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5 Digital Activations To Bring Us Together While COVID-19 Forces Us Apart
5 digital activations
The world is changing so much, so fast, and the fact that we’re discouraged from being close to other human beings makes things even harder for each of us.
One of the things we do at Advantage is create events and experiences, so we have a gut response to this kind of situation: we want to bring people together. But when we’re cautioned by medical experts to avoid gathering in groups, that’s tough. And it’s tough for businesses and brands large and small to know what’s appropriate in this kind of situation, or how to best serve their communities.
That’s why we put together a short list of activations that can work to build community, even at a time like this. Right now we should take full advantage of the fact that we live in a digital age. Just because we’re required to be apart physically doesn’t mean our communities have to disintegrate.

 

ONLINE MASTERCLASSES
In our current situation, where live sporting events and influencer appearances are universally canceled, Masterclass – where Anna Wintour teaches creative leadership or Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking or Deadmau5 teaches dance music production – has demonstrated a no-brainer way to use your sponsorships and talent partnerships to grow your community.
Imagine a star athlete teaching an in-home workout class, or a Peloton-style partnership where you’re racing with a famous marathoner. Famous brands can even tap their internal leadership for activations–what better use of quarantined time than to huddle around the virtual campfire and hear about leadership or tackling challenges from the likes of Tim Cook from Apple or Angela Zepeda from Hyundai?

 

VIRTUAL CONCERTS
Live music is a peak experience for so many of us, and it’s easy to be skeptical about virtualizing something so physical. But the people at Wave have approached the unique features of “live digital” as an opportunity. What if you could attend a concert on another planet, or floating in midair, or you could attend an intimate show inside an artist’s own house, but then the walls melted away to reveal a galactic sunset?
Wave gives people the opportunity to watch a show in VR with other fans. It’s not a regular concert, of course–but it’s something different; a unique experience that gives both partnered artists and your brand an entirely new and powerful universe for expression. So many “virtual events” can be looked at this way–not as compromises, but as new opportunities to connect.

 

GUIDED MEDITATION AND RELAXATION
Apps like Calm and Headspace have soared in popularity as the world has gotten more and more stressful. While brands traditionally love to party hard and loud with their activations, imagine the impact a brand could make by partnering with Patrick Stewart to create a series of educational bedtime stories, or with Cardi B for long-form ASMR content (she’s already done short form, and the ASMR community loved it).
Sometimes the most powerful way to make a loud impact is to create a unique space for quiet–and there are myriad ways to do this digitally, whether via your own branded app or a content series.

 

“CIRCLES” AND WORKSHOPS
Instead of creating a community around a specific celebrity, your brand can create community around a specific idea, social need, or purpose–and that community can thrive online.
Cultural entrepreneur Chelsea Sonksen founded communities around her BossLadies magazine and her new project Eredita (which means “legacy”).  Her intimate workshops and events have attracted sponsorships from brands like Poketo and guest speakers like Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, because her communities are so focused around empowering women and creating a genuine space for care and connection.
She grows those communities online, and her newest “circle” is virtual, proving that the idea of genuine community is powerful no matter the medium. These kinds of movements and ideas spread quietly and gently, but if your brand is truly authentic in backing or creating one, centered around real values, the impact can be massive. Imagine creating a much-loved group framework, mode of discussion, or workshop that excited stakeholders could use to spread your brand’s values across the globe, without ever meeting face to face–a digital light in dark times.

 

COLLABORATIVE ARTMAKING
One of the most profound cultural enrichments brought by digital technology is that people from around the world can collaborate creatively.  Musicians can send recordings back and forth and make whole albums without ever meeting, or huge digital “paintings” and 3D objects can be worked on collaboratively by hundreds of people.
New platforms like Media Molecule’s Dreams make it incredibly easy for regular people to create dreamlike games and digital environments, and then share those games or worlds with other people. You can create whole new universes for your friends to explore; universes that express profound emotions or foster powerful connections.
Imagine if your brand created an online virtual environment that was not just community-friendly, but truly participatory, like a big MineCraft project – fans could actually explore and co-create using your brand’s resources and framework. Or you could create an online digital interface that makes it incredibly easy for random people from across the globe to layer, add to, and remix musical compositions to create awesome songs. New advancements in machine learning and user interface design make collaborative artmaking much easier across online networks, and there are so many opportunities for brands to make a splash in this space.
This is the kind of what-else-is-possible thinking we need if our brands are to be known for authentic community support and generativity in a tumultuous situation like this one. We need to think forward with a genuine sense of leadership to embolden and inspire others right now, and I promise you–we can do it over the internet.