Inspiration to keep brands growing in crazy Covid times

During a recent brandgym partner call we agreed on the need to cut through the doom and gloom dominating the news headlines, with the media having decided their main job is to scare the sh**t out of us all. In this post we focus on the positives of the last six months, highlighting inspiring examples of brands that have managed to keep moving forward during our crazy Covid times.

The inspiring brand examples cover four different growth challenges, depending on the impact that Covid-19 has had on consumer behaviour (see below).

The brands featured also illustrate the ABCD of effective marketing in the COVID-era that we posted on last week here: more agile to respond to constant change, business-focused, staying close to consumers and driving digital channels. 

Challenge 1 = RESCUE: CLUB MED 

Challenge: The first and biggest challenge is faced by the many businesses who have been forced to close down altogether, such as holiday resorts, theatres and conferences. It is this sudden and complete shutdown of supply that makes this crisis unlike any seen before. The specific challenges here are to conserve cash, maintain awareness and where possible ‘pivot’ to create new revenue sources.

Inspiring example: While its resorts were closed, Club Med provided home activity kits for the whole family including exclusive resort recipes, at-home play activities, mini spas for kids and virtual dance parties. This helped out parents whilst bringing the brand to life and keeping it top of mind, for the time holiday bookings re-opened. 

Challenge 2 = RE-START: EAT OUT to HELP OUT

Challenge: The second challenge is faced by businesses that were forced to close but are now re-opening, such as restaurants and bars. The specific challenges here are to ‘kick-start’ demand by tempting back cautious customers, reassuring them on health & safety precautions. The need for agility and responsiveness remains key for these businesses, given constant and sudden changes in government policy. Today, for example, the UK government announced that bars and restaurants will have to close after 10pm.

Inspiring example: Rushi Sunac, the UK Chancellor, launched ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ to encourage cautious consumers to start eating out again, boosting the economy and protecting 1.8million jobs in the hard-hit hospitality sector. The simple, clear proposition offered £10 off every £20 spent Monday – Wednesday. As we posted on last week, this scheme help boost dining out way above 2019 levels.

Challenge 3 = RESPOND: TENZING

Challenge: The third challenge is more positive and requires brands to tap into and respond to emerging needs. Staying close to consumers and being agile are especially important here, with opportunities to accelerate the roll-out of relevant innovation. 

Inspiring example: Natural energy drink Tenzing brought forward the launch of a new Blackberry & Açaí version, to respond to needs for active drinks as more people took up home fitness during lockdown. Tenzing also boosted its share of voice, investing as bigger rivals cut marketing spend. Fortune followed the brave in this example, with Tenzing enjoying a record month of sales in June.


Challenge: The fourth and best challenge to face is where a brand has benefited from a ‘spike’ in consumer usage triggered by lockdown, with examples including online grocery delivery, online fitness and video meeting software. Here, the specific challenges are reinforcing behavior changes to encourage continued use and reconfiguring supply chains to keep up with demand.

Inspiring example: NordicTrack’s communication seeks to reinforce new behaviours of using digital home exercise equipment. A spike in new trialists drove category growth 20% during lockdown. The ‘Face Off’ campaign seeks to encourage continued use as gyms re-open, showing how online workouts can foster friendly competition and connection. 

In conclusion, we are in for another few challenging months with turbulent times ahead. Hopefully, the examples shared in this post provide some inspiration to encourage you to keep moving and tackling head on the specific challenges your brand and business faces.