At Designsensory, we’re doing our best to guide our clients through the COVID-19 outbreak through innovation.

Innovation is about adaptation, empathy and resiliency. These are the drivers that can help businesses stay relevant and connected through challenging times. Fortunately, they are also what power our approach to business, creativity and strategy; and luckily, we get to work with those who embrace innovation to solve problems and uncover opportunities during crises—such as the one at hand. 

Here is a quick list of things we’ve done for our state and others in hopes that it will inspire you to stand up and take action (safely at home).

Client: State of Tennessee

Amid the uncertainty and difficult days of the COVID-19 outbreak, the office of Governor Bill Lee alongside a joint state communications team from health, tourism, economic development turned to Designsensory to develop state-wide PSAs. The goal: spread practical information, change behaviors and deliver messages of hope to Tennesseans. And, much like all information being disseminated during this trying time, it had to happen fast—within 72 hours.

What We Did

We developed PSA messages and content around a multi-pronged approach to inform, persuade and influence citizens to align to state-centric mandates to shelter at home. An integrated PSA campaign centered around “Helping our Heroes Save Lives” was developed within 72 hours. This included broadcast and digital spots, printed flyers, posters and door hang tags and a wide set of social content to support a heavy frequency push. See it here.

Secondly, we crafted a video that delivered a sentimental message of hope and resilience around the storms and COVID-19. Thematically, we took the phrase "the storm is passing over," which Governor Lee uses at news conferences from a 1905 hymn by Charles Albert Tindley, and used it as the thread through the video. This was so successful that the White House communications staff took note and shared alongside other states and people. The video has earned well over 200K views in less than a week. Watch it now.

Finally, animated explainer videos were used to demonstrate how the Paycheck Protection Program works. Topics include eligibility, usages, loan forgiveness, loan amount, application details.

Client: Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

As one of the top travel destinations in the Southeast, Gatlinburg thrives on visitors from all over. When the risk of travel became apparent, they wanted some way to reach out to the community and encourage them to plan for brighter days. We helped them find a way.

What We're Doing

For many, Gatlinburg is a connection to nature and the livelihood it produces in the region. We began with a concept that would speak to everyone from all walks of life during a time of quarantine: Bringing the Mountains to You.

The social spots sympathize with the times while also spreading a message of hope that connects with Gatlinburg’s personal promise. Messaging encourages users to focus on the things that matter most—friends, family, faith, togetherness. 

For those who are planning ahead for their next Gatlinburg trip (after the tide goes down), we helped put together a social campaign to give someone a free fall trip with hopes that the positivity encourages the community. We continue to work with Gatlinburg to create ongoing interactions that delight travelers and inspire them to think forward.

Client: Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Knoxville is a place of educational experiences and animal interactions. Even while they’re closed, they still care for 700 animals without their highest revenue source—paying guests and members. A feat that requires hundreds of thousands of dollars per week. Without one of their highest sources of incoming aid—the guests that come in spring—they needed some help.

What We’re Doing

With an unexpected rise in donations, we helped spread the word on social media about the zoo’s needs and continued the request for donations. The community has been incredibly supportive and the zoo was full of gratitude that they care so much. In addition, the city of Knoxville took notice and pitched in funding to help. That was not the end, though. We also let guests know that any annual pass purchases made now would stay valid for one year after the zoo reopens—a bright spot for people who are getting restless at home. 

Additionally, there’s a call for Governor Lee to supply emergency assistance with state funds designated for COVID-19 relief. Sign the petition here. Finally, we're working on new ways to invite people back to Zoo Knoxville once it reopens. 

Client: Visit McMinnville

For Visit McMinnville, it was evident that their local businesses, like many others, have been affected by the outbreak. Though some are trying to maintain CDC standards while running to-go and pickup orders, others have had to temporarily halt operations.

In honor of the small businesses that thrive in McMinnville, the tourism department wanted to do something to support all the owners’ hard work and encourage them to keep going until this ends.

What We’re Doing

Introducing McMinnville Seed Stories. We’re preparing to launch the first round of Seed Stories on the McMinnville website. We interviewed three local business owners to get their take on their backstory and the current climate. You’ll be amazed to learn about the adversity they’ve already overcome individually and how they’re fighting back during these times. The stories are inspirational and motivating. Look for them to pop up on Facebook and Instagram very soon.


Each of our clients have been incredibly willing to do whatever it takes for our community, and it’s been a pleasure offering up creative and innovative solutions to keep them keeping on. We’ve worked diligently to ensure the needs of these and others are top of mind. As you go onward, think of ways you can help the local businesses that rely on customer support. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.