It’s a new normal for the country. You can consider the health precautions—such as periodic hand washing and social distancing—and the cancellations as burdens. On the other hand (no pun intended), consider the upside: The U.S. is fortunate in that it can benefit from other countries’ experiences, possibly helping to lessen the virus’s impact here.
For brands, a new baseline is also forming. What eventually becomes standard practice in CSR is uncertain, yet trends are coalescing. Some brands are stepping up, others are standing pat, at least for the moment.
Preferring to look at COVID-19 as a great opportunity for CSR, we’ve noticed a bevy of large brands doing good. These kind acts likely earn double reputation points. Doing good is welcome always. Foregoing some revenue in the face of economic uncertainty, now that should really benefit reputation.
Some companies and organizations are doing good internally, others externally. For example, Shopify is giving each of its employees a $1000 stipend to buy supplies to work from home. A church in Maryland voted to continue to pay its musicians despite cancelling worship services.
Companies and organizations acting this way "will see advantages...in the long term," says Deb Gabor, CEO, Sol Marketing. Goodwill, she adds, will extend to them "in spades."
Such actions, adds Amy Power of the Power Group, are becoming table stakes.
On the other hand, brands that are "opportunistic and uncouth...co-opting this disaster for their benefit will find themselves in a world of hurt," Gabor says.
Below a sampling of large brands doing good:
- The NY Times and other media outlets have taken down paywalls blocking coronavirus stories. The Times and USA Today are offering free coronavirus newsletters. LinkedIn also is making certain resources available gratis.
- CVS is waiving its delivery fee on prescriptions. This will allow people who might have the virus, or be at high risk of contracting it, to stay home, per the CDC’s recommendation.
- U-Haul is offering 30 days of free storage to college students who need to quickly vacate their dorms.
- FCC chief Ajit Pai urged internet service providers (ISP) to take measures that ensure customers won't lose their connection despite an inability to pay for it. Some ISPs will offer free internet access to low-income families. In addition, several ISPs will make hot spots available to all.
- Chinese e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma is donating 1 million face masks and 500,000 test kits to the US.
- Several NBA stars are pitching in to help arena employees.
- Amazon is donating $5 million to help small businesses around its headquarters cope with the expected slowdown.
- Similarly, Facebook and Google, among others, are donating funds to help Silicon Valley communities.
- In addition, Facebook will send $20 million to WHO, CDC and the UN Foundation as they battle the virus.
This article is part of PRNEWS' daily COVID-19 coverage, click here to see the latest updates.