WWTT? La-Z-Boy Campaign Offers Comfort and Thanks to Healthcare Workers

If you’re a bit of a YouTube watcher, or a fan of The Office, you may have heard about “Some Good News,” hosted by John Krasinski. So in that vein, here is some more excellent news, along the lines of a new La-Z-Boy campaign that combines a considerate donation with some heartfelt user-generated content.

If you’re a bit of a YouTube watcher like me, or a fan of The Office, you may have heard about “Some Good News,” hosted by John Krasinski. If not, watch through some episodes, and take joy that there is still plenty of good in the world. So, in a similar vein to SGN, here is some more excellent marketing news, along the lines of a new La-Z-Boy campaign that combines a considerate donation with some heartfelt user-generated content.

To offer some physical comfort to healthcare workers, La-Z-Boy is donating $1 million worth of furniture to frontline nurses. According to the furniture retailer’s CMO, Eli Winkler, the company is working directly with the American Nurses Association to select nurses in areas of the country most heavily impacted by COVID-19, and those individuals will be able to receive their choice of a chair, recliner, or sofa.

But the La-Z-Boy campaign doesn’t just end there. Dubbed “#OneMillionThanks,” the furniture retailer has created a microsite that encourages the public to find creative ways to thank healthcare workers — and to share those thanks on social.

#OneMillionThanks La-Z-Boy CampaignI had the opportunity to ask Winkler some questions about the La-Z-Boy campaign earlier this week, and of course my first question was about the campaign’s inspiration, and why the retailer wanted to get the public involved. Winkler responded:

“La-Z-Boy has always provided comfort to those who need it most. Frontline medical professionals have had to live without the normal comforts of home for the last while. In many cases they have had to distance themselves from their families, while also enduring an incredible amount of stress. We saw an opportunity to say ‘thanks’ in the way that we know best — by providing furniture to nurses who deserve both physical and emotional comfort.

“This is our way of showing thanks. But we wanted to create a million more ways to say ‘thank you.’ People have shown an incredible amount of creativity while at home. We wanted to harness all that creativity and generate one big “thank you” for medical professionals. A simple show of thanks goes a long way.”

Participants are encouraged to get creative with their thank yous and post to social, tagging with the hashtag #OneMillionThanks. The campaign is supported by 15 and 30 second video clips, created by creative agency RPA and supported by a digital buy.

La-Z-Boy campaign, featuring Kristen BellIt’s great that La-Z-Boy has its brand ambassador Kristen Bell participating in the project, but I feel like there’s more to this than having a Hollywood sweetheart encourage UGC.

When I look at the microsite, the impression I get (whether intentional or not) is that this campaign does more than just help healthcare workers feel good. #OneMillionThanks is also a creative exercise to help the people doing the thanking feel good, too.

Scrolling through the site, you come across myriad activity ideas to help create your thank yous, from origami heart-folding to DIY sidewalk chalk paint.

La-Z-Boy campaign ideas for showing thanksDespite the fact that these activities are geared toward creating thank yous for healthcare workers, at the end of the day they’re also great activities for individuals, couples, and families to work on while under quarantine — whether they’re creating a thank you or something else. I’m certain the DIY sidewalk chalk paint instructions will be put to use for many more projects down the road, and perhaps the origami heart folding will inspire people to look deeper into the Japanese art form as way to de-stress and be creative in general.

Practicing the act of gratitude is a great way to improve your mental health and well-being … something I’m sure we could all use a bit more of nowadays. And while the #OneMillionThanks La-Z-Boy campaign probably wasn’t aiming for this, I’m glad that by asking people to create thankful content, La-Z-Boy is helping us all be a little more creative and gracious.

Speaking of practicing the art of gratitude, one of my and favorite authors and YouTube personalities, John Green created a wonderful Vlogbrothers video about it, as well as gratitude journaling. I highly recommend giving it a watch — once you’ve finished making your own #OneMillionThanks post.

Marketers, tell me what you think about this campaign, how you’re practicing creativity and gratitude, or anything else on your mind in the comments below!

3 Trends to Survive the ‘Every Channel’ Paradigm

Savvy companies realize they’re finally in a position to benefit from the shifting tides of digital transformation. Now more than ever, shrewd marketers realize they are in a position to retrench themselves with compelling content that can cut through the noise.

