Positive Reactions to the Coronavirus
A Digital Coolhunting Report
// The spread of the coronavirus has induced major changes in terms of behavior, affecting daily practices and representations. Our lifestyles are changing rapidly and confinement strategies to fight the virus are producing positive, important and interesting reactions from people, institutions, and brands. This is a major black swan, an unpredictable event with great impact, with dire consequences. However, we consider that it is also important at this stage to map positive responses to the context we are now living. We have mapped and organized by patterns some of the most interesting signals that we have found. This report underlines initial reactions and actions to the pandemic and was updated in real time, as information was reviewed and analysed, from its launch in 19-03-2020 and last update in 04-04-2020. This work does not take the form of a trend report, since it only focuses on digital coolhunting and sociocultural signals review, but it is organized as a Coolhunting Report. Stay safe!
// A disseminação do coronavírus está a induzir grandes mudanças em termos de comportamentos, afectando práticas e representações diárias. Os nossos estilos de vida estão a mudar rapidamente e as estratégias de isolamento para combater o vírus estão a gerar reações, muitas delas positivas. É importante e interessante ver como os indivíduos, as instituições e as marcas estão a reagir. Este é um grande cisne negro, um evento imprevisível com grande impacto, com consequências terríveis. No entanto, consideramos que também importa, neste momento, mapear respostas positivas para o contexto que estamos a viver. Estamos a mapear, e a organizar em padrões, alguns dos sinais mais interessantes que encontrámos. Este relatório foi actualizado em tempo real desde o seu lançamento em 19-03-2020 até à última actualização em 04-04-2020. Este trabalho não assume a forma de um relatório de tendências, uma vez que se concentra apenas no coolhunting digital e na revisão de sinais socioculturais. Sejam cuidadosos!
# neighbor and community support
“Caremongering” in Canada
// What is the Description and Categorization? A support network has been created in Canada out of 35 Facebook groups to help people living in isolated areas or who are considered more vulnerable to the Coronavirus. For this purpose, they created categories by hashtags which people who need help use #iso and people who can help use #offer, thus crossing needs and assistance through the network. The use of the word “contagion” in a positive way demonstrates that just as the virus spreads at high speed, solidarity can also spread just as quickly, since in a short time there were already nine thousand people actively helping on the network.
// What is the Cool Nature? The character of the initiative calls attention to the given name “caremongering” as opposed to “scaremongering”. It underlines that it is a moment to “care” and that this attitude should be disseminated. The initial idea of its founder in proposing a positive contagion of solidarity, inspiring all to participate.
// Insight (s): Contrary to what is usually stereotyped by the media, the inhabitants of Canada have quickly joined in a movement that, by gaining strength, may leave a continuous legacy of mutual support after the end of the pandemic. It shows us the power of community and groups and how we can empower them.
Associated trends: Connection and Convergence (TrendsObserver)
Analysis by Sarita Oliveira
“Al virus lo frenamos entre todos”
// What is the Description and Categorization? All printed newspapers in Argentina adopted the same cover on Thursday, March 19, with the motto of the #SomosResponsables campaign, launched by the Association of Argentine Journalistic Entities – Adepa. According to the association’s president, newspapers will remain engaged in this campaign until everything returns to normal. On the second page of all newspapers, tips and advice were also published to prevent contamination by the virus.
// What is the Cool Nature?
The cool calls out for the union of newspapers that have historically positioned themselves in different, and sometimes opposite ways. Faced with the complex challenge that has become global, Argentine newspapers set an example of how media can come together in one appeal to generate even more engagement for the entire population. It should be noted that at a time like this when people are at liberty to walk the streets in a very restricted way, the Internet played a pivotal role in the dissemination of the action, showing the importance of connectivity and convergence between all media and all communication platforms. By joining forces in the face of the same theme and purpose, the newspapers helped to reaffirm how the pandemic is something real, which needs to be tackled seriously and responsibly by everyone.
// Insight (s): The action contributed to the dissemination of good practices to be adopted in terms of safety and hygiene. While promoting awareness, it is important not to generate panic, but to inform audiences about what is happening globally.
