People need human connection, especially right now.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to every business, including Adobe. We’re sharing the lessons we’ve  learned — like the need for real-time customer insights — in this six-part series.

Show you’re in this together — even when apart

As humans, we crave connection. Yet with so many of us isolated at home during this pandemic, we miss the sense of community we had with our workplace. That’s why it’s so important to stay connected during this time.

“It’s essential to stay connected to your community. And you can do that in number of ways. But no matter how you do it, show you genuinely care about them as a person.”


Caroline Hull 

Director, Commercial Field and Partner Marketing, Adobe

Christopher Parkin headshot

Empathy and ingenuity bring people together

The Adobe field marketing team immediately felt the loss of connection from COVID-19. They normally do 300 in-person, one-to-one account-based marketing events a quarter. So, they had to figure out how to keep that community alive. That meant reinventing their high-touch, VIP-centric, and often celebrity-driven events. Overnight.


The team’s number one priority was to show customers they genuinely cared about how they were doing. Empathy was key — this was not a time to be salesy. So, using direct mail and AI technology, they created a targeted wellness campaign for marketers that included a gift that they could claim, trade for a different one, or donate. 


Next, they looked for ways to connect without meeting in person. Working with event agencies, they reinvented their local happy hours into experiences customers could enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. They also did cooking-experience gatherings, sending ingredients for a cooking class to the audience so they could all be cooking and socializing together online. 


But soon they realized a lot of things were out of their control. Not everyone was on the same stay-at-home orders, vendors were closing down, and some people weren’t comfortable receiving packages. So the team pivoted again, sending out Instacart gift certificates and an ingredient list. “We discovered some unexpected benefits from having to adapt,” says Hull. “By doing these events virtually, we could expand the size and scope, making them more accessible.”

“We discovered some unexpected benefits from having to adapt. By doing these events virtually, we could expand the size and scope, making them more accessible.”


Caroline Hull

Director of Commercial Field and Partner Marketing, Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe

Christopher Parkin headshot

Food, fun, and Facebook contests

There are many ways you can build community in a time of social distancing. Focus on educational content that will really help your customers. Offer more value-added services. And bring critical innovation to those in need. 


You can foster fellowship through global community support, like the Adobe #HonorHeroes campaign, which invited artists from all over the world to submit artwork of local COVID heroes. Find ways for your employees to help in your community. And encourage your employees to care for themselves and their families. Not only is this essential for their well-being, it helps them care more authentically for your customers. The Adobe global marketing team was given a “guilt-free day off” — a much-needed respite after working harder than ever to adapt during the pandemic.


To foster connections in their community, Vitamix turned to food’s ability to bring people together. With millions of people now cooking more, they put more emphasis on engaging current and potential blender owners with new recipes, healthy eating alternatives, and ways to have fun. They’re doing cooking demonstrations, offering tips and tricks, even sharing how to make the best use of limited trips to the grocery store. And they’re awarding loyalty points every time someone engages with their content.


To help parents working from home, Disney+ released Frozen 2 three months early. To keep audiences and donors engaged, New York’s Public Theater and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., have asked professional playwrights to create short dramas for people to perform at home. And the Berlin Philharmonic had a Facebook contest where winners were treated to a one-on-one performance in an empty Berlin airport.

Care, create, connect

With creative thinking, the possibilities are endless. At the end of the day, you’ll be remembered for how you genuinely cared about your employees and customers. And for the experiences you share together.  

Key takeaways:

Key takeaways

Find creative ways to show your customers and employees you genuinely care about how they are doing during this time.

Key takeaways

Use event companies, direct mail, and online collaboration platforms to strengthen human connection while you can’t meet in person.

Key takeaways

Offer more educational content and value-added services that are helpful and relevant for what’s happening right now.

Key takeaways

Foster fellowship by supporting and engaging with your community, and by encouraging your employees to care for themselves and their families.

Key takeaways

Do what you do best as marketers — be wildly creative in how you create human connection.


Lesson 5

Lesson 4

New ways of working can have lasting benefits

Explore other lessons online

Read each of the six lessons for adapting and advancing during a pandemic.

Lesson 1: Real-time customer insights are more essential than ever

How customer data and our field marketing team helped us quickly pivot our strategy. Plus, how NASCAR used digital tech to understand vast new audiences when they moved their races online.

Lesson 2: Agility is key when pivoting in a pandemic

How our crisis response team created new messaging and rolled it out in just a few weeks. And how medicine marketplace 1mg sent emails to 14 million users to clarify confusion about COVID-19.

Lesson 3: People need human connection, especially right now

How we stayed connected to our customers. Also, how Vitamix is using food to bring people together. And how theatre companies and orchestras are finding new ways to keep their audiences engaged.

Lesson 4: New ways of working can have lasting benefits

What we learned from moving Adobe Summit online in just three weeks. Also, how Australia’s NSW Department of Education is using what they learned from last year’s bush fires during COVID-19.

Lesson 5: Reexamine everything -- from strategy to structure and beyond

How we’re meeting the needs of our remote workforce. Also, what retailers everywhere are discovering. And how TSB Bank rethought their digital services and what they gained.

Lesson 6: We're not going back, so accelerate digital adoption now

How we’re using our online learning community could help our customers. And how COVID-19 became the proving grounds for the U.S. Census Bureau’s digital efforts.

Ebook cover - The Reinvention of Normal


Download the full playbook

Get the playbook as an eBook to explore all six lessons — with additional examples — in one place.