Inspiration Station Vol. 21 – Community
2020 has been a lot. But out of the global disruption to people’s lives and industries, some good has emerged: We appreciate our communities again.
While the world stopped – people continued. We’ve adapted to unite in ways unlike ever before. Parents, grandparents and even colleagues came together, from afar.
Now the world remembers the power of community and we’re standing together once more. Businesses can no longer distance themselves. The collective identity is back. We’re all in this together.
Solidarity with your Community
Before we get onto the fun stuff, we must remember when earlier this year brands and their audiences around the globe stood together unlike ever before, to show solidarity for racial injustices, by boycotting all comms for #blackouttuesday.
Spotify added an 8m 46s moment of silence between songs to honour George Floyd. The length is equal to the amount of time he was in the restraint that caused his death, sparking universal outcry.
Similarly, Nickelodeon aired a video of someone breathing for the same time, displaying only the words “I Can’t Breathe” on a black screen.
Sony postponed its PlayStation 5 event due to ongoing protests as they “want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard.”
Nike released the video ‘For once, don’t do it’. The powerful play on its tagline urged people to not turn their backs on racism and unite for change. Nike previously set a precedent for brands standing up to racism with their advert featuring Colin Kaepernick.
In another show of solidarity, Nike’s longtime rival Adidas even shared Nike’s Twitter post, commenting: “Together is how we move forward. Together is how we make change”.
The world is now seeing the power of community. And brands must take a stance. We are all accountable.
Party Royale – Fortnite
Boasting 350+ million users, Fortnite is the biggest game in the world – and it’s just getting started. It has it’s own section in most major news websites and has seen a dizzying amount of mainstream activity in 2020. First there was the Travis Scott music tour, which featured 5x in-game events over the course of several days. It proved extremely popular; 27 million+ players joined the experience, including more than 12 million during the first virtual concert.
Then in May, Party Royale was introduced: a relaxed environment where you can hang out with friends. There’s an outdoor movie theatre and a club with towering holographic dancers… Even pirate ships! The entertainment space premiered with a free concert and recently saw Christopher Nolan debut the trailer for his latest film, Tenet. It seems the “Metaverse” (a theoretical virtual reality world that may replace the internet someday) is fast approaching. With brands trying to capture the minds of their communities, and members craving a common ground space to interact in, the potential for brands that harness these virtual communities is almost limitless.
Together Mode – NBA
The NBA is back and it’s brought its fans with it. They decided that their players couldn’t return without the atmospheric buzz of their community. The answer? Project more than 300 live fans court-side during games! Individually selected fans will appear together on huge video screens and will actually be able to interact with each other, all without leaving the comfort and safety of their homes.
That’s not to say the rest of the fans have been left out entirely, they’ll be able to support their team through “virtual cheering”. Fans can virtually cheer through the NBA’s app, website and through Twitter; all set to animations of fan love. Goodbye old world, it was nice knowing you… We’re loving this new futuristic one!
Eid & IKEA
It’s not just online either. People are physically standing together more than ever before, and this beautiful example shows how brands can speak volumes through simple gestures to unite a community: An Ikea store near Frankfurt handed over its car park to a local mosque for socially-distanced mass prayers and won praise online. Around 800 Muslims prayed in the large outdoor space to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Pictures of the Eid prayer posted on social media have been widely shared, with many complimenting the mosque for finding a safe way for the community to pray together. Authentic, feel-good actions are going to speak volumes for brands and their “personalities” in the new normal. People demand legitimate connection now.
When the world went into lockdown, practically every industry scrambled to pivot (one of the many overused buzzwords of the pandemic). In Australia, award-winning current affairs show “The Feed” set up a hotline to for people to leave their lockdown messages, with the objective of capturing some unique moments and bringing people together.
People responded with stories of hope and resilience, as they adapted to the once in a lifetime event. Each story is a small window into someone’s life, and when brought together creates a wonderful tapestry of community and intimacy. You can check out the time capsule-style project here.
Pride Riders – Burger King
So along with all other large gatherings, Pride parades around the world were unfortunately cancelled this year… But Burger King had other ideas for Spain. They insisted that “the Pride must go on”. And boy are we glad they did.
To stand by the LGBTQ+ community, this ingenious display of creativity sees their delivery bikes turned into spectacular floats, to fill the empty streets with colour and turn every delivery into a parade. How fabulous!
Together Apart – Stella Artois
Stella launched a pretty nifty creative initiative to encourage social distancing when socialising, with the #TogetherApartStreetArt project. The giant street art installation in London encouraged people to spend time together whilst maintaining a safe distance.
It’s an artistic way of bringing people together, in a safe way. We look forward to seeing more and more of this kind of thing over the coming months, as agencies come up with innovative ways to reunite brands with their audiences around the world.
LEGO is bossing it when it comes to community. LEGO Ideas is a space where fans can submit product ideas, participate in challenges, share unique creations, enter contests, vote for fellow fan designers, and more. Not only is it a great way to maintain audience engagement with the brand, it’s also a nifty way to incentivise the people that know LEGO best, into coming up with new product ideas.
Anyone can design their dream set and if it hits 10,000 votes on the community platform, LEGO will produce it as an official set in the future! By ensuring every voice is heard and natural conversations are taking place, this is the perfect community initiative. Their audience are given a prominent voice, a platform to be recognised and those that care most are brought in as a part of the product. Genius.
Clubhouse is an elite audio-based social network where people can jump into voice chat rooms together. It’s all about spontaneity. Clubhouse fans say that it’s much closer to real-world socialising than Twitter or TikTok. An audio-based network has a very different feel to the rest: It’s extremely humanising and immersive on a much deeper level. You can have intimate conversations among friends as well as conference-like gatherings with a few “speakers” and a large “audience” listening in.
Brands are always seeking new ways to stimulate the spontaneous real-life conversations that naturally take place within communities – this is what’s at the heart of live events. Now, apps like Clubhouse are discovering the magic of a casual chat too.
Workplace Rooms is new a virtual meeting space from Facebook to enhance internal and external collaboration within business. Up to 50 people can participate, and they don’t even need to have a Workplace account. As well as high-quality live video with real-time health metrics, the caption technology unlocks truly global collaboration too: Automatically add subtitles to videos in up to 15 languages. Auto-translate between 46 languages at the touch of a button. Get a written transcript to edit and share. Seriously impressive.
As part of their Messenger Rooms rollout, Instagram users can now also set up Rooms too. Facebook also doubled the capacity of video calls on WhatsApp.
Nextdoor is where neighbours go to stay informed, plan events, and seek help. People are on Nextdoor for recommendations as they know everyone in their neighbourhood has been verified. It’s all about trust in the community. This means that there’s potential for brands to join neighbourhood conversations and make real connections. It even has a unique understanding of local purchases and interests too, as it’s comprised of real people at real addresses.
For brands looking to embed themselves in their communities and create a sense of local unity, this can be an effective way to “join the neighbourhood”.
We’re all about designing experiences that bring communities together to share moments, so we had to end on some fun final playgrounds… We’ll touch more on virtual platforms in the next “Virtual & Remote Experiences” edition of the Inspiration Station, however if you’re truly looking to foster an authentic sense of community (without the hard sell business undertones) then we’ve been having fun with some pretty cool platforms for more social occasions!
Host free live events, dance parties, comedy shows, storytelling, book launches and bring podcasts to life too. Oh and tune in for your own private 3D screenings!
Pick our brains below to find out more about the best playgrounds for hanging out with both your internal and external communities.
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