Joe Biden last night delivered a sober, thoughtful address looking back on a difficult year and promising hope for the future. The speech was remarkable for its tone. There was no boasting, no declarations of victory, no personal attacks on his opponents. It was simply a credible review of where we are now in the fight against COVID19 and the road ahead.
I was struck most, however, by Biden’s savvy use of marketing.
One of the things that has been in short supply throughout the COVID19 pandemic has been great marketing. Have we seen compelling campaigns explaining why people should mask up? No, we have not. Are there advertising efforts inspiring people to social distance? No. Were there any Super Bowl ads encouraging people to get a vaccine? No.
One of the reasons we’ve stumbled in responding to the virus is this astonishing lack of marketing.
Joe Biden, however, deftly used marketing to sell his plan. The key? His credible promise that things might get better. The most important line, “If we do our part, if we do this together, by July 4 there is a good chance you, your family and friends, will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or BBQ and celebrate Independence Day.”
A July 4 with friends and family? That would be great. Being able to gather without fear, without concern? That is almost unimaginable. It would be awesome.
Great marketing is built on benefits; you have to give people a reason to buy a product or support a cause. Joe Biden last night identified a simple, compelling benefit.
Why should we keep wearing masks? Because we hope to be able to get together on July 4.
Why scrap Easter gatherings? July 4
Why get a vaccine? July 4
Public health leaders should embrace this idea and run with it. Let’s mask up and get the vaccine as soon as we can. If we all work together, we can have a July 4 celebration that would be one to remember.
It is remarkable that one of the first examples of good marketing in this pandemic comes from Joe Biden. We should follow his lead and relentlessly embrace the benefit. A year ago, a 4th of July BBQ with friends wouldn’t have seemed like a huge deal. Today, it seems like enough to inspire people to get a vaccine and do their part.
The next live synchronous session of Kellogg on Branding is coming up in May 2021 on Zoom. Learn how to manage and build great brands. Nine mornings, spread over three weeks. Learn more here.