COVID-19 has upended life as we know it on every level, for every person in our communities and around the world.
With no clear timeline for a vaccine and no end in sight to social distancing, Zoom meetings, masking, binge-watching streaming services (or is that just me?) and more limited social interactions, work and life as we know it has changed for good.
COVID-19 has made us press the “pause” button in life. And with that comes some natural introspection.
- What’s important to me?
- What do I care about most?
- How am I living my values and purpose at home and at work?
People aren’t the only ones doing serious introspection. Brands are reflecting on their purpose, too. Being a purpose-driven brand is nothing new, but it is taking on new and different meaning.
Purpose should drive your brand
Why? Here are three things we know to be true:
- People, specifically younger generations, increasingly want to buy from brands serving a greater good. This is leading to brands devoting effort to their purpose like never before.
- 80% of consumers say when they buy a product from a purpose-driven company they feel they are doing some part in making a positive impact. — Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study
- Purpose-driven companies are able to create a more emotional, profound bond with their consumers. Marketing is no longer about selling something and persuading people to buy a product – the company has to stand for something. This position of purpose, leading the way for all decisions within the organization, never rings more true than during times of crises.
- Brands built to connect with their consumers emotionally and sincerely are in a position to not only survive but thrive. In times of uncertainty, it’s only natural to look for answers and reassurance, we crave a human and real connection.
A case study: Practice Social Compassion
LCMC Health, a five-hospital not-for-profit healthcare system based in New Orleans, was at the epicenter of the first wave of COVID-19. At a time of great uncertainty when brands and businesses paused their more traditional marketing initiatives aimed at consumers to “buy” or use services that suddenly felt hollow, there was an explosion of cliched blandness when it came to COVID-19 advertising – check out “Every COVID-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same” from Ad Age.
LCMC Health chose to double down on its vibrant and human-focused brand to break through the clutter of content. With the rapid surge of COVID-19, they had an opportunity to emphasize the role they play in the community and to show how they live their “WHY.”
By launching a compassionate and empathetic crisis communication campaign, LCMC Health spoke directly to the uncertainty and challenges their community was facing in a direct and honest way, becoming a trusted source for accurate information.
The campaign held true to the brand voice and personality while putting a human connection, not a sales goal, first. The hospital system used marketing components including outdoor billboards, TV and radio ads, digital ads on Google and Twitter, and a robust Facebook and Instagram marketing push, all driving to a cohesive website with unified messaging. https://www.lcmchealth.org/about-lcmc-health/little-extras/
LCMC took the phrase “practice social distancing,” something we hear almost daily, and used it in an inspiring and hopeful way to show strength in the New Orleans community despite this new physical distance.
One heart, one community
To back up their mission of putting their patients and community at the heart of their work, LCMC Health created a community website that highlighted the community it served. The website:
- Told stories from frontline heroes, shedding light on the work being done daily. It featured people from across the spectrum of employees, from ER doctors to housekeeping staff, giving them an opportunity to share what they were seeing and feeling firsthand. The unfiltered videos were often filmed on smart phones and gave an honest and vulnerable look from the frontline.
- Served as a hub to share photos, news, and important COVID-related resources.
- Served as a local message board for the community to thank frontline workers, and for hospital staff to share why they’re dedicated to the community. To date, staff have received more than 1,170 “thank you’s” from grateful New Orleanians.
Even the content shared on social media visually reaffirmed the brand and infused personality into their crisis responses. The hospital system used New Orleans vernacular to speak to their audiences with phrases like “It’s not personal darlin’, but keep your social distance,” and visuals of a crawfish boil to drive home the message of hand hygiene and not touching your eyes and face.
The overall views and engagement metrics on social media, the website and YouTube more than doubled, showing that an emotional connection delivers results:
- With all calls-to-action and click through’s driving consumers to the community webpage, it received nearly 18,500 pageviews in only eight weeks, from more than 15,800 new visitors, turning it into the most viewed landing page on their website.
- 45.7k people watched the Facebook videos to completion. The average number of completed views for Facebook ads during a similar period are typically under 15K views.
- YouTube ads had a strong 50% view rate (1 in 2 people watched the ads).
LCMC Health’s crisis response campaign held true to its brand platform and purpose and further solidified their position as a trusted brand in the New Orleans community.
The world is shifting, and purpose should be at the forefront of good marketing. Like in the LCMC Health campaign, brand purpose and brand “WHY” need to be consistently seen through platforms and channels to be believed. Sticking to your mission that serves the greater good is not just a recommendation, but a survival technique to stay competitive.
Morgan & Co. has partnered with purpose-driven brands such as LCMC Health for more than two decades, helping turn their marketing vision into a reality. A big thank you to the LCMC Health team for the opportunity to be part of such outstanding work and results. Let Morgan & Co. help you get clear on what your purpose is and set a strategic marketing strategy to showcase how it drives your brand.
This blog was a collaboration between LCMC Health and Morgan & Co., and was co-authored by Christine Albert, SVP, Marketing and Communications, LCMC Health, and Eric Morgan, President/CEO of Morgan & Co.