever you can to local first response teams. Local gym? Have trainers host classes virtually from their homes, and let members know how they can access them.
  • Take this time to break down walls that divide human beings—we are all in this together, and it can be a helpful reminder from companies to their audiences.

Vodafone Italy:

In regular circumstances, Vodafone Italy is a company that prides itself on helping customers communicate with their loved ones.

In these trying times, that communication is more important than ever before. But, Vodafone Italy hasn’t simply used their platform to show ways consumers can rely on Vodafone for communication—they’ve used their platform to show how family and friends can cook together, learn, work out, share stories, connections, music, and more, all virtually.

Vodafone Italy reminds consumers that they can use their devices for good, and to remain connected with the world when IRL connections just aren’t feasible.

Key takeaways

  • Be human. Remember that consumers are seeking comfort in the parts of their routines that feel normal to them—cooking, working out, talking to friends, etc. Are you in a position to help them with any of those everyday activities? Now is a good time to do so.
  • Think authentic. You don’t need a fancy production studio or hired team of actors to make a great video. Can you call out to your community to send you videos? Get scrappy—that’s the content that will resonate with audiences the most.