4 Key Takeaways from Adweek Elevate: Commerce

Adweek recently wrapped Elevate: Commerce. The virtual event offers six sessions focused on how marketers can effectively respond to the most pressing issues they face in today’s rapidly evolving economy, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus health crisis. Here are four great pieces of advice we took away:

01 Prioritize the Health of Customer and Employees

As states relax pandemic restrictions, brick and mortar businesses must navigate how to successfully re-open. One major priority is to keep both customers and workers safe.

Alyssa Raine, group VP, brand marketing and creative for Walgreens explained how the company did that by:

  • Installing plexi-glass guards at checkout areas.
  • Conducting regular deep cleaning of surfaces.
  • Removing chairs to make it easy for customers to circulate. 
  • Providing floor decals that ensure six-foot spacing at cash registers.

She also stressed the importance of making sure employees have adequate down time so they don’t burn out.

02 Meet the New Needs of Your Customers

Shoppers want as little contact as possible, so Scott Nelson, VP of Marketing for Panera, said his company doubled-down on its delivery and Rapid Pickup services. Less than half of Panera cafes have drive-thrus, so the company quickly leveraged their already-robust digital ecosystem to launch Panera Curbside in just seven days.

Panera also utilized its robust supply chain to roll out Panera Grocery in just three week’s time, giving customers a chance to purchase fresh produce, bread, and milk, while also opening up another new channel for the company.

03 Celebrate Everyday Heroes

Sai Koppala, chief marketing officer for SheerID explained how brands can use personalized offers to support customers, particularly those on the frontlines of the pandemic like doctors, nurses, and first responders.

These medical workers are today’s heroes, and when a brand rewards their service with a personalized offer it generates significant word of mouth among their strong networks. It also creates tremendous goodwill that wins the hearts of everyone who supports them. Nearly 90% of people surveyed said they want brands to help people who are affected directly by COVID-19.

Brands like Nike, The North Face, and vineyard vines are among the many leading brands that are standing up for these everyday heroes. Marketers who want to join the cause can sign up to launch an Everyday Heroes campaign and have SheerID cover the cost of up to the first 10,000 customers.

04 Create Virtual Communities of Support

With physical communities fragmented by orders to shelter in place, creating a virtual community for your customers can offer them a lifeline. 

Julie Channing, VP, marketing for footwear brand Allbirds, talked about how the company partnered with Strava so people could use the Strava app to virtually run together. 

And Hims and Hers Co-Founder and VP of Merchandising Hilary Coles explained how the online wellness products company launched a new virtual consumer care program based on customer requests for help during the pandemic. 

Initiatives like these create connections with customers that help them cope today and encourage them to remain loyal to a brand long after this crisis has passed.


These are just a sampling of the great ideas discussed during Adweek Elevate: Commerce. To hear more of them, watch a recording of the full event.

Watch the Virtual Event: Adweek’s Elevate/Commerce

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