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The power of purpose: Getting to the heart of branding during the coronavirus crisis
By SmartBranding Team access_time 8 min read

In the previous article, we explored how companies and famous brands reacted to the newly occurred situation with COVID 19. As time passed, many more brands joined the fight against this invisible enemy by providing different kinds of help. Companies are now using their voice to spread a message to promote social distancing and show a commitment to public safety. Their highly visited social media accounts are great platforms to indicate percussion measures and inspire people to protect themselves and their loved ones. Since people have to stay home, the time spent on the internet is significantly increased so many famous brands contributed by providing free online streamings and programs to make the digital experience more interesting.

After releasing the “Play Inside — play for the World” campaign, Nike came up with many more resources to help athletes reach their fitness goals, whatever they are. They are offering Livestreamed Workouts Led by Nike Master Trainers on the Nike Youtube channel, Digital Fitness Challenges with athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and Giannis Antetokounmpo as well as programs to encourage kids to stay active, such as through the U.K’s Discovery Education and Tokyo’s JUMP-JAM programming. Working closely with health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Nike’s innovation, manufacturing, and product teams have come together to provide for an urgent need: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Webflow made an announcement on their website on how they are helping small businesses during this challenging time. They have put together comprehensive blog posts that highlight specific tactics to boost sales in tough times as well as offered free 3-month subscription to a Standard Ecommerce plan, three free website templates, and Free or discounted access to experts for web design and development, marketing, branding and more.

James Dyson designed a new ventilator in 10 days after receiving an order from the UK government for 10,000 ventilators to support efforts by the country’s National Health Service to treat coronavirus patients. Dyson said the company had designed and built an entirely new ventilator, called the “CoVent,” since he received a call 10 days ago from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Tesla is one of several automakers, including GM, Ford, and FCA that has pledged support to either donate supplies or offer resources to make more ventilators. Earlier this week, Ford said it is working with GE Healthcare to expand the production capacity of ventilators.

Airbnb keeps providing places to stay for those fighting the spread of COVID-19. They have announced a series of partnerships and collaborations with medical organizations around the world such as the National Health Service in the UK, Sutter Health in California, the Ministry of Housing in France and Barcelona Official Doctors Association. The company says that its goal is to continue to remain responsive to the evolving needs at the local level to help connect COVID-19 responders with Frontline stays.

Besides giving out free drinks to frontline workers until May 3, Starbucks announced on Friday it is paying their workers for the next 30 days whether they come to work or not, amid the coronavirus outbreak. Starbucks is also offering catastrophe pay, mental health and sick pay benefits, and childcare support.

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Many companies are promoting social distancing in an effort to lower the risk of contracting the illness by redesigning their logos. Coca Cola has separated the logo with the slogan “Staying apart is the best way to stay connected.” McDonald’s also separated its logo and they are demonstrating that the company and its customers “can always be together”, no matter that some of their restaurants are closed. Besides, McDonald’s is offering food through delivery and drive-thru. Volkswagen promoted a video with inspirational messages and separated the V and W, while Audi separated its four rings in a short video telling people to stay at home and keep their distance.

Eataly Paris Marais is donating meals to hospital workers fighting the coronavirus in Paris. “Through this initiative, Eataly Paris Marais and its teams want to contribute to the wave of national solidarity and demonstrate their deep respect for and immense gratitude to the people working tirelessly to solve this unparalleled situation,” the family-owned department store said in a statement.

Home Depot said it will no longer sell respirator masks to the general public and will donate them to hospitals instead amid the CCP virus pandemic. “As our communities battle COVID-19, The Home Depot is committed to providing the essential needs required to maintain homes and businesses while doing our best to protect our valued customers and associates. This has resulted in several temporary changes to our business as we look out for your safety and the safety of our associates,” said Craig Menear, chairman, CEO, and president of The Home Depot. “We want to thank our associates and our customers for their patience and cooperation as we work through this challenge together.”

Louis Vuitton keeps helping and has reopened Ready-to-Wear Atelier to make hospital gowns and masks following a plea from the French government. Hundreds of artisans have already been mobilized to produce masks, and at the Paris atelier, there are currently 20 people at work. Next week, voluntary Louis Vuitton pattern cutters will begin to work from home simultaneously as well.

Apple is producing face shields for health workers and aims to make 1 million weekly since hospitals have reported shortages of critical supplies during the coronavirus outbreak. Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to COVID-19. We’ve now sourced over 20M masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations, and packaging teams are also working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers. 

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, L’Oreal unveiled a multi-tiered initiative to support those impacted. The company will donate $250k donation to Feeding America, continue production on hand sanitizer, and provide masks to healthcare professionals. Additionally, the brand will extend its commitment to L’Oréal USA Gives Back, announced in March 2020. When it comes to measures for protecting salon professionals affected by the pandemic, they have partnered with the Professional Beauty Association to donate $200k to the PBA COVID-19 Relief Fund for licensed professionals unable to work and provide essential products, including masks, to those in need.

Through its iconic Viva Glam charitable campaign — which has raised over $500 million since its launch in 1994 — MAC Cosmetics will donate $10 million USD to 250 organizations all over the world fighting against coronavirus. In addition to the brand’s donation, Mac will be donating 100 percent of Viva Glam lipstick sales to vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic.

Kylie Cosmetics and Kylie Skin will produce hand sanitizers for Southern California hospitals. The sanitizers will be donated to emergency and healthcare workers treating patients at the center of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each custom sanitizer will read, “Dedicated to first responders working to support our communities.” The latest partnership comes after Kylie and Kris donated $1M for healthcare professionals’ protective gear.

Unilever will donate more than $8 million to help those affected by the pandemic, providing food, personal hygiene, and home cleaning products. Additionally, Unilever will partner with Feeding America to support food banks across the country, donate more than 200,000 masks to local hospitals in New Jersey, and organize a national Day of Service on May 21. Unilever will utilize its workforce for community efforts, donating all products manufactured at its factories that day or products of equal value to those impacted by COVID-19, providing an estimated $12 million of aid for those in need.

Nordstrom is partnering with Kaas Tailored and Providence to create 100,000 masks and with Ascension, one of the largest hospital networks in the U.S., to make nearly 1 million medical masks.

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, is donating $5 million to help female businesswomen struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. They are also partnering with True Story Brands to launch Frontline Dine, an initiative to deliver 2,500 meals per week to workers at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Rothy’s donated $20,000 to Direct Relief, which provides equipment for frontline workers.

Now that people feel very vulnerable it’s very important for brands to react with empathy as well as to use their media in more agile ways to offer support and consolation to their customers. Many companies need to adapt to new circumstances so they can keep delivering, so for them, innovation and even margin improvement will emerge out of our current discomfort. Have you noticed how quickly customers and employees have embraced digitally-enabled journeys and experiences? Both brands and customers are learning and developing together while trying to stay humble and helpful, companies on a macro level and individuals in their microsystems.

brand purpose branding brands coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic