10 responses to COVID-19 proving there are brands that have a heart.
Sharon Richey is founder and Global Managing Director of Because. She’s an award-winning entrepreneur, a passionate business mentor, and she believes that great things can happen when we work together to help others.
As countries are going into lockdown one after the other, and self-isolation becomes the norm, we’ve seen brands respond in a multitude of ways.
There have been the adapt-or-die movers and shakers. Those pivoting, rethinking strategies, changing business models and adjusting offerings to survive these unprecedented times.
There have been the crash-and-burn ambulance chasers. Those unashamedly trying to make a quick buck off of the crisis (like the example shared last week in my brand love article).
And then there have been those who are just being ‘human’. Those who realise, that as corporates, they have a responsibility to do what they can to help. To do good, because that’s the right thing to do, whether that’s adapting their production lines to produce sanitizer for vulnerable communities, or making the subscription of books and audio stories free to help struggling parents entertain their housebound kids.
These are our top 10 favourites. We applaud you all.
Louis Vuitton & BrewDog’s Sanitiser - LVMH, the French luxury conglomerate, and BrewDog, an independent multinational brewery and pub chain, have begun making hand sanitiser amid shortages driven by coronavirus fears. Their sanitisers will be given away for free to local charities, health authorities and communities in need.
Chipotle’s Together Hangouts - Chipotle Mexican Grill, an American chain of fast casual restaurants, is hosting virtual lunchtime hangouts on the Zoom meeting app, to help people cope with social distancing. The brand has teamed up with famous brand super fans, and each hangout will feature celebrity appearances, Q&A, exclusive content, and much more.
Free online exercise videos from Planet Fitness - To promote the importance of physical and mental health during isolation, Planet fitness are motivating its PF family to stay fit and healthy with free content on their app, including more than 500 exercises that can be done at home.
Shopping hours for pensioners from Woolworths and Pick n Pay - To ensure their older customers limit the number of times they are in close contact with shoppers, and get the essentials they need, these two grocery stores have introduced shopping hours restricted to pensioners only.
Masks for health workers from Zara - Zara has converted its factories to produce cotton face masks and other protective equipment to curb the shortage hospitals and first responders are facing in the United States.
Free audio books for kids from Amazon audible - Audible Stories has made its audiobooks free to the public to help parents looking to entertain their kids during social distancing. This will be free for children and students of all ages for as long as schools are closed.
Cafe Gelato’s free meals to school-aged children - Cafe Gelato knows that there are families in their area that rely on the local school system to provide meals for their children. They are now offering free kids’ meals to school aged children in need through their drive-through.
Webtickets’ Food Flow - Webtickets has collaborated with local farmers in South Africa to get the produce that would have gone to restaurants, to those in need during this very difficult time. People who will otherwise go hungry. By purchasing a bag of produce from the ticketing website, you will be providing fresh food to a family in the township communities, whose children normally rely on school feeding.
Guinness gives back to bar staff - Guinness is donating £1,000,000 to support the drinks industry and bar staff facing reduced hours during social distancing.
Huge donations from Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Bulgari - from ICU units, to necessary research equipment and more, incredibly generous financial donations from these iconic brands will go a very long way to curbing the global crisis.
In these uncharted times, where fear is rife, the only known is the unknown, and a day feels like a week, it’s incredibly heartwarming to see brands being ‘human’. Brands putting their core values into practice and doing the right thing, because it’s just the right thing to do. It’s easy to cite values on a poster in a boardroom, but at such a time like this, I feel immensely proud that Because works alongside many of these brands who are putting their money where their mouth is.
Not everyone can afford to swiftly pivot their production line, and many smaller brands are facing real challenges, but the MNCs that can should all dig deep and get helping. And the hundreds, even thousands of brands out there experiencing exceptional demand (check out the home page of Majestic Wines in the UK) must give back. This crisis will eventually pass, but it’s the response of the brands during this crisis, that will determine their survival in the future.
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