If you’ve been a friend of ours for a while, you’ll know that our approach has always been Open and Honest. It’s a policy that’s served us very well since we first opened our doors in 2002.
It’s extremely important, especially on social media, to remain completely transparent with your audience – however not everybody follows this approach. Not to name any names but let’s just say that over the years, a few companies, celebs and influencers have missed the Open and Honest memo – landing them in some pretty hot water. However in recent times, more and more brands are adopting this mindset in order to let their audience know that they’re there for them – even in times of crisis.
I think it’s crucial, more than ever before, for brands to reassure their customers as best they can.
In a time that feels uneasy, people like to see relatable content filling up their feed. This can offer comfort, lighten the mood or just help to solidify in their mind the brands they want to interact with in the future. Besides, it’s how people act in times of need that can be a true reflection of their character right? Well, that goes for brands too.
I thought that I would take a look at a few popular brands and see what they’ve been doing (if anything) to remain authentic throughout COVID-19.
My colleagues would joke that I have the potential to be ASOS’ most frequent purchaser but jokes aside, ASOS’ brand values have always appealed to me so yes, I am a very loyal customer. However, after allegations were made about one of its competitors exploiting its workers, my favourite online store really upped its game.
ASOS is now utilising its social media and other digital communications by telling stories about how it protects the people in its supply chain, its use of sustainable materials and how both its garments and packaging can be recycled.
Reminiscent of the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, as consumers we sometimes don’t see ‘how the sausage is made’ which can sometimes feel unnerving and disappointing. With that in mind, although not directly related to the Coronavirus, this level of honesty is admirable – especially from such a big company. Well done ASOS!
The New York Times
With so much scaremongering going on during the most severe stages of the pandemic, it was hard to know what was fact and what was fiction. With worldwide influence and readership, The New York Times launched its ‘The Truth is Essential’ campaign – a simple ad that spoke volumes.
You can find the full video on YouTube but the ad was created to separate facts, such as ‘Social distancing helps’ and ‘The virus can be contained’, from fictional misconceptions such as ‘It’s not a way to control the population’ and ‘Bleach is not a cure.’
Again, when the world is in turmoil, this raw, unfiltered kind of news is what people desperately need. No opinion, no politics – just facts to help people come to terms with the craziness that surrounds them.
The New York Times; reliable, trustworthy and most importantly, honest about the news.
Last but not least, a brand that’s always up-to-scratch is Innocent drinks. Its social media team really deserves a pat on the back because they always manage to hit the mark – and the team’s approach to COVID-19 has been no exception.
Loneliness hit hard for many during lockdown but for most of us, Zoom, Facetime and Whatsapp filled that void – luxuries that a number of the older generation don’t have access to. So, at the start of the UK’s lockdown, Innocent encouraged people to donate to Age UK – a charity it has supported for over 15 years.
Next, they posted content such as ‘Useful things to do from your sofa’ and ‘100 things to do this weekend’ to encourage people to have a bit of fun whilst in isolation. They also launched the Bananaphone – a dedicated service that people could call if they wanted to chat. Sounds lovely but wait…there’s more.
Perhaps my favourite post of all, Innocent inspired people to connect with their loved ones the old fashioned way – by postcard. All you had to do was go to the website, write a note to someone and they would print a postcard and post it for free. Innocent joked that users wouldn’t even have to lick a stamp or leave the sofa; making it the perfect way for people to cheer up loved ones and friends during lockdown.
Innocent Drinks, we applaud you. As your logo would suggest, you truly are a bunch of angels.
I think after months of everyone feeling a little bit ‘off’, I for one appreciate brands that are opening up to their followers by taking a more honest and compassionate approach to their social media. Hopefully this authenticity continues even when COVID-19 is a distant memory.