Six smart brand responses to COVID-19

Back in April we looked at acts of kindness from our clients, with examples from Novartis, Diageo, Kraft Heinz, Google and McDonalds – and we’ve seen lots more since.

So we are bringing together some personal observations from the Incite team covering businesses and organisations that have been doing good – good marketing, good customer service, or just plain good – over the last few months, with a take-out for each.

This time we are looking at organisations large and small, including some we are lucky enough to work with, some we admire, and some we simply enjoy as customers. This list is far from exhaustive, but hopefully it is instructive.

As always if you want to learn more about Incite’s work during Covid-19 or anything else, please get in touch.

J&J have been doing a wide variety of things to help fight Covid-19 including some very direct ones such as working on treatments and a possible vaccine. But maybe more eye-catching has been the more imaginative ways in which they have responded, including donating Nicorette smoking cessation products to help protect smokers who are particularly vulnerable to the disease and fast-tracking US Tylenol to Australian shelves to help the country respond to a shortage of paracetamol.

The take out: Think about the non-obvious things your company’s assets can contribute, to do good or respond to changing demand.

— Kate Jones

Over the Easter weekend, five members of the tech team at Gousto, the recipe box brand,  spent their own time building the the Food Finder app – a platform to support local businesses and help families find other sources of food. You can hear more from their CMO Tom Wallis in this recent webinar.

The take out: Despite Facebook’s famous motto, it is also possible to move fast and fix things.

— Annabel Haindl

Independent hair salons

Even very small businesses have managed to respond quickly and robustly throughout the crisis. My local independent hair salon built their response around learning from a network of other salons, of trade bodies and professional associations and of similar businesses locally. Getting advice from the local dental practice was a new experience but proved to be hugely helpful.

The take out: To solve novel problems, build alliances and learn from everyone. Even dentists.

— Audrey Anand

Minor Figures – an oat milk created specifically for coffee – put in place a system during the pandemic that allowed customers on their website to donate 5% of their purchase value to a coffee shop of their choice.

The take out: Brands that do good, feel good to buy from – especially when that good feels relevant and purpose-led.

— Dave Stenton

The hair styling brand welcomed guests at the virtual Shine event by delivering a bunch of flowers and a hamper with tea, coffee and a mug.

The take out: Making the effort to go beyond digital touchpoints stands-out even more for brands during lockdown.

— Jonathan Stone

Our local bars and restaurants

Being based in Soho in central London, seeing the transformation of the streets around our office has filled us with nostalgia for the many great restaurants and cafes nearby.

The take out: From ad-hoc home offices to reclaimed city streets, repurposing space and using it more efficiently has been a major theme in successful responses. Think how that can apply to the assets your business owns.

— Pete Pereira