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

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 and 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 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 and application details.

Client: Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

Gatlinburg CVB sits in the heart of one of the country’s most heavily-trafficked tourism destinations. Without another major industry in the area, the suspension of travel was cause for concern for Gatlinburg and the surrounding area. 

What We Did

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.

Recognizing the need to pivot early on in the COVID-19 era, we developed organic social content for Gatlinburg that matched the immediacy and personal feel of most social content being created as a result of the inability to conduct high-production value content shoots. 

We also scripted, shot and produced a video for GCVB’s “Welcome Mat” activation, supporting their public relations efforts for the world’s largest welcome mat, ready to welcome guests back to Gatlinburg when the time is right. That welcome message is supported by digital and broadcast paid media sets, reminding future visitors that “when you’re ready, we will be, too.” Along with the welcome mat campaign, we developed, planned and placed inspirational creative to spread a message of brighter days ahead.

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 to maintain quality of life for the animals while also celebrating the past and expected future support of donors, passholders, and everyday visitors.

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, we planned social posts asking followers to share their favorite zoo memories through photos and videos. Now that they’re open with safety guidelines in place, some of the photos even include people wearing their masks! We collated the images by having users hashtag #BackAtTheZoo. We’ve created a summer campaign video using the photos and welcoming everyone back. If there’s one message the zoo wants to convey, it’s this; We’ve Missed You.

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’ve launched a first and second round of Seed Stories on the McMinnville website. We interviewed local business owners to get their backstory and their take on 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.

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.