How brands inject ‘soulidarity’ in a post-lockdown society
From the 8 PM clapping in support of all healthcare workers to local initiatives helping elderly neighbors with shopping for food and essentials, the ‘we are all in this together’ feeling prevailed during the pandemic lockdown. With many of us having used the lockdown to rewind and reflect, a wave of solidarity engulfed the globe, adding some ‘kind soul’ to our daily schedules. Global brands contributed to this feeling as a way to stay close and relevant to the consumers, yet with challenging economical times ahead, consumers expect brands to keep up their ‘soulidarity’ efforts while moving forward.
While brands initially hit the pause button, many soon adapted their modus operandi to stay relevant during crisis times. A well-known example are distilleries and breweries pivoting to producing hand sanitizers by adapting their existing business models. As more and more countries are entering a post-lockdown situation, brands are challenged to keep feeding into this growing need for ‘soulidarity’.
Small local businesses that typically lack cash flow and capital are hit hard and face difficult times. In our global consumer community, plenty of consumer initiatives were shared – from a virtual pub quiz to restaurant gift vouchers – to help small businesses.
“I think that we should help where we can. Now my favorite restaurant is offering to-go menus, I order them much more often than I would normally do. Also, I helped my hairdresser by buying gift cards that I can spend when COVID-19 is over.”
“The local businesses are what makes our community special, especially the small businesses, so we’ll make sure to go out and patronize them whenever we can. I actually bought about $300 in gift cards last week for local restaurants that have been struggling. I’m hoping to buy more when I get my stimulus check.”
Similarly, we have seen initiatives from brands to empower the small and local to get back on their feet. Skate apparel brand Vans launched ’Foot the Bill’, a customization program to support their network of independent skate shops, restaurants and other small businesses affected by COVID-19. This Vans community is invited to design their own Classic Slip-On or Era shoes, which are then sold via the ‘Foot the Bill’ program. The net proceeds of their unique designs go directly back to these small businesses.
Another example is Heuritech, an Artificial Intelligence platform that created the solidarity program ’New Data for Fashion’ to give fashion players, a hard-hit sector, access to strategic information, especially emerging brands. Until September 2020, companies have access to reports, webinars and personalized support to guide them when resuming their activities and steering their strategy.
In these economically uncertain times, also many consumers struggle to keep their head above water:
“I only have 400 euros set aside and I hope to get out of this emergency before this little nest egg ends.”
As food aid organizations expect an enormous increase in the demand for food aid in the coming months, they are more than ever in need for support to prevent food insecurity. French waste-reduction start-up Phenix stepped up in the fight against food waste and food insecurity by partnering with social grocery network ANDES which helps people in a precarious financial situation, by selling them unsold items at symbolic prices. Online marketplace Gumtree Australia launched a support network to connect those in need of essential items and services with those able to provide them. From delivering groceries to walking someone’s dog or helping small businesses, Gumtree brings the local community together with the hashtag #LocalLegends. Ford also recognizes their consumers’ financial struggles in their ’Built to Lend a Hand’ campaign and offers six months of payment relief for eligible new-car customers.
We are all in this together, and the recovery of the global economy can only benefit from these little sparks of ‘soulidarity’.
Tune in and hear from Future Consumer Expert Joeri Van den Bergh and Sarah Van Oerle what consumers expect from brands in this new reality: Consumers Unmasked: Insights into an evolving COVID-19 reality!
Or check out our dedicated COVID-19 online community approach for more details on how to connect with your consumer and audiences.