What is the legitimate and authentic space for the brands to act, for ensuring both short term survival and long term goodwill, in the wake of coronavirus which has forced them to feel unsure about how to help without appearing to profit from the crisis?
At the time of such crisis any genuine attempts by brands to assist and help can appear insincere, any form of commercial activity can appear as profiteering.
Brands are as of now are confronting two competing crises- the virus itself and the economic collapse it could trigger. As the crisis deepens, narratives around looking after jobs and communities will turn out to be progressively essential to people. Thus brands shouldn’t be embarrassed to bring commerciality into their strategies.
On the tightrope between profiteering and catering to genuine public need, there are brands that have struck the right balance by communicating with credibility rather than using urgency-driving scare tactics to boost their short-term sales.
- Nike rallies sports fans to ‘Play Inside, Play for the World’ as the part of the new campaign promoting brand’s workout app
- Chains like Leon, Subway and Nandos are among those offering discounts on food and free coffee for medical workers
- Leon fulfilling its commitment to help those in need by increasing discounts to all NHS workers to 50% and free food deliveries to hospitals
- Across US and Canada Uber has been pledging free food for medical providers and promoting delivery from restaurants who are financially more at risk in this crisis
- Walmart, Target, Publix and other supermarkets are offering designated shopping hours purely for elderly and vulnerable
- Lidl pledged to donate £100,000 to help feed vulnerable groups and families who need help during school closures
- Facebook pledged to help SME’s with $100m grant programme to help small businesses who are being impacted by the outbreak
- Google and Facebook are set to help public health experts in mapping the spread of virus through the location data acquired from mobile phones
- The perfume giant LVMH has been producing hand sanitizers at three of its factories for distribution to French hospitals
This is the ideal opportunity for brands to be brave as its actions that will matter and not words. Brands that embrace this new responsibility, show empathy, generosity and agility will be remembered when this crisis is over.