Adjusting to the new normal: 5 brands that are nailing it

by Nathan Rothfield

As Melburnians adjust to mandatory mask laws and further lockdown restrictions this week, it’s become even more apparent that the world we once knew is drifting further away.

This is especially relevant for marketers.

COVID-19 has drastically changed the way brands interact with their audiences with some playing it ‘safe’, and others coming up with some truly inspiring and disruptive campaigns.

It is up to marketing teams to find new ways to build trust, relevance, and connectedness through their brands. To strengthen relationships with existing clients and forge new relationships with potential clients.

Striving for the right emotional response.

Brand-building is an excellent predictor of long-term growth, and emotional investment plays a large part in that growth. However, the pandemic has created a negatively charged emotional environment.

How can brands and businesses navigate this environment?

It starts with accepting and acknowledging the pandemic in all marketing communications and not deliberately avoiding the issue. Again, consumers want to know that a business is meeting this situation head-on. They also want brands to be empathic and, although clichéd, to focus on the positives.

Indeed, marketing teams should prioritise creating positive emotions over making direct mention of the value of their products or services. To do the latter would be to give the impression of a business out of touch with the emotional needs of their clients. Overt self-promotion, especially during a pandemic, is insensitive and self-serving.

Furthermore, it is vital that marketing campaigns be delivered tastefully. While tasteful during a pandemic can be tricky, content needs to be flexible and serve a few different purposes. It should be helpful, engaging, and provide value while being aligned with the goals and values of the business.

So, who’s doing it right?

Great Northern

Great Northern Brewing Co has launched a campaign aimed at showcasing Australia’s favourite outdoor locations to help kick-start Aussie tourism.

To complement the campaign, their website features a map of the top spots for fishing, camping, and off-road experiences with recommendations directly from road-trippers who had holidayed at the locations.

The result: distinctly Aussie and well crafted.


Meditation app Headspace is providing free mental health support for frontline healthcare workers.

Headspace’s thoughtful and targeted messaging received wide spread attention and praise and is an excellent example of tasteful promotion.


In the early stages of the pandemic, Guinness crafted a ‘St Patricks Day Message’ campaign.

The video is uplifting and emotional and strikes the perfect balance between humanising the brand and showing value. The results have been excellent, with 21% of people in a recent interview saying they would share it.

This campaign highlights the power of bringing people together during uncertain times.


To help bring sport back to the people and encourage downloads of the Covid Safe app, TAB launched the ‘Long May We Play’ campaign.

The TVC, ‘Requiem for a pie’, is particularly memorable and reminds us that whilst the footy might be back, our rightful place in the stands is yet to be restored.

Fairmont Hotels

The ‘The Art of Waiting’ campaign features the staff of the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel—and it’s brilliant!

The hospitality industry is in dire straits at the moment—so it’s nice to see Fairmont including their team in social content.

This simple yet entertaining series of short videos highlights the brand’s sense of fun while (hopefully) encouraging future bookings.

Who knows what the rest of 2020 will bring.

What we do know is that brands will need to work harder and smarter to weather the COVID storm. Thinking outside the box and staying true to your brand identity is a step in the right direction. I hope these examples have provided some inspiration.

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