COVID-19   Crisis

Spread kindness, not COVID-19

July 8, 2020

Spread Kindness, Not COVID-19 is a campaign developed by business for business with the aim of supporting public health and helping businesses recover safely from the coronavirus. 

Washington is one of six states where consumer confidence has been declining. In Spokane County, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise since Memorial Day weekend. This has had a negative impact on our regional economy and has put additional strain on local businesses who face the risk of permanent closure.

At the same time, people are receiving mixed and conflicting messages about the coronavirus which create confusion and anxiety.

That’s why DH  partnered with a regional public health and business coalition to create a social change marketing campaign that will grow consumer confidence and help businesses welcome back customers, safely. 

Here’s a look at the challenge we faced, the campaign we developed and why this approach will be effective in helping our community and economy recover from this crisis.

Growing consumer confidence

When consumers become more sure of their safety, they will be more willing to re-enter public life. Confidence rises when businesses owners, their employees and customers are all willing to follow the guidelines that are proven to keep us safer: wearing a mask, washing hands thoroughly and maintaining a safe distance where possible.

Businesses and customers who follow these requirements will help us decrease community spread and recover faster. 

However, we know that businesses are already under a lot of pressure to serve as enforcers of mask, sanitation and physical distancing mandates. They are reporting the stress and difficulty of not having enough tools and being on the front lines of enforcement. The last thing they want to do is turn customers away.

Similarly, customers want to reengage in public life but receive mixed signals about personal precautions they should take and which businesses are open and safe to visit.

The campaign we developed gets to the heart of consumer confidence by creating new norms and positive behaviors everyone can take to protect one another’s health. It’s about mutual respect and compassion and doing whatever it takes to help businesses stay open and keep people safe.

Spread kindness, not COVID-19

Spread Kindness, Not COVID-19 is an intentional social norming theme that invites consumers to wear masks, stay physically distant and practice respectful behavior. The campaign avoids any political framing and emphasizes community—calling audiences to move from “me” to “we.”

The campaign puts businesses in the driver’s seat and gives them a consumer-friendly campaign and tools to invite customers to practice behaviors that will keep us all safe. The signs, posters and social media posts in the toolkit help businesses set expectations for masks, social distancing and sanitation right at the point of entry.

Effective behavior change campaigns create new social norms and use positive peer pressure to influence people to take action.

 Research tells us that negative or fear-based message may be memorable, but it is unlikely to change behavior. That is especially true in this moment.

Through an uplifting, positive message Spread Kindness, Not COVID-19 works to lower anxiety and reduce confusion by creating consistency that consumers will recognize and can rely upon. Just like a “Good Housekeeping” or “Better Business Bureau” seal of approval, customers will know a business is a safe place to shop and receive services when they see the business participating in the campaign.

The toolkit includes:

  1. Window and door decals for businesses to post at the point of entry
  2. Posters and fliers in many sizes to hang in their store, place of businesses or shopping center
  3. Social and web graphics for the business to post online
  4. Video to download or share


The campaign will also be supported by CARES funding to spread the message across Spokane County through out-of-home marketing, billboards, broadcast content and a digital media.

You can access the toolkit and more resources at the campaign website:

We’re eager to report on the success of the campaign across Spokane County, and to share more about how this campaign model can improve public health and economic outcomes for other counties, cities and organizations during the pandemic.

To learn more about the campaign or get involved, connect with us!

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