Movers & Shakers | Brands of 2020
We’re all hoping that 2021 will be a year to remember, after the 2020 rollercoaster we just stepped off. We can still find inspiration in the last twelve months, and this is why I want to showcase some of the brands that excelled at making a difference last year.
As brands gear up for a new year, they must keep in mind that the most important social media trend will be that of socially conscious audiences. As mentioned in our Social Media Trends Report for 2021:
“Companies will have to engage more with topics like mental health, inclusivity, and social justice, or face becoming irrelevant and potentially obsolete in 2021.”
I chose these brands because they maintained a human relationship with their audience through 2020 by engaging in important topics. Some of the brands I highlight stood out with their own responses to the coronavirus pandemic, but others were noteworthy because they decided to lead campaigns that could drive change and make an impact. Here are the brands that made it to the Movers & Shakers list of 2020.
Here is a list of the brands that have made a difference in 2020, in case you want to skip ahead to your favorite:
- Nike | Showing they care
- Starbucks | Diversity inclusion
- Patagonia | Getting employees the time to vote
- LEGO | Creating tools from toys
- Tupperware | Reinventing itself
- Explore British Columbia | Staying inside
- Airbnb | Supporting healthcare workers
One brand that doesn’t cease to show its human side through its different outputs is Nike. Their campaigns are always connected to a deeper purpose, as is the case of their Play Inside, Play for the World campaign.
Launched last March, the campaign received a total of 97.3K mentions and 1M engagements. Nike’s message to stay inside and safe was supported by many players such as Virgil Van Dijk, Tiger Woods and Eliud Kipchoge. Teams such as the Lakers, Chelsea FC, and the US Soccer Women’s National Team also joined the message.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s tweet was still being liked and retweeted 9 months later.
The campaign echoed around digital channels, especially after Cristiano Ronaldo tweeted supporting the #PlayInside message. His tweet received 194.7K engagements, even more than Nike’s original message.
Launching a meaningful message is all about reaching a large audience, and for that you must not only rely on your brand, but on your partners and influencers, who can help you raise awareness towards your cause.
Starbucks’ goal is to be the ideal third-space for consumers, where they receive excellent customer service and personalization in their orders. The brand wants to have a friendly environment for all its customers, and that’s why it launched the #WhatsYourName campaign.
Focusing on trans and gender-diverse young people, this campaign was intended to cultivate lasting relationships with a group that has struggled to receive recognition for how they identify themselves. With a simple yet powerful message, Starbucks’ campaign video accompanies a young transgender person who navigates difficult and uncomfortable moments until called by their true name by a Starbucks barista.
The campaign won Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award in the UK, but most importantly received 288.3K engagements of mostly positive sentiment, especially from the LGBT+ community.
The #WhatsYourName campaign was praised by the LGBT+ community and received tons of positive, loving emojis.
The mermaid was one of the most shared emojis related to the campaign, and that’s because Starbucks not only created an awareness campaign, but also decided to donate 50p (67 US cents) of every limited-edition Mermaids cookie to the Mermaids charity in the UK. Supporting helpline services for the transgender community.
Starbucks not only created a safe space for its customers, it also financially supported a channel that serves a great purpose. Awareness campaigns are a great way to support a cause, and giving funds to an organization will strengthen your ties with a community.
Patagonia was a brand that I couldn’t leave out of this blog. The company is deeply involved in different activism movements, to the point that they consider, “They are in business to save our home planet”. This year, the brand popped up in the news for different reasons, but I want to highlight their leadership in the “Time to Vote” Campaign.
This message was spread throughout the United States as part of the Time to Vote initiative that Patagonia, Levi Strauss and PayPal created back in 2018, to ask companies to publicly commit to giving their employees the time to vote on upcoming elections.
For the 2020 elections, more than 1,300 brands publicly committed to this campaign. When looking at online conversations around the campaign it’s easy to see how Patagonia stood out, but also the number of important brands that were mentioned at the same time. This speaks to the importance of this initiative and could have been an important factor in the higher voter turnout for 2020.
Many important brands were connected to the Time to Vote initiative.
Patagonia not only cares about the environment through its business model, but also cares about the people it serves by creating and supporting campaigns that are not related to its clothing and gear. With this campaign, the brand has shown that it has a firm commitment to democracy, and that it will use its brand name to create awareness about topics that matter to them, and their audience.
Toys are not just for play, they are learning tools as well, and one brand that has championed this for years is LEGO. In August, LEGO launched its new Braille Bricks, as a tool to teach braille to blind and visually impaired children.
The world continues to move towards digitally focused learning, and this means that on a daily basis, less young people are learning braille, a language that is still required for visually impaired individuals to work, study and enjoy their lives. Using a play-based methodology, these bricks can help kids learn skills such as orientation, numeracy, and fine motor skills at the same time as they learn braille.
LEGO Braille bricks are a fun new way for children with visual impairment to learn Braille. The bricks are now available in 7 countries – with more coming soon! 😊 #RebuildTheWorld— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) August 20, 2020
Find out more here: https://t.co/TnFyMmfAkg pic.twitter.com/8Erdhx7ppu
LEGO’s official launch tweet received 7.2K engagements in about two weeks.
