The word “unprecedented” has been used an unprecedented number of times to describe the current situation. We are living through the biggest public health crisis in a century, the Covid-19 pandemic. Our lives have changed in ways that would have been inconceivable only months ago.
But while there is change, there are also universal human truths that unite us. Love, discovery, purpose, success and connection. They are shaping the response to this crisis, locally and globally.
In Human Truths in a Time of Coronavirus, McCann Worldgroup’s Truth Central investigates how brands, businesses and organisations can leverage these truths to create change for good and play a meaningful role in this challenging time.
Self-isolation from family and friends, standing two metres apart in the queue for the supermarket, limiting your exercise to a two-kilometre circle. It’s fair to say that this pandemic has affected our social connections in ways we never could have imagined. But if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that connection finds a way.
With video chats, live-streamed exercise classes, Insta-fitness challenges, group chats and Zoom quizzes, we are finding novel ways to connect in the absence of human contact.
How can brands leverage connection?
Look for ways to bring people together and help them to form meaningful connections. Find a way to help people have fun, or help people to stay healthy, mentally and physically.
For some brands the path forward is clear. A gym can host group classes on Zoom, for example. But for some brands, finding a way to bring people together can be more difficult.
If this is the case for your brand, you could uplift a campaign already underway. Look for an external initiative that aligns with your brand values and reach out to see if you can help to amplify it or increase participation.
ITV have done this successfully with their support of the UK Government’s #Let’sTalkLoneliness campaign. They recruited a host of celebrities to encourage people to reach out to friends, family and loved ones to offset the loneliness that this crisis has both caused and exacerbated.
While the world waits for an effective treatment for and vaccination against Covid-19, discovery has never felt more important. But discovery goes beyond the medical world, into the realms of creativity and imagination.
1 out of 8 people globally say they would choose books or streaming media over medical supplies or pantry items as their only item to keep in shelter.This desire for discovery has resulted in an abundance of streaming options.
How can brands leverage discovery?
From giants like Netflix and Disney+, to online concerts hosted by megastars, the opportunities for discovery are limitless.
Our client, Microsoft Ireland is helping teachers, parents and children to not only connect with one another but to advance crucial STEM and 21st Century skills with DreamSpace HomeSpace.
They have created a series of online lessons that can be joined live or on-demand. These lessons equip students with basic computer science knowledge that will spark their creativity and urge them on to greater discoveries.
It’s all about playing to your strengths. In the two years that DreamSpace at One Microsoft Place has been open, they have welcomed over 20,000 students. Microsoft had the experience and expertise to make DreamSpace HomeSpace a reality. By adapting how they operate, Microsoft are creating change for good, at home, in schools and in the future workforce.
If you have a DIY brand, host Instagram live workshops demonstrating home improvements that can be made with items people already have. If you own a gallery, offer virtual tours or post video classes about pieces in your collection. Use the knowledge you have within your team and share it with the world.
Stats for Discovery
1 out of 8 people
globally say they would choose books or streaming media over medical supplies or pantry items as their only item to keep in shelter.
Success & Purpose
Success & Purpose
Humans measure success through a range of cultural markers; getting a promotion, buying a new car, or even a home. But now, 1 in 5 people globally are worried they will struggle financially because of this crisis.
This economic uncertainty could result in the collective reappraisal of social and economic life, success and the roles that brands play in people’s lives. In fact, when asked about any positive impacts associated with the pandemic, 54% of people globally think we will consider what really matters in life.
How can brands leverage success and purpose?
There are a lot of things about this pandemic that we will most likely want to forget. But it has also made us pay attention to the things we have always told ourselves were most important, but somehow neglected; health, family, community, nature.
To future proof your business, embrace the lessons we have learnt from this pandemic. Prioritise the health and wellbeing of your workforce. Make sure they have good work-life balance. And support your local community.
UK retailer The Co-op is a great example. They are taking on 5,000 extra store workers to cope with increased demand, offering temporary employment to hospitality workers who have lost their jobs. While schools remain shut they are offering £20 weekly vouchers to pupils at Co-op Academy schools who usually receive free school meals.
The Co-op have also updated their loyalty programme, allowing members to donate their member’s rewards to the Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund which will help support food banks, a funeral hardship fund and other frontline community causes. Co-op’s chief executive Steve Murrells has promised to top up the fund by donating 20% of his salary for three months. Now that is creating change for good.
Stats for Success & Purpose
1 in 5 people
globally are worried they will struggle financially because of this crisis.
54% of people
globally think we will consider what really matters in life.
As a pandemic of fear grips the world, the desire to protect those we love is magnified. It can be hard to empathise with ‘panic-buyers’ when looking at sparse supermarket shelves, but they are often driven by the urge to protect their loved ones. Panic buying is no surprise when we consider that 1 in 3 people globally are worried that their country is going to run out of necessary supplies.
And while some personal relationships will suffer during increased proximity, it is also a time when people realise how wonderful it is to have more time to spend with those we love, whether physically or virtually. 39% of people believe that one potential upside to the pandemic is that we will spend more time with our families.
How can brands leverage love?
As we foster our relationships in a new set of circumstances, organizations of all kinds have the opportunity to support, guide and inspire us with actions that strengthen our bonds of love.
For those with loved ones who are battling Covid-19 in hospital or care homes, not being able to visit to provide care and comfort can be heart-breaking. To help alleviate this, Irish retail giant Penneys are donating 6,000 care packs to patients who have no means of getting a fresh change of clothes or toiletries from home. The packs include over 45,000 products including leggings, T-shirts, underwear, socks, and pyjama sets.
Penneys have also donated over 900 products to help create ‘home from home’ rooms for HSE staff staying in temporary accommodation. While these actions cannot replace the embrace of a loved one, they can offer comfort to families across the country.
Look for meaningful moments that cannot be fulfilled in the normal way. Is there space for your brand there? Could you help to bridge the gap of physical distancing, offer solace to those cocooning alone, help people to show their love remotely? Anything that can bring comfort in this–yes we’ll say it–unprecedented time could help to spread love for your brand.
Stats for Love
1 in 3 People
globally are worried that their country is going to run out of necessary supplies.
39% of people
believe that one potential upside to the pandemic is that we will spend more time with our families.
This global pandemic is changing the world. The society that emerges from this crisis could be a more just, kind and caring one. Rather than seeing that as a challenge, see it as an opportunity to create change for good.