We’re a month into the Australian lockdown and we’ve been fascinated, intrigued and entertained by the behaviours of people and business as they adapt to a brave new world.

This is our platform for sharing inspirational content to help you and your marketing thrive in the months ahead – welcome to Stories from the New Normal.

With ‘business as usual’ turned upside-down, we’ve all had to pivot and adapt. For our team, this has meant adjusting our processes to boost collaboration while working apart; for other businesses, changes have been more profound.


Credit: Dark Mofo Winter Feast, Hobart, Tasmania

With our favourite festivals and events, like MONA’s DARK MOFO being cancelled this year, the arts and entertainment sector has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. Yet, we’re seeing engaging and innovative approaches to the way these establishments are staying connected to their audiences.

Our favourite has to be Getty Museum, who challenged the Internet to browse its online collection and re-create works of art at home. The resulting collection of user-generated content is hilariously entertaining and reveals the power of the creative spirit in lockdown.

Getty’s success plays to the insight that brands and organisations currently have a captive audience who are actively looking to be engaged and challenged. Our senior designer Chelsea took up the task and re-created McNeill Whistler’s famous artwork Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 – a masterpiece if we do say so ourselves.



Credit: Getty, The Brand Pool


We used this insight to help Reflections Holiday Parks pivot the launch of their new brand framework Nature never felt so good to Staying at home never felt so good – to achieve this, we developed strategic content to engage those missing out on the quintessential school-holiday camping getaway.



With competitions, tips and challenges, we were able to give them content ideas to encourage conversation and some-what soothe the angst of having to spend easter camping in the back garden.

So it’s not all doom and gloom in lockdown, our collective mood at The Brand Pool is one of optimism; especially after we read an interview with Stanford psychology professor Jamil Zaki, PhD, who argues that rather than making people act more selfishly, disasters bring out the altruistic urge in all of us (that’s despite the toilet roll hoarding early on).

“We’re all sharing this experience, and that shared experience is a vast conduit to kindness and to altruism.”

Source: Dana G Smith for Elemental 

The key insight here is that people thrive when they feel as though they’re a part of something bigger than themselves; and when they act kindly, they often discover a sense of control. They realise, “Hey, if I have the resources to help somebody else, then I must be doing okay myself.”

This insight plays a key role in the new campaign by Optus, cleverly asking those who can to do good with their data and power the potential of young Australians in need. With over 6,905,279 GB of data donated already, it shows that altruism is alive and kicking in our communities.

Another silver lining for our team has been the local artisans who have been quick to adapt, delivering some of Newcastle’s best cuisine and bar culture direct to our homes.

Take these two local companies, Mayfield East locals Brew Bike and our besties at 5 Sawyers, for example, who are now delivering freshly poured cold brew coffee martinis to your doorstep. Originally catering to events, they seized the opportunity to pivot to home delivery and are selling out daily as a result. Friday drinks anyone?


sawyers espress


So that concludes our stories for the new normal for this week, in summary…

  • As brands and businesses, there are opportunities to engage and connect with a captive audience looking to be challenged and entertained
  • People act more kindly when they feel as though they’re a part of something bigger than themselves
  • And, the best espresso martinis are the ones delivered to your door.

Stay safe and see you next time.


Dive into a brave new world with us as we uncover inspirational content to help you and your marketing thrive in COVID-19 Australia.