Allllrighty then! We have made it to week 4 of this quarantine life! Congratulations...? I hope you are keeping busy, and I see some of you are because as the days pass, more brands are figuring out how to show up during these unprecedented times.
For the first time ever, everyone has a captive audience. Everyone. You, me (check out my IG, lol, jk), ya mama'nem, your play cousins down the street, and all the brands big and small. And with everyone's eyes glued to a screen, the question is, how do you make sure they are looking at you?
So let's talk about what the brands have been doing to stay relevant in top of mind in this newfound entirely virtual-only landscape.
Week 1 - Lounge Wear
It felt like with the flip of a switch (flip, flip), every clothing brand began advertising the loungewear. Fast fashion online-only companies like Boohoo and ASOS amped up their lounge comfy wear communications with the quickness. I'm currently sitting here trying to think about how different oversized hoodies would look from the waist up.
Week 2 - Delivery/Fast Food Ads
Everyone wanted you to know that they will bring the food to you. They got you, don't worry. Free delivery for everyone! But Burger King had a little something extra they wanted to push, and somehow they found a way to shoot a whole spot amidst social distancing measures. I have my speculations, see here.
Side Note: Also shoutout to JP for being my first boss and the reason I claim to know anything about social strategy. Like for real.
And then week 3 rolled around, and as the IG Live Beat battles became more and more popular, I saw a few brands pop by to ya know, show face.
Week 3 - IG Live Beat Battles
Started by two of the most iconic producers of all time, Timbaland and Swizz Beats took to their IG live to have a beat battle of their hits. And thus, the littest part of quarantine was born. The first battles consisted of Scott Storch vs. Mannie Fresh, Ne-Yo vs. Johntá Austin, and The Dream vs. Sean Garrett.
And after having missed all of those, I finally caught the T-Pain vs. Lil Jon battle. Arriving fashionably late, I got there just in time to see Dave Chappelle make his entrance, I ran into Usher by the bar, I watched Charlemagne yelling out score numbers nobody cared about, went and said whaddup to my Texas folk Bun B & Trae, before walking through a cloud of smoke coming from Wiz's section.
But on the other side of the club, I saw ViceTV ( The white boys that love hip hop section.), FashionNova (The hype section where every song was "their jam."), Netflix (I'm gonna assume this was the Strong Black Lead section), Sports Illustrated, and Express USA who randomly jumped on the dance floor. Seeing Express show up with such confidence sent me further down this metaphorical rabbit hole, of who and how brands can tap into this new activation of IG Live. The way I see it, here are 3 ways brands are pulling up to the function.
[Qualifier: I'm using "guy" because we all know most of these CEOs and CMOs are old white men. So for personification reasons, we must accurately envision who is at the party. Thank you for understanding.]
The Guy Who Overheard About the Party.
You're really just there to see and be seen. You show up, you know the music, learned some of the dances real quick, when they say "to the window" you already know what's next. You're hoping to run into someone you know, but really this is all new for you. As long as a few people see your face, your job here is done. [Building Brand Awareness]
The Quiet Guy Holding Up the Wall.
You just came to see what is going on here. Everyone was talking about it, but you don't really know the host. You're having fun while here, mainly because you keep running into famous people, you know, but never thought you'd be in the same room with. You'll make your way to the dance floor, but for now, you're just happy to be here. [Market Research]
The Nerdy Guy with Rhythm
You can show up to the party with confidence, maybe even bring a few friends with you just to hype you up. And just when everybody expects you to be the wallflower, you show off your newest moves to land yourself on The Shaderoom the next day. (In a good way) [Building Brand Affinity]
The nerdy guy with rhythm is the evolution of a brand's persona on Twitter. The most talked-about brands on Twitter garnered new audiences and became popular because their tone surprised us. I mean, who would have expected Wendy was a chick who starts beefs and rap battles in 1969? IG Live comments are pushed to the top for verified social profiles, so verified brands who engage in these live sessions are sure to get eyes on whatever they say. This is your opportunity as a brand to call on your best and most connected writers and trust them to develop a brand voice that is authentic to both the brand, the audience, and the culture.
At my agency, we do an exercise when getting to know new clients where we asked them, "What celebrities would you brand hang out with?" IG Live virtual parties have opened the door for brands to do exactly that… ya know until Instagram figures out a way to make it an ad. But until then, we sit and wait for the first brand-sponsored IG Live battle. Look out for that quiet guy in the corner, he's already pitching it to his boss.
As always, these are just my thoughts and guesses, and may your day be filled with peace and blessings!
You can check out all the battles here.