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How Companies are giving back during the Covid-19 Crisis

Deepti Dilip J | Director – Marketing & Communications, Ashnik
Singapore, 24 Apr 2020
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24-Apr-2020

In this fight against the tough and uncertain, we stand as one. We know this is a community build-up time. Personal and work front is affected for millions of us. We shall evolve, this shall pass. But while it does, organisations also look to survive and transform. They may be slow on business but high on support and some inventive spurges. Brands are evolving their strategies by underselling and instead being there for the community. They are offering their customers and community with more help and assistance, than showcasing their sales platter. And, that’s the way to go about it.

It is an ideal time for companies to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility, through being of service to the people. They understand this is a time to identify the needs of employees and stakeholders, support local efforts to contain the spread and follow government guidelines on social distancing. The ideal way is through continued engagement using positive, encouraging and informative messaging.

Brands have been proactive change makers in their communities by taking positive actions and stepping up to the challenge.

Coca-Cola Company is pausing all its commercial advertising along with its other brands in the Philippines. It is instead committing its advertising space and budgets towards supporting COVID-19 relief and response efforts for the most affected communities. The company is rechannelling millions instead to the provision of protective equipment, and beverage for health workers, delivery of food packs to the most vulnerable families, and support for affected small retailers. “Together, we can make a difference,” they say.

Ford Motor Company is shifting gears to lend manufacturing and engineering expertise to help build respirators and ventilators. The car company will also assemble face shields and use its 3D printing capacity to produce parts used in other personal protective equipment.
While Dyson, a manufacturer of household appliances, has already partnered with The Technology Partnership to produce a ventilator called CoVent, a bed-mounted, portable ventilator that can run from battery power. With a grant from the government of U.K., Dyson will produce 10,000 ventilators for the country and another 5,000 for donation.

Did you know? An open-source ventilator project has been kick-started as a disaster-situation ventilator made using a freely-licensed (open source) design, and freely-available components and parts – which may be 3D printed instead of purchased.

The beauty and retail industry isn’t staying behind. Leading luxury brand LVMH aka Louis Vuitton took on the task of producing hand sanitisers and distributing them free of charge to health authorities. All in the spirit of collective effort for the common good. The packaging carried no logo or premiumness, thus proving that in these trying times the company wasn’t leveraging branding, but merely putting the needs of their nation above its business. L’Oréal, Bulgari, Dior, Givenchy, Burberry are all producing 100s of tonnes of sanitizing gels, masks etc to be supplied to hospitals and emergency centres across Europe. In addition to their monetary aids to the medical sectors.

Zara, H&M, Prada, Ralph Lauren and more fashion brands are utilising their resources to manufacture face masks and hospital gowns for patients and healthcare officials. Nice to see the companies we buy from are in turn supporting to accommodate the greater good.

Like, Ford is pledging some breathing room around their car payments to its Ford Credit customers. Because, obviously the market is slow. Also, taxi app Gojek’s CEOs and senior managers plan to donate 25% of their salaries all year to drivers and other partners whose income has been adversely affected by the economic slowdown.
Logitech has launched a program for k-12 teachers to receive free webcams and headsets as they transition to virtual teaching. While, Zoom is now free for schools and has lifted its 40-minute meeting limit.

56% of consumers report being happy to learn about how brands are helping in response to the coronavirus pandemic, per a recent survey from the American Association of Advertising Agencies

Brands are readily finding ways to amend, tap into their resources, supply chains, and beyond to remind us that there are humans backing those logos. Talking of logos, here’s another creative twist some brands brought about. They took the social distancing aspect to their branding / logos and brought in some much needed wit.

Coca cola on a billboard spaced its logo out to impersonate social distancing amongst its consumers. Clever!
While the brand Chiquita who sells fresh produce, posted a version of its logo on Instagram with the brand mascot missing – announcing she was already home :)
McDonald’s changed the profile photo of its Brazil Facebook page, with the message, “Separating for a moment to always be together.”
Singapore’s gaming hardware and software producer Razer separated its symbolic three interlocking snakes on the traditional logo to individual snakes, encouraging users on social media to game from home all month long.
And, interestingly M1 – one of Singapore’s top Telcos amended their logo to depict social distancing by flipping their logo to make it read 1M (1 metre) instead.
Nike put out a witty ad encouraging its users to stay home.

Can you see something iconic missing here? Singapore Tourism Board (STB) took it to a whole new level by moving the Merlion figure to express its unanimity with the WFH measures. Also, the message Merlion left behind is giving us all the chuckles. See you soon, Merlion!

Whether it’s through timely aid or some creativity and humour, brands are transforming to support the situation. On the other hand, all we need to do is stay home and help our community through this. The world is healing, and it’s the least it’s asking us to do

#socialdistancing #stayindoors #staysafe #supportinsmallways
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  • As the Marketing and Communications Director, Deepti oversees brand strategies, marketing initiatives and digital platforms at Ashnik for Southeast Asia and India. Drawing inspiration from her advertising experience, she brings to Ashnik her zest for creativity and design. She splits her time between a full-time gig at her job, lots of hobbies and dodging her 4-year old's odd tantrums.

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