GoDaddy sets its sights on reopening in new campaign

The website hosting company encourages small businesses to reopen online in a spot produced remotely by its in-house team.

For small businesses suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic, online sales are a lifeline. 

So website domain and hosting company GoDaddy is encouraging consumers to support small businesses however they can in the next phase of a national campaign. 

“The world is ready to reopen, but we know we're moving slowly toward that based on the pandemic,” said GoDaddy CMO Fara Howard. “We know people want small businesses to survive, and the role that GoDaddy can play.” 

The spot, released this week, is the third phase of a cross-channel campaign and movement GoDaddy launched in March in response to the pandemic called Open We Stand. The campaign kicked off with a spot highlighting small business owners that started their companies during recessions and brought together a coalition of 70 companies to offer support for small businesses. 

That culminated in the launch of openwestand.org, which houses resources to help local businesses during the pandemic, from webinars to discounted software deals.

“We heard from entrepreneurs that they needed another way to be open,” Howard said, “and they needed encouragement.”

GoDaddy launched Open We Stand in direct response to the pandemic, after scrapping a plan to build a campaign encouraging business owners to “build the world you want.”  

“When COVID-19 happened, that wasn't the world anyone wanted,” Howard said.

Six months into the pandemic in the U.S., small businesses are desperate to get back to work, and consumers are passionate about supporting local companies. “They need the encouragement and optimism that the community wants and needs them,” Howard explained. 

The latest spot, which featured local businesses in six U.S. cities, was produced remotely to adhere to CDC guidelines. GoDaddy’s in-house team sourced content from business owners who followed a tight creative brief, hired local production crews and used text messaging and video calls to approve wardrobes and sets. 

Any in-person footage was shot with a minimal crew that enforced strict mask wearing and social distancing rules. Only one business owner appeared in every shot, and always wearing a mask. 

“Candidly, that's the way small businesses look today,” Howard said. “The best marketing communicates what real life looks like, and it was definitely real life.”

The remote shoot took about half the time it normally takes to shoot a commercial, Howard noted. GoDaddy will continue to adapt the campaign’s messaging based on customer feedback as the pandemic drags on. 

“It's evolving daily based on how people are feeling,” she said. “Customer sentiment is changing all the time.”

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