Welcome to the Social Spotlight, where we dive deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. From strategy through execution and results, we’ll examine what makes the best brands on social tick — and leave you with some key takeaways to consider for your own brand’s social crisis strategy.


Brands are in a tough spot right now. Not only are most struggling to determine how to best support customers while also ensuring that their businesses can survive a global economic threat like the current pandemic, but the world’s biggest brands have the added scrutiny of public opinion about how they conduct themselves to worry about. Social has become the primary stage for proving that a brand understands what its audience is experiencing and can adjust its communication with consideration and empathy. And the brands that have the most challenging path to walk are those whose business is most threatened. Financial institutions top that list, but Visa has been able to demonstrate both empathy and optimism by making quick, thoughtful and appropriate adjustments to its social strategy.

What you can learn

1. Pivot your partnerships.

Visa spends a considerable percentage of its overall marketing budget on event sponsorships, the most visible of which is the Olympics. A look back at Visa’s social content from early in 2020 shows a heavy push for its sponsorship, focus on partner athletes and promotion of the event itself. When the IOC announced that it was delaying the 2020 Olympics until at least 2021, Visa had to pivot its strategy and make adjustments to its partnerships with athletes. The result is an emerging content series featuring athletes as they experience the pandemic much like we do–at home and in quarantine.

  • Getting started: You may not be able to change the financial terms of any sponsorships or partnerships you have, but you may be able to adjust the marketing or content parts of your agreements. Just as you’d change the copy or design of your advertising to match the current conditions, you should reassess your content and paid sponsorship efforts. 

2. Reposition your offerings for the current situation. Visa is one of the world’s largest financial services institutions, and its products are used by a huge range of people and businesses To serve such a broad demographic, Visa has an equally wide range of product offerings that it can promote via social. But we all know timeliness is key to relevance, so Visa has chosen to promote the products and services that best meet the rapidly changing needs of business owners, employees and customers in the time of COVID-19. 

  • Getting started: Do your due diligence to understand the biggest challenges for your audience right now–chances are they’re very different than they were six months ago, and potentially even different than six weeks ago. Once you know what they’re struggling with, assess your offerings and align them with the specific needs of your customers in this unique time.


3. Be the community resource the community needs right now. Visa has long supported small businesses with both product offerings and philanthropic support. But the need for resources may have never been greater in the small business community than it is right now, and Visa recognizes that now is the time to step up its efforts through new tools, services and partnerships. 

  • Getting started: What are your most vulnerable customers struggling with right now, and what resources can you offer them to demonstrate not only that you understand their situations, but that you will support them so they will still be there to be your customers when we get through this? It’s understandable that not every brand can create a seven-figure relief fund or a star-studded benefit, but even a well-researched blog post can change the perspective of someone facing extreme uncertainty. 



Learn more

How a crisis communication plan can help your team navigate such unforeseen challenges.