LEGO’s product launch was announced on social media, and not only did their tweet receive high engagement, but mentions around the product launch were all positive. Customers are more and more interested in seeing brands innovating towards areas that will result in positive effects to society.
Back in October 2019, sales for the Tupperware Brands Corporation were down. Patricia Stitzel, Tupperware’s former CEO stated that, “people just don’t have connection with the brand anymore.” Fast forward twelve months and the story has changed completely. Food storage containers have been an indispensable product in kitchen’s around the world during 2020.
Spending more time at home means having more meals at your otherwise unused dining table, whether it’s a home cooked meal or take-out food. This change in consumer behavior has driven Tupperware’s sales up by 14% in Q3 2020, and the stock price has increased over 300% since the beginning of the year.
Food storage containers were seen in a positive light during 2020, with their various uses and features being mentioned online.
Looking at what people said about Tupperware in 2020 we see that it was all very positive. People highlighted the different features of the products, the ways they used them, and even talked about tupperware parties, bringing back an activity that had not been seen much in a few decades.
The brand has not let its 2020 success go to its head. The pandemic is not the only reason why Tupperware has become more prominent during the last 11 months. The brand has partnered with Amazon Web Services to host virtual Tupperware parties, which have been especially popular during lockdowns. Tupperware continues to innovate their product line, all within its commitment to sustainability.
These actions have made the brand relevant in a year of uncertainty, and they expect this will continue in the future. Tupperware has shown that a brand needs to reinvent itself, and push its boundaries, regardless of the circumstances. They began to change their strategy while the brand was not doing well, but did not stop when they began seeing positive results.
As for travel & hospitality
Travel and hospitality are two of the sectors that have been struggling the most through 2020. Brands within these areas have suffered financially, including team restructuring, layoffs and even closing their operations. An additional hurdle has been to stay relevant in conversations through a year where COVID-19 has not allowed people to take full advantage of their services. Two brands have managed to stay connected to their audience and lead conversations in their space, considering tough times.
Destination British Columbia is one of the largest marketing agencies in Canada. Dedicated to showing people from all around the world the best places to eat, ski and travel in BC, the agency has always had a focus on attracting international travelers.
With the pandemic last year leading to travel restrictions and safety measures being imposed all around the world, the agency was put in a tough spot. Encouraging people to visit was not an option during the first few months of the year. For that reason, Destination BC tweaked their Explore BC campaign to Explore BC, Later, encouraging people to stay safe at home while sharing stunning photographs of their natural wonderland for people to visit once everything calmed down.
#ExploreBCLater was used by the agency to showcase beautiful landscapes that would be waiting for visitors once they could travel again safely.
The campaign received support from local news media as well as nature-lovers in different countries interested in visiting the area. A few months later, the campaign was used to support local businesses and tourism operators whose work had been halted for some time. Destination British Columbia launched a large campaign in June, when COVID-19 cases decreased, to develop experiences and recommendations for travellers.
Reading the context is important to adapt any ongoing campaign. Destination BC changed their priorities, and thought of its customers' health above all else. This message was appreciated in online conversations and generated great expectation for many who would take the opportunity to visit later on. The agency also did a great job at connecting this campaign to local businesses, and asking for people to support them next time they visited.
In March, coronavirus cases were increasing and countries were imposing quarantine. Many brands were put to the test and had to find ways to stay relevant and in business. One brand who suffered the effects of COVID-19 from the beginning was Airbnb, given that it was directly affected by reduced travel. The company decided that it needed to act and serve the greater good, even at this difficult time, and partnered with its hosts to help provide free or subsidized housing for 100,000 COVID-19 respondents around the world.
Airbnb will provide housing for 100,000 COVID-19 responders around the world.— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) March 26, 2020
Airbnb’s CEO shared the news and received 16.5K engagements on his tweet. The news was huge in the United States, but grew at a global level. Airbnb managed to stay relevant during a time in which its competitors struggled.
The message from Airbnb’s CEO reached many geographies, showing the global presence that the brand has.
Airbnb has made this a long-term effort as it announced at the end of last year that it would merge its current Open Homes and Frontline stays programs under Airbnb.org. This will be a way in which the brand can support refugees, people affected by natural disasters and frontline workers of COVID-19.
Airbnb was able to join the global COVID-19 conversation with a suggested solution, generating awareness around its brand, as well as a stronger relationship with its customers, who will surely remember this action once travelling is back for good.
You have seen what these brands did in 2020 to maintain a human relationship with their audience. Engaging in topics that are important to a brand’s audience will continue to be a defining aspect of successful companies in 2021. Make the best out of your year by following these steps:
Identify your target audience and understand their motivations and interests
Find a way to involve your brand in those conversations
Define how you will measure the success of this strategy
Structure your content and communications plan
Constantly monitor your efforts
Want to make the most out of your social media strategy in 2021? Download the report below to discover the social media trends that will be most relevant this year.