Pandemic means video-conferencing marketing makes sense

Lifesize, a player in space dominated by Zoom and Webex, is being very careful about how it promotes its free trial.

Office life may never be the same because of the coronavirus. 

A state of emergency was announced last week as the world's top agencies, including McCann Worldgroup and those within WPP issued work-from-home policies to staffers.

More than ever, business associates and colleagues will "talk" on Slack, manage projects on Basecamp and video conference on apps such as Zoom and Webex. 

Lifesize, a player in the video conferencing field, is taking this workplace exodus as an opportunity to announce a mass-sampling offer, where any organization affected by COVID-19 can sign up for six months’ worth of unlimited use of its cloud-based video collaboration platform.

"Keep the world working together" is the theme of the communications campaign supporting the offer. Lifesize is using its social media channels, email campaigns and digital advertising, mostly to test messaging, to be uplifting and supportive, recognizing that people are stressed about how their daily routines changed so rapidly. 

"We struggled to deal with the ethics of the issue and how to be tasteful and elegant and thoughtful in our reply," said Lifesize chief marketing officer, Josh Kivenko, about the company’s approach. "We looked at it that we are in this together. We definitely did not want to be in a situation where we are profiteering." 

Lifesize, which is based in Austin, Texas, planned a mix of content, from supportive messages about dealing with the coronavirus, shoutouts to companies, including competitors, and details about the six-month trial. 

The first email went out last week, signed by Lifesize's chief executive officer, Craig Malloy. "The gravitas of the moment required that," said Kivenko. 

The evening before the offer was announced, Kivenko did a gut check for sensitivity. "I told our social media manager it’s not just enough to have a bullhorn, our social has to be about sharing meaningful content, getting people engaged and calling out kudos to companies that are doing good, even if it is to our competitors."

The world is much better positioned for remote work, with 5G rolling out, compared to the last time life slowed down due to 9/11. 

"Could you imagine if this pandemic happened 20 years ago, would we be able to pull off working from home, globally?" asked Kivenko. "We were at the mercy of 2G and just perhaps on the cusp of escaping the grasp of dial-up. Think about that."

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