During these unprecedented times, brands are changing their marketing strategy every day to keep up. As we navigate WFH Zoom chats, delivery-only options and an overloaded healthcare system, here are some strategies that top brands are using to adapt to the times.

Logo Changes

In an effort to stress the importance of social distancing, German car company Audi has separated the four rings in its logo on social media. Volkswagen followed suit by creating space between the V and W in their logo. Brands in other industries have also taken charge. Blink Fitness just released a video with their company name’s letters spread apart, stating ‘keep it tight, but keep it distant.’ Time Out New York, a digital platform dedicated to sharing New York’s best events and dining, changed their logo to “Time In.”

Streaming giant Hulu has undertaken a logo change as well— but for different reasons. Through a partnership with movie distributor Neon, Hulu was able to snag Academy Award-winning film Parasite, which they released on April 8. They’ve promoted the film heavily all over Twitter, and have changed their logo to include the censor bar from the movie poster.

My Evaluation:

On the one hand, changing the company logo to reflect current times can be used to communicate empathy and show that brands recognize what their customers are going through. For example, in a heartfelt note from Will Gleason, the Editor of Time Out New York, he explains that the company’s logo change was put in place not only to echo the current reality, but also to express that New Yorkers will get through these tough times together. Similarly, in the video revealing their logo change, Volkswagen expresses the importance of sticking together and supporting one another as a community throughout social distancing.

However, while this seems to makes sense upon explanation, the logo change itself may not be enough to convey the message. It all depends on the image. For example, Time Out New York’s logo change includes a temporary cross out, alluding to the hope that things will change in the near future. In contrast, Audi’s standalone ring separation seems dismal. Ultimately, the impact of the logo change comes down to the brands’ execution and the customers’ perception.

Zoom Backgrounds

With everyone working from home, Zoom has taken over as the main method of communication. Dunkin’, Jack in the Box, and Denny’s are just a few brands in the food business that have hopped on the trend. We’ve also seen backgrounds from our favorite networks like Fox and Nickolodeon, which are offering Peter Griffin’s living room and Spongebob’s pineapple house as potential videochat backgrounds.

My Evaluation:

The concept is cute, though some brands will fair better than others in this sphere. Having a cartoon house from your favorite TV show in the background is funny and quirky — but a coffee brand logo? Not so much. At the end of the day, if the goal is simply to keep on top of trends, there’s no harm in rolling out branded Zoom backgrounds. But we need to think carefully about what the customer is using the content for. People are either chatting with colleagues or friends online. Logo-heavy, promotional images don’t seem to fit in this context.

Games

Using games or contests for marketing isn’t a new concept — but it seems to be picking up during quarantine. Perhaps it’s because we’re all playing so many board games nowadays. One example of a brand that executed this strategy is Daily Harvest, a food delivery company centered on fruits and vegetables. On April 11, Daily Harvest partnered with Neil Patrick Harris to host a game of Bingo with the end goal of donating meals, raising spirits and offering prizes to customers (free flatbread!).

In a different vein, Hulu came up with the concept of ‘Binge Bingo.’ On Instagram, they posted boards with notable moments from their top shows. Other companies are joining bandwagon, like Postmates who recently posted a brain game puzzle on Twitter and Oreo, who is posting a variety of choose-your-adventure content based on the viral TikTok, “Pick Your Quarantine Player.

My Evaluation:

This concept is great! People are bored and holed up in their houses, so they are more likely to engage with this style of content than they would otherwise. By giving customers the ability to play or challenge themselves from the comfort of their homes, brands can help people feel a little better during these difficult times. If you can combine the games with philanthropy and a celebrity presence? Even better!

Final Takeaway

Despite the current situation, brands are moving fast to drive home the importance of social distancing and make the quarantine a little more bearable. Whether it’s by rolling out a game of Bingo or a new Zoom background, marketers are working hard to keep us all sane — and I think it’s working!Edit