While most governments are scrambling to adapt, mobilize and fight back against the spread of the coronavirus, their actions are often limited to their frontiers and slow to roll out. But the enemy in this war knows no frontiers, the virus knows no nationality and it is after humankind as a whole. It is coming for you, for us, for our families, and for our jobs: it is out to destroy our global economy. As humans, as professionals, we are all in this together.
So what are you going to do about it? Stay home, wear a mask and gloves when you have to go out and keep your distance with others. Of course. That is the necessary defensive stance. Now how about punching back as well?
In this battle Brands have a critical mission to fulfil and a unique opportunity to rise to the occasion. Why? They do not need lengthy government’s approvals, heavy administrative processes, and are not bugged by political agendas. Brands are global by nature, pyramidal in structure, they are fast, can communicate with great power and mobilize resources in an instant. They can turn things around faster than most governments can. Yes, their impact may be smaller in scope but if every company does something now, the virus will not resist very long.
So ask yourself, ask your CEO, ask your Board: what is your company doing today in this fight?
As a company this is your chance to make a positive difference and to gain the respect and admiration of your customers. And if you want inspiration or ideas to get you started read on for our round-up of 7 brands that have caught our attention, proving that putting purpose before profit (even temporarily) is the right choice for successful modern brands in today’s crisis.
Luxury-goods maker Hermès has been quick off the mark, promising comprehensive support for frontline healthcare workers in its home country of France. Hermès has committed to donating €20 million to hospitals across the Paris region, one of the worst affected areas of the country and the high-fashion brand has repurposed its fragrance manufacturing facility to create and donate over 30 metric tons of hand sanitizer and 31,000 face masks.
Hermès has also guaranteed the basic salary of its worldwide workforce of 15,000 without relying on any government aid.
All hands on deck. Our U.S. factories are working to develop, manufacture and deliver facial masks to the hospital community.
— New Balance (@newbalance) March 28, 2020
Boston-based shoe brand New Balance has turned the focus of their considerable manufacturing capability to the development of facial masks for healthcare workers across the US.
The popular sneaker brand has not stopped there. Their nonprofit arm, the New Balance Foundation, has committed to providing $2 million in grants to nonprofits around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This financial support will be distributed to some of those most in need: food banks, hardships funds and vulnerable communities.
The coronavirus outbreak has dealt a devastating blow to Italy already and in response, many of its famous fashion brands have stepped in to help, including high-fashion house Prada. Prada has repurposed its Perugia-based factory to manufacture 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks. This vital personal protective equipment will be distributed to frontline workers in the Tuscany region.
US Craft and fabric retailer JOANN has helped to mobilize crafting and sewing communities across the US, providing workshops for those wanting to create masks for healthcare workers. While adhering to strict social distancing measures, JOANN has opened classrooms nationwide for people to learn how to construct this important equipment. The retailer has committed to supplying all materials and use of sewing equipment free of charge.
Multinational luxury goods company LVMH has answered the call from the French government to address the drastic shortage of personal protective equipment across the country.
By leveraging its global distribution network, LVMH has secured delivery of approximately 40 million masks over the next four weeks. What’s more, in order to ensure the masks are produced as soon as possible, LVMH has agreed to finance the first shipment of 10 million, to the tune of five million euros.
So far in this crisis, very little media coverage has been given to the potential consequences of a significant COVID-19 outbreak in Africa. Fortunately, the billionaire founder of Chinese tech giant Alibaba has set his sights on the world’s second most populous continent.
Through his foundation, Jack Ma has committed to donating 6 million masks, 60,000 protective suits and 1.1 million testing kits to be divided across all 54 African nations.
As educational institutions across the world close down to tackle the spread of the virus, students of all ages are losing access to their learning. Luckily, perfectly positioned companies are getting involved to make the best out of a difficult situation.
One such brand is the video recording and sharing service Loom, which has this week removed all fees for their ‘Pro’ plan for teachers and studentsin K-12 schools or universities across the US. Eligible users will now be able to use the platform free of charge, forever.
While there are many more companies contributing to the global fight against COVID-19, we couldn’t mention them all here. Check out some of the brands below to see what they’re doing in these unprecedented times:
Playing our part: Positive Solutions at work
Here at Positive Solutions we are a small business, yet our staff is located in several countries (in the US, Europe & the Caribbean) and we are proud to play our part in the effort, by any means necessary.
With a number of our team based in the Dominican Republic, we have donated to a local relief fund called CabUnidos to feed the most vulnerable and the poorest families who have lost their jobs and are finding themselves without any support. We are also supporting CabUnidos communications and fundraising efforts for free. Our goal is to provide food everyday to 10,000 of the most affected families on the north coast of the country for the next 6 weeks.
Do you want to use your brand as a force for good? We will consult with you for free. No strings attached.
To help businesses nurture purpose-driven communications strategies and unlock innovative ideas for impact, Positive Solutions is offering free consulting during this crisis. Start a meaningful firstname.lastname@example.org today.