As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the world, it may feel as if people are more isolated than ever. Companies are enacting work from home policies, some industries are essentially being forced to shut down and entire countries are being forced to stay indoors.
However, in a time of global crisis, we’ve already witnessed ways humanity is banding together – albeit at a distance – to spread positivity and support. And for brands, while it’s important to approach such a difficult time with delicacy, many are finding ways to foster community and even provide solace for their customers. Across the globe companies are shifting their business practices to help out, whether it’s FoxConn changing production lines to make surgical face masks, or Givenchy switching over from perfume to hand sanitizer. Others have made sizable donations to relief efforts, and most are adapting policies to cater to customers who are largely stuck at home.
Here are just some of the ways we’ve witnessed brands step up to provide help and prioritize community over profit in a time where the economy is in a massive financial downturn:
Allocating resources to relief funds and grant programs.
French luxury group LVMH pledged nearly $2.3 million to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation to fight the virus while counterpart Kering also donated $1.1 million to the Red Cross in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Beauty brands L’Oréal and Estée Lauder have pledged $720,000 and $300,000 respectively to relief efforts.
Facebook announced a $100 million grant program to assist 30,000 small to medium sized businesses across 30 nations to help them stay afloat amongst the pandemic.
Artizia, the Canadian women’s fashion brand, announced that all of their profits during the COVID-19 outbreak will go to the Aritzia Community™ Relief Fund to support their people and their families.
Amorepacific, a South Korean beauty and cosmetics company, immediately protected its employees (over 3,500 of them) by ordering them to work from home. They also donated nearly $300K to emergency response efforts in Wuhan to bolster inventories of needed medical supplies. Additionally, one of Amorepacific’s haircare brands, RYO, organized shampoos and conditioners to support frontline health workers’ daily needs. The first shipment of donations departed the warehouse on February 27.
Shiseido announced the “Relay of Love Project” in the hope that everyone affected may return to health and safety as soon as possible. As a part of the project, Shiseido donated $1.43 million to support the procurement of necessary materials for medical treatment and infection prevention. The company also promised to donate a portion of regional sales for continuous supporting actions.
Creating mindful, community-driven campaigns.
Oakley, the sportswear manufacturer, announced that in the coming weeks they would be posting videos from their athletes on Instagram Stories and TikTok to “help everyone stay mentally and physically healthy during these tough times,” encouraging followers to do the same to foster community and overcome adversity.
In an effort to provide much-needed entertainment and video content to a community who is spending increasing amounts of time online, Nike began posting workouts to TikTok and has amassed 346,000 followers and more than 2 million likes.
Natura & Co, a Brazilian cosmetics group, says it will increase education and training of all of its 6.5M consultants and all staff in over 3,200 stores globally, whether on-site or remote. By doing so, they hope their representatives can become advocates, educated on ways to support both local and global Health Care Authorities about proper actions, care and protocols to help fight the spreading of COVID-19, including proper sanitization.
Vistaprint is also adapting to the changes and creating a sense of community. The online printer created a hashtag to encourage small businesses to share out how they are handling the pandemic (#vistaprintideashare) and shared a “change the date” template for cancelled weddings, and other events.
Women’s clothing chain, Free People, announced that while they are closing their stores, they will continue to pay employees and are available online, in their app and on social, whether to answer questions, even if a customer is “simply looking for someone to talk to.”
On Twitter, Reebok asked its followers what kind of equipment they have at home so the footwear/apparel company could provide workouts to be done in the living room.
Outdoor retailer, REI, also closed all stores, vowed to continue paying employees and offered free shipping. They also put together online resources for customers and further tips on how to integrate fitness and fresh air at home.
Athletic apparel company, lululemon, sent heartfelt customer communications offering at-home yoga practices and meditations to help people feel more active, grounded and connected through this time. The company also announced that while their stores are closed, they would be paying all employees as usual and providing access to their Global Pay Relief Plan.
Using technology to keep people safe and informed.
Facebook announced a ban on ads which sought to capitalize on fears around COVID-19 and adapted the News Feed prompts to highlight relevant, accurate information on the outbreak. Additionally, they created a business resource hub for people who are impacted by the pandemic, and have given local authorities access to the Local Alerts tool, in order to help them distribute relevant updates and info among their communities.
Olapic is here for you.
Like so many of you, we have spent the last several days and weeks learning about COVID-19 and how it is impacting our world. Though we’re a SaaS business, at our core, we’re a community-driven one and strive to ensure the personal and operational health of both our employees and our client relationships.
It’s a difficult time in uncharted waters, that’s becoming increasingly tougher to navigate, but we’re here to help with whatever you need. We’ll continue to share examples here and on our @Olapic Instagram account of ways we’re working to stay connected with each other as well as inspiration that we’re seeing from our diverse portfolio of brand communities.
If you have any questions, or would like to chat through any marketing recommendations or suggestions at this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out.