In 2005, YouTube broke the media monopoly on content creation by turning everyone into a content creator. In 2012, Facebook reached 1 billion users globally embedding social channels as the most important outlets for content distribution. In 2013, The Boston Globe, unable to monetize a digital world, was sold for a 93% loss.

It’s no secret that the underlying force causing media strife for nearly two decades is digital transformation. More than a distribution approach, digital is a lifestyle that shifts the balance of power to consumers by providing greater freedom and choice.

Savvy companies realize they’re finally in a position to benefit from the shifting tides of digital transformation. Over the last decade, it has become increasingly clear that quality content remains the foundation for success. The value of this content is evident as user-generated content powerhouse YouTube has developed its studio content. Now more than ever, shrewd marketers realize they are in a position to retrench themselves with compelling content that can cut through the noise.

So how can marketers take advantage of the change? Three significant trends are converging to drive marketers to further heights: personalization, multichannel optimization, and new revenue opportunities.

1. Content Must Be Personalized

The ability to understand, segment, and deliver relevant content has never been more critical.  Because of the Netflix-Amazon effect, people expect deeply personalized experiences from media.

Content creators have approximately six seconds to capture reader/viewer attention—and keeping users engaged requires anticipation and delivery of relevant additional content. Personalizing content drives results across channels. For example, HubSpot reports that the open rate for emails with a personalized message was 17.6%, compared to 11.4% without personalization.

Understanding user preferences, patterns, and behaviors start with data collection. However, it’s not enough to collect the data; you must analyze, derive insights, and then use those insights to create a solid content strategy with personalization.

Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced algorithms packaged via readily available APIs, in theory, make personalizing content easier. However, following consumers across channels, devices, and ecosystems—while not running afoul of increasingly stringent privacy laws—is creating a paradigm of heightened consumer expectations alongside growing technological and security-based complexities.

Developing a robust but realistic personalization strategy is essential. Get the basics right first—such as personalizing emails and calls to action (CTAs). Then, move on to customizing recommendations on site and later add additional channels into the mix. This approach allows for experimentation, optimization, and acceptance.

2. Optimize Your Approach for Every Channel

According to comScore, users spend 69% of their media time on smartphones. Amazon’s Alexa boasts more than 25,000 skills. More than 473 million people subscribe to over-the-top (OTT) video services. The proliferation of channels is favoring companies with the content to support them.

However, engagement with relevant, compelling content per channel is just the beginning. To take advantage of the six seconds of viewer attention, marketers must also deliver the right content on each new and emerging medium in an optimized way. There are over 60 different channels to contend with from social media and web, to voice, audio, smart speakers, TV, apps, and video. The plethora of channels that potential audiences inhabit makes marketing with an omnichannel experience the new imperative.

You should be able to fully control the experience for each channel, with the help of the right technologies. For example, mobile users spend two times more time on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) than desktop sites rendered on mobile. This is but one example of how optimized content outperforms non-optimized content.

3. Use the Data at Your Fingertips to Drive New Revenue Streams

Real-time data is becoming the new currency, and is increasingly valuable when combined with hyper-targeting strategies to open a world of new revenue opportunities.

Some examples include:

  • Native advertising in the form of branded content, allowing marketing messages to deliver relevant value
  • Premium content subscription tiers that offer opportunities to surpass the competition
  • Affiliate revenue, which helps online entities to form “partnerships” to promote one another through their content and channels
  • Selling user information or database access, like e-mail addresses collected from lead generation efforts
  • Brand licensing that allows product and service companies to leverage well-known publishers for hefty licensing fees
  • Events and conferences with growing attendance numbers and high-dollar sponsorship
  • Content delivered in cutting-edge formats to drive subscription revenue or revenue from technology partners developing the format

It’s clear that users are now willing to pay for their content, especially if it’s highly personalized. There are many additional potential revenue streams worth exploring and carefully considering, including social, video, and memberships.

By personalizing communications, delivering the appropriate types of content in a channel-optimized way, and maximizing potential channel revenue opportunities,  companies will be well positioned to attract and retain customers and effectively compete in the digital era.  Are you ready to embrace the change?