Analysis by Sarita Oliveira
#insights A moment of crisis can also be one of reflection, solidarity and unity. In a time full of attitudes of intolerance, there are small gestures of solidarity that punctuate here and there, in caring for the neighbor. We see this in the collaborative search for creatives and startups for solutions that mitigate the impact of the crisis on the population; in nations that collaborate together for the construction of knowledge to fight the disease. In adversity, the bonds are strengthened and the Other becomes also one of Us. We see that these actions spark spontaneously from people and communities in a wake that reminds us the power of empathy and network assistance. I) Institutions can support these actions by helping to empower people and groups to be more supportive by means of resources and platforms. Nonetheless, it is important that institutions truly embrace this mission, or they will face the backlash of opportunism with dire consequences in this critical moment. II) Local communities will become increasingly important for support and also for motivation (see the Christmas lights signal; the notes from neighbors; and the balcony manifestations). III) In this sense, new means of communication for a more immersive digital connection are a need. Virtual communities – a space for groups, tribes, and friends – will have a bigger role during this crisis. IV) Social and political entities are under scrutiny to provide as much support and care for groups in need. There will be grave consequences in social terms, and communities will require all the available assistant for food, shelter, medical provisions and other needs.
Material Security has also been showing itself with a race to stock up goods, sometimes in irrational quantities, reflecting the insecurities people are feeling and the need to ensure their security. From gun buying lines to the spread of toilet paper stockpiling, people are looking for objects that relate a certain, even if minimal, sense of control over the situation. It is important to take these situations into consideration and find strategies and different actions to fight anxiety.
# positive brand response
Dolce&Gabbana and U. Humanitas partner // Dolce&Gabbana e a U. Humanitas juntam-se para um projecto de investigação.
// What is the Description and Categorization? The fashion brand, according to its website, has made a donation to Humanitas University for a study coordinated by Prof. Mantovani “to lay the basis for developing diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, contributing to the solution of a global problem” regarding the coronavirus.
// What is the Cool Nature? It calls for the attention and responsibility of big brands to contribute in this moment of crisis. This inspires more to take action and have a role in fighting the pandemic.
// Insight (s): Big brands have a responsibility to, alongside government and international institutions, to contribute for research to fight the pandemic in several fronts and to support people with actionable strategies and activities that empower, help and motivate consumers.
Associated trends: Rooted in Reality and Liquid Authorities (TrendsObserver)
Source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCAkKI2dwhs&feature=emb_title (and) www.b9.com.br/123072/em-meio-a-pandemia-ford-lanca-campanha-de-apoio-a-consumidores-afetados-pelo-coronavirus
FORD support campaign// A campanha de apoio da Ford
// What is the Description and Categorization? In an interesting action within the advertising market, Ford decided to suspend advertising campaigns for its vehicles in the United States to focus on promoting the company’s support to its customers during the coronavirus crisis. Among planned measures, the highlight is the financial relief to consumers who are currently paying for one of the manufacturer’s models. In addition to this action, the brand will also donate financial funds to free food distribution networks for children who are not able to go to school at the moment, in addition to contributing to the United Negro College Fund in an effort to help university students who were unable to return home and are quarantined on campuses.
// What is the Cool Nature? It is an initiative that concerns solidarity in this time of pandemic, trying to alleviate the effects of the outbreak with an unconventional stance by choosing to comfort customers and abandon the idea of ”run now and enjoy”. The action refocus campaigns, giving up the motivation for vehicle sales, inspires us to see the change in the manufacturer by extending the perspective to those who are suffering from the pandemic, sending a message that, as in other challenging moments, the brand will be present and acting. Since more and more actions are being sought to alleviate and contribute to the physical well-being of people, there is a great potential for growth, arising from the need that the current time demands in relation to the services provided, in which profit is giving way to more solidarity.
// Insight (s): More brands should develop actions like this that go beyond a financial challenge. To give up a focus on business sales to enable human comfort is to move closer to people, offering help and sharing resources.
// Related Trends: Experienced Narratives and Identities; Rooted in Reality; Liquid Authorities (Trends Observer)
Analysis by William Alves
#insights In a still timid fashion, but with already important signals, brands are trying to react to the pandemic in three major fronts. i) Trying to find ways to adapt their businesses and not to drown under the pressure and the isolation measures. ii) Big brands are moving efforts to support research that aims to fight the virus. iii) Several brands and emerging projects are catering to consumers and helping them in terms of access and payment: Access to contents, products and services; and with cancellation and facilitated payment plans. Nonetheless, consumers will be attentive and there will be a growing demand for brands to have an important and active role in fighting this crisis with creative and helpful activities/actions. We have seen stores promoting drive-thru, and free drinks for medical staff, while others call out for the need to wash our hands and be cautious.
