How brands stepped forward during COVID-19

by Adwright, 21 February, 2020

COVID-19 is probably the scariest trending word in 2020. Amidst this contagious epidemic, the civil defence, police and healthcare workers are the ones who stood at their fort to put up a good fight while the rest of the nation looked on.

There were some reports where members of the public became worried and went overboard. All sorts of face mask became a sold-out item. Commodity items such as toilet papers and rice disappeared off the rack as soon as the country announced DORSCON Orange. Then there was news where the frontliners were scolded and shooed off public transport. The frontliners were sadly ostracised and persecuted.

The nation went into a state of frenzy. However, many Singaporeans and F&B companies stepped forward to support the country in various means.

Some of the brands that go over and beyond the COVID-19 period were:

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves

The good people of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaves rally their support to the nursing staff by sponsoring them with coffee! They provided drinks to all nursing staff in their uniform at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). This action generated good-will among the team working at TTSH and the media. When the story was shared, it created positive engagement with the public.

OK Chicken

OK Chicken, a chicken rice stall, started a “Cheer-up” campaign to provide subsidised rate chicken rice for patrons to buy for healthcare workers. This pay-it-forward campaign had gone viral, and within five days, OK Chicken had raised more than 5000 boxes of meals to be delivered to the various hospitals. Though their daily operation at the stall was affected, OK Chicken’s campaign managed to tide through. More importantly, the brand garnered many positive reports via various medias such as Mustsharenews, TheNewPaper, AsiaOne.

JJ Drinks

JJ Drinks distributed their No Sugar Herbal Tea to the frontliners at Ward 75 at Singapore General Hospital. This particular ward looked after the COVID-19 suspected cases and patients. While there was no media coverage or high engagement, the recipients of this canned goodness felt appreciated. This initiative positively impacted the frontliners and over time, build social trust and appreciation for the brand.

HarriAnns

A member of the public started a campaign to raise fund to support the frontliners with HarriAnns offering lunch bento sets with waived off delivery. HarriAnns also penned and designed daily messages to encourage the team. These bento sets became highlights for the hard-working teams at the frontline. This thoughtful gesture touched doctors and nurses in the ward. The director of the COVID-19 ward posted images of the lunches and messages which garnered more than 300 engagements.

This act of reciprocation created positive brand awareness and reputation. It also became an opportunity where the public saw the high-quality, nutritious food produced by HarriAnns as well as the ancillary benefit to COVID-19 teams.

Takeaway

CSR is no longer about crisis communication or greenwashing. It has become one of the ways for companies to remain relevant in our increasingly socially aware society. CSR programmes and actions reflect good-will. Importantly, to consumers, they would prefer brands that pursuit social causes such as opposing poverty, supporting sustainability or human rights.

We are genuinely proud that two of our clients – JJ Drinks and HarriAnns partake in giving back to society. Their actions were aligned with positive corporate branding and social belief.

Doing good should not be sporadic; it should be integrated into a company’s brand strategy to remain ahead. It is never too late to start making a difference. Every effort towards social change can make a positive impact on the world!

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