Is social distancing changing our thinking?

Posted by: Brianne Richards on Thursday, May 7th 2020

Hi! My name is Bri Richards and I’m new to Henriott Group, Inc. Not only do I hold a title here that says Processor & Marketing Communications Coordinator BUT I also currently hold other titles due to the status of the Covid-19 pandemic. Other titles you might ask? Perplexed? Let me just share a few. I am a work-at-home-mom, snack coordinator, kindergarten, 2nd grade and 11th grade eLearning home teaching advisor, and family no-you-may-not-see-your-friends enforcer. To be honest, I consider myself so, so fortunate that I have a flexible career, a healthy family, and a safe home. Why might I bring up my other titles you ask? Well, let me share with you.

When it comes to the current pandemic and state of things, I used to consider myself largely unaffected. Did I have to cancel my weekly card nights with close friends and random drop ins at my grandparents for cookies? Yes, but we have food, shelter, outdoor space, and some would argue most importantly WIFI, and the means to continue our lives mostly unscathed right here from our home. The only shocks I have had is when me, a people person, has avoided saying hi and starting unnecessary conversations with strangers when out grabbing essentials. The sudden wearing of masks was a little hard to get used to as well, but for the most part- I've been fine. Or so I thought.

Today, while working, I sat down with my kindergartner to get her started on her remote learning. She had to watch a short kindness video. I started the video, and alarm bells went off in my head! I couldn't tear myself away from it. THERE WAS NO SOCIAL DISTANCING! (My brain screamed) WHY ARE THEY LETTING THESE KIDS HUG! (all my social distancing alerts were blaring) and almost as quickly as these thoughts came to me, I thought, oh yeah! This was probably made well before the craziness that is today. Then, what is wrong with me? Why am I so afraid of people being together? It was a YouTube video!

Funny? Yes. Did I feel dumb? Yes. But it brought me to another thought. Art imitates life in all its forms. From YouTube learning videos to advertising, blogging, and branding- all of this is a form of art meant to promote and engage others. At the end of March Pattern89 did a case study where ALREADY the COVID19 pandemic was having an effect on how brands were marketing their products. They found that 27.4% fewer images and video ads displayed social contact behavior. Now its May- we can only wonder how that has continued to change and will change for the future.

Hopefully someday this social distancing rule that is starting to embed itself in our brains starts to slowly relax and all our family, friends and community remain healthy. Until then- I challenge you to think about how business advertising and marketing models are going to change in the days, months, and possibly years to come. And how hard it will be for you, for me, and our colleagues, employees, families, and friends to all adjust once again...