A month ago, Zoom was a hot startup offering its videoconferencing tool to a solid and growing base of corporate clients.
Today, Zoom is pretty much a household name — as in quite literally almost every household in America. The product is being used by companies trying to unite suddenly dispersed working-from-home labor forces and has been “dramatically repurposed” by customers it never sought: as a platform for “quarantini” group drinking sessions, preschool classes, board game nights, birthday parties, coffee klatches, group meditation sessions, dating, and pretty much all variety of social gatherings — including branded events like “Chipotle Together” Zoom meetups. The New York Times Style section, ever obsessed with what it suspects the youngs are up to, flatly declared, “We Live in Zoom Now.”
Zoom is experiencing a truly singular branding event — which happens to be a pandemic.
That’s the great news for Zoom. The less great news is that this didn’t happen because the company introduced some game-changing, head-turning set of features or capabilities. It happened because the world has been overtaken by the spread of a deadly virus, forcing huge swaths of humanity to replace physical connection with screen connection.
In short, Zoom is experiencing a truly singular branding event — which happens to be a pandemic.
An event as profound and transformative as the spread of Covid-19 is bound to have surprising side effects that, indirectly, boost certain businesses and brands (not to mention anything involving elderberries). And Zoom is far from the only example. One Wall Street analyst, playing off the idea of FAANG (shorthand for dominant tech stocks Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google), recently proposed that we’ve entered the DAWN era. This time, the shorthand signifies companies well suited to a hunkered-down moment: Domino’s, Activision, Walmart, and (once again) Netflix. “All…