In a matter of months, the world and our behaviors have dramatically changed. In the midst of a pandemic and protests in our streets, our physical and mental health is a top priority: maintaining it, protecting it and (for the physically infected and emotionally affected) rebuilding it.
The restrictions, isolation and emotional turmoil bring the potential for those already struggling with mental health issues to have an even harder time — while also impacting those who previously have not suffered from mental health issues.
While true that mental health is an ongoing struggle and not a one-size-fits all-solution, marketers have an opportunity to provide offerings to support those in need during this time. Still, marketers wading into these waters need to understand what mental health is and the ways in which brands can provide meaningful support beyond virtue signaling.
Provide utility. It doesn’t matter what type of product you are; every brand is now, or needs to be, a service offering. We are now, as marketers, all in the service industry when it comes to what we deliver to consumers via our marketing and media tactics.
Join the conversation, but enlist experts to help. Mental health is no longer an untouchable topic, and brands can be a part of the conversation. The more that we talk about mental health and wellness, the more comfortable these conversations become.
While nobody expects brands to be mental health experts, they will expect brands to enlist those experts who offer proper understanding of the nuances and range of needs, and the spectrum of coping mechanisms. Enlisting the right partner to help navigate these difficult conversations is the core of any successful strategy.
Educate and inspire. By embracing emotional intelligence -- the ability to understand, manage and use emotions in positive, forward-moving ways -- brands can help educate and empower people who struggle to find proactive, productive ways of managing their mental health.
For example, to support those in need of mental and emotional release during this tough time, LooksLikeYouNeedIceland.com lets site visitors release their pandemic-driven screams -- and then broadcasts those screams from speakers into the picturesque Icelandic wilderness, keeping the country top of mind while providing a fresh outlet.
Jansport, known for its backpacks, launched #LightenTheLoad, a Gen Z-focused campaign providing critical resources to manage the impact COVID-19 has had on their lives, with a focus on mental health support.
Sesame Workshop partnered with meditation app Headspace to launch Monster Meditations, a YouTube series featuring “Sesame Street” characters learning how to deal with stressful situations to help kids learn how to recognize and manage feelings.
Start by actively listening and applying consumer feedback to your marketing initiatives and campaigns. And, most importantly, commit to supporting your consumers throughout their struggles and providing tangible support and solutions to help them live better, healthier lives.