Also, apart from these three, it is important to remember that brands have an important role in terms of awareness, considering their influencing power. The narrative has changed. Brands must understand that they will be subject to scrutiny for their solidarity actions. Even altruistic actions can be viewed with suspicion if the feasibility of the actions is based on marketing and profit or image gains.
# in-house leisure and culture?
Source (s): www.facebook.com/festivaleuficoemcasa/ (and) www.instagram.com/festivaleuficoemcasa/
I Stay at Home Festival // Festival Eu Fico em Casa
// What is the Description and Categorization? According to the information of the official sources, between the 17th and 22nd March there will be about 100 artists, musicians and Portuguese authors that will give short individual “concerts”, from their own houses, online in Instagram. This signal is categorized within the cultural and creative sector.
// What is the Cool Nature? It stands out as a major event, totally online, to bring music to all. It also inspires and calls out for everyone to stay home as much as possible to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It facilitates access to culture and to cultural manifestations and activities, with a high potential growth, since it is clear that activities and online projects like this are a creative solution to disseminate artistic and cultural expressions in this difficult time.
// Insight (s): Creative and cultural brands/institutions must be on the lookout for new opportunities to disseminate their artifacts and cultural objects to their audiences via online plataforms or new digital media and apps. There is also an opportunity, via online strategies, to reach out new audiences and expand a cultural network.
// Associated trends: Connection and Convergence (TrendsObserver)
Source(s): www.instagram.com/massimobottura/channel/ (and) www.businessinsider.com/massimo-bottura-kitchen-quarantine-lockdown-coronavirus-chef-2020-3
Kitchen Quarantine – Massimo Bottura
// What is the Description and Categorization? Massimo Bottura, an italian Michelin-starred chef, has started a new project while his country is on lockdown. The Kitchen Quarantine project goes live every day at 8pm (Central European Summer Time) and shows Massimo cooking cozy recipes with his wife and two children. Far from the usual fine dinning, the owner of Osteria Francescana – voted world’s best restaurant in 2018 – cooks with simple, local ingredients and shares on Instagram the recipes he makes at home for his family. The main goal is to raise a positive attitude towards the global problem of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Source (s): www.netflixparty.com/ (and) https://canoticias.pt/netflix-party-extensao-do-google-chrome-possibilita-ver-series-e-filmes-com-amigos/
// What is the Description and Categorization? Netflix launched in 2016 an extension of Google Chrome that makes it possible to create an online group to watch contents with others in real time. This week, however, in which physical isolation intensified, it was noticed that this extension gained strength showing ways to interact at a distance.
// What is the Cool Nature? Even if it is not something new, it is still cool because it inspires people to be connected and share their audiovisual experiences and perceptions about the contents, through interactions with video and also by chat, where it is possible to customize the name of the “party ”; use emojis and GIF’s at the same time, while watching the content from home. It is attractive, because the party suggestion call our attention in the sense that it stimulates good cheer in a tense moment like this. And it has growth potential as it may be a solution that becomes a habit among those who like to marathon and binge, but also among those who do not give up interacting with their social groups. Platforms that until then were a little forgotten or out of attention, come back in force at times like this.
// Insight (s): This signal is related to the Connection and Convergence trend, which portrays the changes brought by the Internet and the context we are living, regarding the way individuals now interact in society. A network life promotes a hybrid between digital and physical. As a micro trend, it can be associated with an Ergonomic Lifestyle, as it meets the need to combine several realities through interactivity. It inspires us to see the potential in these platforms and apps and to have a positive spirit. Watching movies and series alone at home can create a feeling of greater social isolation and it is in this sense that Netflix proposes that people continue to interact, understanding that this latent need for interaction will generate a flow of ideas and discussions. This way, the brand may also know what are the contents that generate the most engagement among its audience.
// Associated trends: Connection and Convergence, Lifestyle Ergonomics (TrendsObserver)
Analysis by Sarita Oliveira
#insights We are seeing more and more cultural spaces, like museums and galleries and concert halls that are opening their doors digitally for people to enjoy collections, performances and other objects. Also, editors and archives are opening their archives and products. In a time of crisis and isolation like this, there is an opportunity for creative and cultural entities to share their offer and reach new audiences via digital platforms; and permitting a new kind of immersion into artistic and cultural experiences to help people get through this moment. There is also the opportunity to rethink digital business models and propose new online services.
