In 2019, we featured empathic marketing in our monthly “Brand Moves We Love” blog posts. Last year, we highlighted companies we thought were humanizing innovation in our “Innovations We Love” monthly feature. For 2021, I’m challenging the team to find and feature “Strategies We’re Watching” to highlight interesting, empathy-driven choices that brands and companies are making.
At SEEK, we believe that the best strategies involve an empathic understanding of a human need. Lately, I’ve noticed meaningful shifts in marketing strategies and innovation choices that I think are worth sharing and keeping tabs on. These are my interpretations of various corporate strategies. Read on to see what has caught my attention and then let's have a conversation about the empathic strategies that have caught yours!
THE STRATEGY: Shifting portions of Super Bowl advertising dollars to charitably support coronavirus vaccination awareness
THE PLAYERS: Budweiser, Coke, and PepsiCo
Why I’m Watching: Some of the biggest brands with the most entrenched Super Bowl advertising history have made the choice to donate a portion of their standard advertising budget to benefit the greater good: vaccination awareness. This is a brilliant move that shows how brands can demonstrate empathy without sacrificing smart strategy. Here’s why I think so:
I will definitely be keeping an eye out to see how this impacts these brands through the Super Bowl and beyond.
THE STRATEGY: Expanding into emerging food categories, starting with plant-based meat alternatives
THE PLAYERS: PepsiCo and Beyond Meat
Why I’m Watching: As a long-time vegetarian, every choice big companies make to support plant-based meat alternatives gets my attention. As more consumers consider meatless alternatives, (either for health, environmental, or ethical reasons) enhancing variety and distribution will be critical in capitalizing on this trend. Accessibility has been a barrier for meat alternatives historically, and this move seems primed to remove those barriers, providing consumers more options in more channels at more accessible price points.
This strategic partnership is definitely one to watch to see how Beyond Meat leverages PepsiCo’s marketing and commercial strengths to bring more plant-based products to market while also creating a more sustainable food chain. This seems like a major win for Pepsi Co, Beyond Meat, the environment, vegetarians, and the veg-curious consumers alike.
THE STRATEGY: Committing to company culture and community building
THE PLAYER: Amazon
Why I’m Watching: While some companies abandoned their headquarters in 2020, I am encouraged to see Amazon take a different long-term approach and commit to building a physical facility for their HQ2 employees in Virginia. While this decision may have been driven by other factors, I see huge benefits to company culture, local market culture, and ultimately talent retention. If all corporations abandon their downtown headquarters, the negative impact on local economies and cultures will eventually impact employee satisfaction.
I strongly believe that happy employees are the key to happy consumers and strong business results. Investing in this office space is an investment in both their employee wellbeing as well as the local Arlington community. Providing employees a workspace that supports productivity and community should pay off for Amazon, especially considering what we are collectively experiencing during the COVID pandemic. I will definitely be checking back in when construction is complete and employees start moving in.