Now that the world is starting to reopen, many brands are looking for ways to make up lost ground. While most have successfully turned to digital and virtual marketing efforts in recent months, there is an eagerness from both brands and consumers to return to live experiences.
As the world adapts to the ‘new normal’, it’s becoming increasingly clear that consumers are not only enthusiastic about these developments, but they are beginning to actively seek normality in their day to day routines. This can be seen by busier parks & public spaces, lengthy queues for stores & shopping centres and the reopening of many non-essential services.
This new wave of fresh-faced and receptive consumers is a prime time for brands to reconnect with their customers and there’s no denying that physical experiences/ sampling is one of the most effective methods to achieve this.
Here are 5 ways your brand can engage safely post-pandemic:
Direct to Home Experiences
Experiential brand activity has seen a shift in recent months, particularly for those who fall into the FMCG category. Brands are now having to rethink their strategies, with many bringing the experience to the customer…in the comfort of their own home. Once upon a time you had to trek it up to the highest pub in Ireland for a good seafood chowder but now as Johnnie Foxes’ say “You’ve been coming to ours for over 200 years, now we come to yours…”
Some brands and in particular restaurants & bars like Johnnie Foxes are bringing their products in front of mind for their consumers through their collaboration with the online shopping and delivery portals like Stuff U Need. StuffUNeed.ie came about in response to Covid-19 by a diverse group of suppliers and producers in a number of trades. You can order everything from your AAA batteries to a swish steak dinner & a bottle of vino – you can take the opportunity to dress up and have a fancy Friday or eat it in your PJs, ultimately the decision is all yours!
Lots of brands are facilitating what was considered out of home moments into in-home opportunities while they can. Check out these eighty fine food shops and restaurants delivering during lockdown.
Voice Activation Sampling
Over the duration of lockdown, we’ve been inundated with messages telling us to be cautious of what we touch and how long the virus lives on different surfaces. A key way to combat any unnecessary touching is through voice-activated sampling.
Coca-Cola has previously implemented voice-activated vending machines that were positively received by consumers. To add an element of gamification, these vending machines which were based in Sweden tested people’s capability to replicate the range of dialects the language is known for. Those who were successful received their complimentary sample of Coca-Cola. No physical contact required!
Door Drop Sampling
While traditional advertising is a great method of driving awareness, a lot can be said for experiencing a product first hand. Physically engaging with a sample significantly drives trial and consumption. Door drop sampling allows brands to get their product into the hands of their target audience whilst still adhering to government guidelines.
The cosmetic brand NARS has taken full advantage of consumers working from home during the lockdown. They have partnered with Spotify to allow those listening on smart speakers to request a free sample delivered directly to their home. Not only does this allow beauty enthusiasts to nab a freebie from a premium brand, but it also encourages interaction with the ad and the brand itself.
Another example that straddles Door Drop Sampling & Voice Activation Sampling would be the ‘Hey Alexa’ Campaign from Coca-Cola Energy, earlier this year. This campaign was rolled out with both physical installations and via Amazon Alexa. Voice assistants have proved to be a great asset in raising awareness of new products, acting similarly to Instagram ads.
Being Reactive with your brand.
Let’s be honest, life was turned on its head there for a while. Most of us went from rushing and running to all of a sudden being in one place, literally one space that had to adapt to being both a place of work and leisure. It was hard to define the two, the Friday feeling kind of got lost, how are you really meant to define the end of your day if your office was suddenly your kitchen table? Even still, as things slowly start to re-open many continue to work from home. There remains to be no pub to pop down to on a Friday night after work to kick off your weekend and if you forgot to order your cocktail ahead of time what’s left to do but make one yourself.
Many brands, alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverage brands in particular pride themselves on having a perfect serve. One guaranteed way to make their product taste it’s absolute best and the optimum way for you to enjoy it. However, Schweppes Spain decided if our routines are being reinvented, then we could also reinvent their drinking moment.
A call to action that invited the best of us. Because even if we didn’t have the perfect glass, the right ice, or the right ingredient, what we did have was Schweppes to drink it our way. In the kitchen, in the living room or on the balcony, every part of our house became a place where we could enjoy Schweppes no matter if the preparation wasn’t perfect.
The hashtags associated with this campaign were #TómatelaEnCasa & #VolveremosAlosBares
Loosely translated as ‘Take it at home’ & ‘We will go back to the bars’.
See the video here featuring a cast of real people and genuinely charming Schweppes:
Altering Existing Sampling Methods
As we emerge from the lockdown, many brands are keen to get back into the swing of things. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to sampling safely. Instead, we can implement measures to our existing assets to ensure the wellbeing of consumers & brand ambassadors is a top priority.
Simple alterations can be made to the sampling styles we already know work so well. Some re-active & COVID conscious ideas that we Vervies have been working on include: The Q Crew, a cost-effective guerilla product sampling team popping up at store queues and locations across the country with a fully customizable kit to suit either ambient or cold products. Or The Vending Van, a fully customisable vehicle with great street presence. Utilising an interactive screen for product & content display, along with possibilities for nationwide travel. Additionally, the voice or gesture activated sampling systems that we mentioned up above could also be implemented here for added contactless convenience.
However, don’t forget there are also ample options available for adapting existing kits/ resources, that will diffuse any concerns your consumers may have. Basic inclusions such as hand sanitizer, visible cleaning materials, and PPE for ambassadors will reinforce that you are empathetic to their concerns and are considering their welfare.