# fast growing trends
Our attention goes out to three Macro Trends:
i) Connection and the ability to connect are major topics in this particular moment. They are underlined by a matter of media convergence and forms of action. In this sense, the Connection and Convergence Macro trend will be highlighted during this crisis, and technological revamps and training will be a must. We will need good and available platforms to work and to connect; to enjoy entertainment; to take action (!) and to be helpful.
ii) The experience of narratives and the highlight of individual and group identities can also grow as a macro trend as people will demand increasingly more immersive experiences – not only digitally, but also within families. We have also seen the manifestation in Italy´s balconies. Processes of gamification and of narrative creation are to be on the lookout too.
iii) We want to be rooted in reality, but discourses do not always rely on the necessary data. In this articulation with liquid authorities, who is managing information and the attention of individuals? Who is guiding it? It is important to underline the relevant role of official agents from health institutions, to media and government. Yes, in the past years there has been a great distrust towards the institutions of power, economics, and others. Because of this, and its impact, we need clear guidance from official sources. Fortunately, there is an increasing awareness regarding the importance of legitimate information and the need to fight misinformation. This trend – based on a rooted reality – is revealing a new facade and might suffer many and profound changes in the near future. We might be witnessing in real-time the mutation of a macro sociocultural trend.
We are also analyzing the impact in terms of sustainability, liquid authorities, well being, among others. Trends via the TrendsObserver plataform.
Coolhunting (Gomes, Cohen and Flores, 2018; Dragt, 2017; Rohde, 2011; Gloor and Cooper, 2007; Gladwell, 1997) is one of the most important methods within Trend Studies, that uses a combination of processes from fieldwork to interpretative reading(s). It is also an important tool for the early observation and systematization of emergent sociocultural signals. For this research work, we are applying a digital coolhunting approach to identify references in social media regarding creative and cultural signals with a cool nature: “inspiring, attractive and with growth potential” (Rohde, 2011).
Our research universe is built within the domain of social media and the associated connections related to f the sharing process. We also consider units in terms of news, pictures, videos and websites in general. For this, we use a convenience non-probabilistic sample, according to the access sources and streams of our research team. This an approach used for samples that are accessible and rapidly available. This is very important for this study since we are dealing with a rapidly changing context and a large number of signal emergence.
From the total universe of identified signals, we have [i] selected a number in a categorical procedure (see the three # above) to share on the report with the respective source. We [ii] selected a number of signals for detailed analysis in light of the cool signal review method (Gomes, Cohen e Flores, 2018; Rohde, 2011) to understand the associated meanings, impact, and insights. [iii] With the signal moodboard and review, we identify and analyse the associated patterns and meanings and propose a set of insights regarding each category.
// DRAGT, Els (2017). How to Research Trends – Move Beyond Trend Watching To Kickstart Innovation. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers.
//GLADWELL, Malcolm (1997). “The coolhunt: who decides what’s cool? Certain kids in certain places–and only the coolhunters know who they are”. apud The New Yorker, 1997. URL: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1997/03/17/the-coolhunt
// GLOOR, Peter; COOPER, Scott (2007). Coolhunting: chasing down the next big thing. New York: Amacon.
// GOMES, N. P., S. Cohen e A. M. Flores (2018). “Trend Studies: an approach for analyzing and managing culture”. In Moda Palavra. V.11, N.22, pp. 82-112.
// ROHDE, Carl (2011). “Serious Trendwatching”. Tilburg: Fontys University of Applied Sciences and Science of the Time.
Team / Equipa: Sarita Oliveira, William Afonso Cantú, Clarissa Lopes, Ana Marques, Andreia Carneiro, Caroline Rocha, Filipa Pina, Francisco Filho, Gabriela Santos, Gustavo Silva, Heloisa André, Irina Martins, Jefferson Pereira, Nanqian Jiang, Karliete Nunes, Marianna Oliveira, Gabriela Souza, William Santos.
A report from the Trends and Culture Management Lab. A pedagogical project within our MA in Culture and Communication with the active participation of our MA and PhD students.
Launched in 19-03-2020 and updated until its closure in 04-04-2020.