The world is a very different place to when I last wrote. Confirmed COVID-19 cases have tripled globally, countries from Guyana to Mongolia have developed their pandemic strategies and you don’t need me to tell you that most of us are on lockdown. Staying inside, social distancing and working from home is tough, but if we’re mostly suffering from Cabin Fever (and not another more virulent fever), we’re the lucky ones.
At Potentiate, we’ve been inspired by the innovation and speed with which brands have accepted the “New Normal” and responded to people in isolation. Here are just a few examples:
Music is a universal language and, with many people stuck at home, it’s one way that brands can spread joy.
• Decca Records (part of Universal Music Group) has set up “The Great British Home Chorus” live stream, alongside British composer and TV Presenter Gareth Malone, to boost morale. For many people, a local choir is a large part of their social calendar and, with communal spaces unable to operate, Decca Records stepped up offering people a chance to sing online.
• Boiler Room – an online music broadcasting platform based in London typically records DJ’s in front of huge audiences. Recently they launched their new series “Streaming from Isolation” giving audiences a direct window into artists’ homes and private spaces where they too are in quarantine. Boiler Room calls them “fundraising transmissions” and they are “a way to remain connected while apart”.
• Fashion and Beauty brand Princess Polly created a Global Online Party, so that people could tune into live music and live make-up tutorials on Instagram.
Many brands are tackling isolation by addressing people’s mental well-being.
• Ted Talks has responded by setting up “TED Connects: Community and Hope”, a “free, live, daily conversation series featuring experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this uncertain time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom.”
• Coursera and Yale University have offered a free online course on The Science of Well-Being, which launched in March and already has 1,153,774 people enrolled around the world. The course discusses the psychology of happiness.
• Psychology Tools adapted quickly, producing material with ideas for how to stay mentally healthy at home. See picture below.
For people who take part in team sports, attend fitness classes or are not used to home-cooking, brands are finding ways to keep physical well-being top of mind at home.
• Humming Puppy – a yoga studio chain, based in the USA and Australia, has set-up live streams for their yoga classes as well as free pre-recorded classes.
• Sebastian Terry, of 100 Things fame, spoke at the Potentiate “Disruptive, Smart, Innovative” event in February. During this difficult time his new peer-to-peer platform Kindsum is setting up Yoga For Kids in Isolation as well as Virtual Babysitting for parents working from home with their kids.
• Massimo Bottura a chef from the Netflix series Chef’s Table, is streaming a new Instagram series called “Kitchen Quarantine”. As the owner of Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Italy, he has the skills to teach viewers how to cook simple, family meals in isolation while his restaurant is closed for business.
Some brands are uplifting people with humour.
• Melbourne Zoo acted fast and set-up live streams of their animal enclosures, so that people could connect with nature from their bedrooms. Little did they know that one dancing zookeeper would keep live streamers entertained more than the penguins!
• Yulli’s Brews a Sydney brewery, has set-up a “Doomsday Hot Line”, where people are able to order “ice cold tinnies” with free delivery if they live locally. I also found humour in the “Buy Now, Drink Later” campaign by Alken-Maes. Knowing that beer is a way of life in Belgium, Café Solidair allows people to pay online for their beer in their chosen café, pub or brasserie now so they can drink them once the sector opens its doors again.
• Good Pair Days an Australian wine subscription service, is entertaining people with its clever and witty memes on social media. They also host “Weekly Wine Chats” where they discuss working from home and “wine’ing from home”.
Whilst I refuse to talk about the situation we’re in as an “opportunity”, history has shown that events like this accelerate the need for faster transformation and unity. For example, my local café Fleetwood Macchiato adapted quickly to COVID-19, creating a takeaway service complete with toilet paper, wrapped up sandwiches, coffee and cereals. They’ve called it Fleetwood Snackiato. With more and more brands adapting quickly to our needs, hopefully we will break the chain.
To find out more about how Potentiate can help you and your team, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.