How brands supporting communities battle Covid crisis will benefit in the long run

Experts opine that the brands have to be utterly careful as overt exposure or wrong promotion can rip off the authenticity, doing more harm than good

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Updated: May 10, 2021 12:18 PM
Brands and Covid

As the country battles a deadly pandemic, several corporates have extended a supporting hand to communities and their teams with monetary donations and medical & emotional support. From contributing to charities to creating support services for their own staff personnel, to support the families of employees they lost to Covid, there has been no dearth of positive initiatives taken by businesses. As per marketing experts and active professionals, these deeds of good, if delivered right, will help the brand image a lot in the longer run. 

Brand-nomics MD Viren Razdan highlights, “The horror show that we are going through has created a huge space for heroes whether its real-life people helping one another, or organisations stepping up or brands. Depending on your relevant category domain - brands are reaching out to touch consumers at a human level. These actions will never be forgotten, goodwill generated would be extremely valuable in the long run.” 

However, the actions will have to go above tokenism and actually help the needy turn out to be effective proponents of a healthy brand image, opines Grapes Digital National Business Head Rajeesh Rajagopalan. 

“It is very important for brands to package these initiatives in the right manner and also make sure that the right help reaches the right people -- within and outside their teams. People can see through the acts of sheer tokenism and that will do more harm than good for the brands. For example, brands have to support the vaccination drive first for their sales representatives and other employees who have to be on the field to support their businesses. If the right help is not reaching those people, then the whole initiative will fall flat,” he says. 

Brand-Building Founder and Brand Strategist & Coach Ambi Parameswaran highlights that it will be perverse for brands to take the advantage of consumer fear by promoting brands on the back of “protection against Covid.” Hence, such on-ground activities are necessary to make sure the brand attains organic goodwill. 

He adds, “You can make claims as long as you can live up to them, and even then I would caution brands to tone down their claims. Don’t talk of protection, talk of immunity. The best is to ensure that your products are available through local stores and ecomm merchants. Pharma companies need to ensure that their products don’t go underground. That is posing its own challenge. Then there is the bull-whip effect that one has to be ready for when the pandemic eases. You cannot end up with huge inventory just as the Covid numbers start going down, hopefully, they will go down by mid-end May.”

Razdan and Rajagopalan emphasise that brands will have to be utterly careful how they are promoting their initiatives. The former says, “These are internal practices and policies and go a long way in building your company brand. Word of mouth builds reputation and breeds loyalty for corporation brands. To maintain dignity while we ’talk’ about such acts is a key factor; any overt exposure would rip it off its authenticity.”  

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