3 Brands Pivot To Content In Winning Ways As COVID-19 Rears Its Ugly Face

We had an interesting look at how three brands pivoted after COVID-19 hit in early March at Thursday's Email Insider Summit.

In a panel discussion on "Messaging the Crisis: Rethinking Content," Joshua Margulies, director of integrated brand marketing for the Jacksonville Jaguars (bottom left), spoke of how the brand went from being an event company to a social and digital company overnight. Since there was no live football, the Jaguars became a source of education, he said. "We moved from selling tickets to providing educational material that fans would appreciate." That included a video workout using household items, a nutritionist advising on "easy eats," and actual players reading books to kids.

"We used email to send out all the content we were producing at a very low cost," he said. "It worked really well." One thing they sent out was called Quarantine Content, a weekly newsletter that performed "incredibly well" and saw 8% to 12% lift on open rates.

Stephanie Fagan, director of email marketing at Spartan Race, Inc. (top right), also pivoted from event to content, with a daily newsletter focused on social video and workouts. In addition, they developed a free virtual race package which includes a personalized email with a finisher certificate that calls out the date one ran, finish time and virtual medal to share on social. Customers can also upgrade their package to get a physical medal, t-shirt and sponsor box. By offering upgraded packages, Spartan was able to get sponsor swag into the hands of customers and saw "an additional million in revenue," Fagan said.

Beardbrand copywriter Mike Lawson (bottom right) had some fun, since men were very interested in how to either grow a beard, trim one, or trim their own hair. After the CDC sent a graphic of 27 facial hair styles and how they could work with respirator masks, the Bandholz was born (named after founder Eric Bandholz) and even turned up on Colbert. Lawson sent out an email with the subject line, "CDC Says Bandholz Is Screwed," and cautioned its members to be wary of information. That email got a 30%+ open rate.

By the end of March, he said, "we saw corona beards trending on social" so Beardbrand sent out emails on how to grow and trim beards. "All our content centered around what to do with additional hair showing up on your face and head." Newsletter subscription grew by 40%, with click-through rates up two percentage points. "It was easy to jump on the momentum that was there."

Lisa Singer, event editorial manager at MediaPost, who moderated the discussion, is at top left.

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