As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we’ve all had to adapt our marketing strategies. Branding and marketing now has to communicate a brand’s positive, helpful and authentic contribution to society.

It’s no longer a dog eat dog world. Kindness is our new currency.

Whether your company can donate money to those who need it, or create a seamless customer experience to show that you understand and care about your consumers, now is the time for your brand to translate honest and helpful messaging based on transparency and truth.

Here are some of the brands we think are doing ‘the right thing’.

Look local – Northern Monk & The Blending Room

Guy Raimes, Senior Designer 

Like a lot of us, I’ve been keen to support independent businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. Northern Monk is a Leeds-based brewery I’ve been a fan of for some time. Just because we’re in lockdown doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a craft beer or two. Or three.

Last week, I received my order and was incredibly impressed. The whole experience was flawless. The team went above and beyond to ensure I had all the information I’d need before making the purchase – warning of potential delays and changes to shipping. I even received a handwritten note in my delivery.

Similarly, within my order from the Blending Room – an independent coffee roaster based here in Hull – I received a handwritten ‘thank you’ message. Not only that, but as an added thank you for supporting the company during this difficult time, I received a discount code and offered free future shipping.

It’s little touches like this that really make a difference for consumers. It builds brand loyalty and now here I now am talking about it, advocating on the brand’s behalf.

It looks like I’ll be drinking even more coffee and beer to get me through this lockdown period. Could be worse!

Helping those who need it: Leon

Becci Flitton-O’Brien, Senior Account Manager 

Along with providing the tastiest, healthy, on-the-go food (hello fish finger wrap!) Leon has proven to be a standout brand during this crisis.

Prior to the lockdown, it had already been offering NHS staff a 50% discount on food and drink, but like many others, its restaurants soon closed. With demand from NHS workers asking how they could get hot and nutritious food for their teams following the closures of hospital canteens, Leon used its dormant kitchens to create a Feed NHS campaign. Members of the public can donate money to provide hot food for frontline NHS staff, with the campaign raising £150k in the first four hours!

The brand also realised the food growers and producers in its supply chain also needed help, and so the Feeding Britain campaign was launched. Customers can buy grocery boxes including meals for orders online, with any additional income donated to the NHS. Currently only delivering within the M25, the brand is working to expand this to other areas.

Donald Trump vs The Queen 

Anita Pace, Managing Director

Trump has also been staying true to his brand throughout this crisis and saying what he thinks, without any consideration for how it may ‘land’ with his audience. There are numerous examples of him demonstrating a lack of understanding of his customers (the American public) and their needs. He is also failing to tailor his message appropriately and appears to be showing a complete disregard for expert opinions. Not a comforting branding exercise to witness.   

In complete contrast, Queen Elizabeth II recently made her first ‘Easter address’ to uplift and reassure the British public. Morale boosting and uplifting, the Queen made a perfectly timed speech that articulated what her customers (the British public) needed to hear.

In an inspired idea from Ocean Outdoor, the Queen’s message of hope appeared in lights in London’s Piccadilly Circus.

Cementing her words in lights has only reinforced her brand – meaningful, thoughtful and considerate. Of course, most of us aren’t going to be able to see this in person, but the pictures look great.

‘It’s not hard, is it?’: a message to all brands

Jo Aitchison, PR & Content Manager

I enjoy listening to Blossoms Pubcast (a podcast by the indie pop band Blossoms), which features a segment entitled: ‘It’s not hard, is it?’. This segment shines a spotlight on a good deed, helpful act or kind gesture someone in the band has been the recipient of or noticed recently. To be featured in the segment, the good deed has to be quite small – it can’t have cost the do-gooder very much money or taken up too much of their time. The crux being that ‘it’s not hard’ to do the right thing and help one another out, ‘is it?’.

So I say: brands, do the right thing. It’s not hard, is it?