What can brands do to help in times of crisis?
2020 continues to be a year of major shocks and uncertainty. We’re ending the first quarter with all facets of life turned upside-down by the COVID-19 outbreak. Amid dire scenarios with no end in sight and fallout of unprecedented scale on the horizon, brands are seeing their marketing calendars and budgets being thrown into utter chaos. Businesses worldwide are hard-pressed to take the appropriate course of action.
Which is what, exactly? Around the globe, lockdowns and quarantines have affected employees, suppliers, and customers. The shock has made companies freeze, or react in a tone-deaf, knee-jerk way. Businesses have to listen carefully to the concerns of its stakeholders, in order to address them.
Kantar recently surveyed more than 35, 000 global consumers about how brands could help during a time of crisis. Here are the key findings.
Companies should make the health of their employees a top priority (80%)
Brands should help with the daily lives of consumers (78%)
Brands should let customers know what they are doing (75%)
Companies should not exploit the crisis situation (74%)
Companies should give flexible work hours to employees (67%)
Brands should continue to speak in the way they always have (50%)
Companies should donate healthcare supplies such as face masks and hand sanitizers (40%)
Brands should offer discounts and promotions (30%)
Brands should stop advertising (8%)
Here are good examples of what global brands have done.
Chanel has turned its workshops into making face masks.
LVMH and Pernod Ricard got busy creating and providing hand sanitizers.
Gucci has donated 1,100,000 surgical masks and 55,000 medical overalls.
Giorgio Armani has converted production sites to make protective equipment.
Estee Lauder has contributed 2 million dollars to Doctors without Borders.
Apple released a new app and website to screen yourself for COVID-19 symptoms.
Google has set aside 800 million dollars in ads and loans to help government organizations and small businesses in their COVID-19 efforts.
Dyson designed a new ventilator and is manufacturing 15,000 units.
Granted, these are huge multinationals capable of large-scale initiatives. But take a look at what you currently have at your disposal. You can take charge of your messaging. You have access to networks and communities. Think about how your brand and business can engage people and contribute to both their health and safety and the global effort against the pandemic.
A BRAND IS A PROMISE
Always but especially in strange and difficult times, this promise should extend beyond initial USPs, and wholeheartedly embrace how to help and uphold its stakeholders. This means imbuing and expressing genuine solidarity with consumers and whenever possible, responsibly finding ways to make things better.
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