During the past two months, we’ve seen brands adapt their digital marketing activities to reflect global events. 

As businesses have been forced to suspend or shut down operations, many have capitalised on increased social media usage to stay connected with consumers in isolation.

Here are just a few of the most creative examples of social content from the past few weeks.

Getty Museum

Museums might be closed, but the Getty Museum in California has been encouraging social media users to continue celebrating their love for art during lockdown. Back in March, it launched the ‘Getty Museum Challenge’, in which it asked social media users to recreate their favourite artwork using just three objects found around the house.

The challenge caught the imagination of serious art lovers (as well as a few rather bored souls, clearly), resulting in tens of thousands of responses across social media platforms. Some of which, like the below example, are particularly inspired.

What started out as a seemingly spontaneous and fun way to connect with fans has generated some well-deserved engagement for the Getty Museum, also showing others in the art world how social media can be utilised for fun even during testing times.

Denny’s

Denny’s is known for a humorous tone on social media, which is perhaps why it took a backseat as the impact of coronavirus first hit. At the time, of course, Denny’s was also dealing with the closure of its diners, before it took the decision to extend its delivery service.

Since returning to Twitter with a statement from its CEO, Denny’s has reverted back to its usual style on social, creating regular lighthearted and relatable content. Two standout examples include a collection of Denny’s themed Zoom backgrounds (which nobody asked for) as well as the brand getting involved with Animal Crossing (an increasingly popular brand channel).

Speaking about the move, a representative told Nintendo: “Denny’s saw that fans were already creating their own “Denny’s” in Animal Crossing, using the props and décor provided. So, we decided to approve these make believe locations and create a network of digital Denny’s chains and franchise owners.”

By maintaining its recognisable tone of voice (without being insensitive to the current climate) and tapping into cultural trends during isolation, Denny’s has brought some much-needed light relief to Twitter.

Yorkshire Tea

Yorkshire Tea gained some accidental exposure back in early March, when chancellor Rishi Sunak posted a photo of himself next to a huge bag of their tea. Faced with an onslaught of accusations about political bias (when in fact Yorkshire Tea had nothing to do with the photo), the brand managed to turn around sentiment with a series of deliberately direct Tweets (though did face criticism in some quarters for being overly confrontational).

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Yorkshire Tea has continued to capitalise on increased social media engagement with its sarcastic and fun style of content. Like Denny’s, it’s strategy is to use humour to entertain and bring some light-hearted relief to users, as well as help to relieve any isolation-related boredom. A particular favourite has been its ‘Brew-Themed Bangers’ Spotify playlist, which includes relevant hits such as ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ and ‘4 Minutes’ by Justin Timberlake.

Yorkshire Tea may have gained some inspiration from Greggs’ social media strategy, which is similar in tone and style of content. However, with an overlapping target audience to the nation’s beloved bakery chain, this is no bad thing.

Alexander McQueen

The luxury fashion industry has been affected by Covid-19, with brands forced to shut stores and suspend operations. This has resulted in increased digital engagement, however, as brands strive to maintain engagement with consumers online.

Alexander McQueen is one brand that has been successful in doing so, launching its ‘McQueen Creators’ campaign back in early April. Aiming to “inspire and initiate creative conversation”, the campaign involves asking users on social media to get involved with a new creative concept each week. The very first was to sketch and upload an interpretation of the final rose dress from Autumn/Winter 2019. Users are asked to tag their photos with the hashtag #McQueenCreators in order to get the chance to be featured on the Alexander McQueen channel.

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McQueen Creators. Each week we will be asking you to be part of our creative community, working together from home on a series of projects; sometimes with some inspiration from the McQueen team and collaborators in the form of digital tutorials. This week we invite you to sketch the Autumn/Winter 2019 Rose dress with us. Find your sketchbook and chosen materials. Screenshot the picture you’d like to sketch from the upcoming series of images. Sketch, colour or paint your favourite image. Then take a picture and share your final piece on Instagram by tagging @AlexanderMcQueen #McQueenCreators to be featured on our channel. Share your creations with us by Monday 6th April to be featured on our channel. #StayAtHome

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With its creative and interactive elements, the campaign has been effective for generating continued engagement, as well as fostering a sense of community and togetherness for fans of the luxury brand.

Brewdog

According to a study by ListenFirst, social media engagement with alcohol brands was up 327% in March compared to the same month in 2019. This is not too surprising given that consumers cannot head to pubs, bars, or restaurants – meaning that many are looking to replicate this kind of experience at home. As a result, we’ve seen a lot of entertainment-driven content from alcohol brands, such as drinks recipes, and online pub quizzes etc.

Brewdog is one brand that has gone all out on social media in the past few weeks, holding big digital events during times when people would traditionally be out celebrating. Its May ‘BlankHoliday’ involved a line-up of music, a tour of the new DogHouse hotel (the world’s first craft beer hotel), and a special version of its weekly pub quiz.

By asking people to register in advance, Brewdog successful ramped up anticipation of the event, ensuring that users would treat it like a night out (but in their own home).

British Gas

Finally, British Gas deserves a mention for its social media presence at the moment, which involves a combination of informative content and emotive marketing. With British Gas only carrying out essential repairs, the brand is using social media to help consumers solve common problems at home, with a series of instructional videos.

British Gas has also rolled out the latest social ad in the ‘Here to Solve’ campaign, which depicts a number of workers, from their own point of view, going about their typical working day during the pandemic. The ad is particularly effective for giving an insight into the daily lives of essential workers, without coming across as overly sentimental.

Moreover, the reason British Gas’ social strategy works is that it doesn’t feel either too serious or too light-hearted. Instead, it strikes a balance between the two, and effectively shows us how it is getting on with business as best as it can. This, in comparison to brands simply telling us what they’re doing in response to coronavirus, feels particularly reassuring.