At the end of March 2020, Mike Barry of A Blueprint for Better Business wrote a post for Ethical Corporation outlining how businesses can help shape a sustainable world, post Covid-19.
In it, he observed, “Post-COVID-19, we will not see a blind eye turned as it was to the banks in 2008-2012 as they crept back to the old ways on the back of taxpayer support. The companies that prosper in the next decade will be the ones that have taken the management-speak of ‘purpose’ and turned it into reality.”
The ‘purpose’ Mike refers to is your reason for being and what you stand for above all else; what you’re doing to make the world a better place – your social impact.
There’s been a growing trend of consumers turning toward brands with a purpose for some time. In 2018, a study by Nielsen showed that 81% of global consumers say it’s extremely or very important for companies to implement programs to improve the environment. And 73% say they’ll either definitely or probably change their consumption habits to lessen their impact on the environment.
Now, though, in the middle of a global crisis, people are paying even closer attention to what brands are doing around social impact, as was evident with the unwanted media attention for Wetherspoons and Kroger in the U.S, and the positive attention for Gary Neville and his move to donate 176 hotel beds to NHS workers.
While social impact should never be implemented as a short-term measure to capitalise on the fact all eyes are on you during a pandemic, it’s a good time to think about marketing not as a way to generate sales, but a chance to tell the story of your long-term purpose.
A good example of a brand striking the right tone during the time of Covid-19 is Nike. At a time when our daily routines were taken away from us, Nike helped unite people while sticking with its theme of inspiration and determination to get customers active.
It’s ‘Play for the World’ campaign was accompanied by practical ways for people to workout at home.
At the same time, the brand has pledged support to grassroots organisations through its ‘Nike Community Impact Fund’ and helped healthcare workers by manufacturing PPE.
Why does it work? Because Nike has kept its message authentic and practised what it preached.
And that’s what consumers want… for you to be part of the solution in a time of need.
How brands act today, during the pandemic, will impact customer trust and loyalty in the future.
How will your brand look on the other side?