How Brands Can Add Value In The Face Of Uncertainty

In the face of the extended crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic, every business is being challenged to make timely decisions right for employees and customers alike.

Here are five ways your brand can help inform your efforts to give back during this crisis. 

Consider your audience. Your audience consists of groups essential to fulfilling your purpose and positioning.Look to them to learn who needs help, and how you can support them.

After shows and events began announcing cancellations, Spotify set up a fund to support performers. DoorDash created the #DoYourPartChallenge, a campaign that encourages people to donate meals from local restaurants, experiencing fewer orders during social distancing, to families who also need support.

Look to your strengths. Your greatest strengths as a company can help you determine how to respond in a manner that aligns with your brand.

Leaning on their production capabilities, apparel brands like Gap, Inc. and Nike — along with local shops and online startups — are making and donating face masks, gowns and shields to hospitals. Some executives like Columbia Sportswear’s Timothy Boyle have voluntarily cut their own salaries to preserve jobs for hourly workers.



Identify what you can do. Be realistic about what’s feasible for your business (without focusing solely on sales). This information can clarify how your brand can make a more meaningful impact, maybe even beyond its intended audience.

JetBlue did something it does every day — transport people — and announced free flights for medical volunteers traveling to the pandemic epicenter, New York. Airbnb offered to pay hosts who volunteer their listings for healthcare professionals, relief workers and first responders all over the world.

Assemble your team. Many brands are building partnerships and sharing resources to develop creative solution — sometimes in unexpected ways.

Microsoft isn’t an authority on health. The CDC doesn’t make apps. But together they created a Chatbot to help people self asses their symptoms and direct them to appropriate care, easing strain on emergency services.

Instead of giving customers a reason to stay well-groomed during quarantine, men’s shaving company, Harry’s, leaned into its social mission and promoted Text Crisis Line to support customers’ mental health.

Listen and adapt. The most successful brands listen to consumers and respond to their needs as much as they can.

The Seattle restaurant Canlis continues to evolve in an effort to create jobs for the restaurant’s employees while feeding residents. Since early March, it’s transformed from fine dining spot to a bagel shack and drive-thru, to a CSA, wine cellar, family meal delivery service and virtual music venue.

Pinterest's new “Stay safe. Stay inspired” feature organizes Pins by its users’ interests — from health guidelines and crafts for kiddos to indoor exercises for dogs and cocktail recipes for virtual happy hour.

In uncertain times, there are defining moments — some that reveal cracks, and others that exemplify great courage. Using your brand as a guidepost can help point your business in the right direction to give back in a meaningful manner. 

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