Pivot and re-strategize quickly became the marketing mantra in the wake of COVID-19. But what does that mean for PR folks who still need to help clients tell their brand story? Better yet, how can you help a client tell their story that is consistent with the pandemic-dominating narrative in the media right now?
The fact is you can still tell your client’s brand story–just a different side of it.
The coronavirus has taken over headlines across all media platforms. Unless your product is tied to a relevant cause, trying to pitch a new product right now seems insensitive and will probably be harmful to a brand in the long-run. Take a step back and think about the qualities your client or product possesses that would be relevant and in demand right now to help re-think your PR. If it helps, pull out that branding questionnaire you gave your client at the first meeting!
The pivotal “a-ha moment” came easy with Mantooth’s client, Loveland Big O Tires. Loveland Big O Tires is a family-owned and community-driven company that is always looking for ways to give back to the people that have helped them stay in business for over 27 years. They host many efforts throughout the year that serve to give back to those in need in our community–and that includes moms!
Seven years ago, owners Laura and Dana Foote wanted to make sure that moms in a nursing home knew they weren’t forgotten on Mother’s Day. They delivered 25 potted flowers to moms in one home. After receiving many thank you cards and positive feedback, the Footes decided to make it an annual tradition. However, this year, in the face of the pandemic, the Footes weren’t sure if they were going to be able to deliver the flowers. With visiting restrictions and moods being dampened by the virus, they knew it was more important than ever to try to make the flower deliveries happen. We were all thrilled when four assisted living facilities agreed to receive the flowers, under specific safety protocols.
That’s when the a-ha moment came. We immediately knew that if this initiative brought us this much joy, this story would bring just as much joy to others. It was a story that was timely, relevant and most importantly–needed.
Getting attention from reporters right now is difficult, but there is reception to stories that are showing the silver lining of this pandemic. That is, stories that show neighbors helping neighbors, charities helping those in need, and community efforts like this one from Loveland Big O Tires. Although the Footes have been doing this for years, the Mother’s Day program holds a different meaning this time, making it much more important for people to see.
The local newspaper, Loveland’s Reporter Herald, has been doing a great job finding these silver-lining stories and sharing them with the community. We knew they would be responsive to the Loveland Big O Tires Mother’s Day program. After an email and phone call to different reporters, it was confirmed that they would cover the story!
Approximately 180 flowers were ordered from another Mantooth client, Fossil Creek Nursery, who generously provided the flowers at cost. Deliveries were scheduled for the Friday before Mother’s Day so they could sit for 48 hours with no contact before being distributed to residents. This timing proved to be ideal, because it allowed the Reporter Herald to send a photographer and reporter to document the deliveries and get quotes from a couple of the facility directors.
The flowers were personally delivered by Laura and Dana Foote, along with Mantooth staff members to four different assisted living centers in Loveland: Good Samaritan Society, Aspen House, Lakeview Commons, and Brookdale Mariana Butte. Careful to follow social distancing and safety precautions, each of the facilities were happy to pose for photos and assist in receiving the flowers.
There were many happy faces at each of the facilities, and we left with the satisfying feeling one only gets after doing a good deed. As northern Colorado/Cheyenne, Wyoming’s Big O Tires’ marketing agency, we were thrilled to see the story on the front page of the Sunday (Mother’s Day) edition! Big O Tires in Loveland were grateful. They never looked for recognition for their Mother’s Day program in the past, but it was certainly a good feeling to share it this year.
As much as it’s important for the media to keep the public on top of safety guidelines, reported virus cases, and spotlight frontline workers, they understand that it’s become equally important to shed some positive light on a lot of the darkness that is happening. Right now, clients like Loveland Big O Tires continue to service the community – they’re just doing it in a different way. We are all essentially communicators and it’s our job to bring the different ways businesses are helping the community to the surface. This Mother’s Day tradition shows the care and empathy Loveland Big O Tires has for their community, and it brought a much-needed boost to not only the moms who received the flowers, but for all of us, too!