If you’re like us, you’ve been actively seeking out good news during the current global pandemic. Communities have come together—but from six feet apart—here…and here…and here. Celebrities have helped spread cheer. Even brands have tapped into their resources to provide empathetic assistance during this difficult time.
We have talked about the importance of brand empathy. The current environment is a rarity in that you will be hard-pressed to find a global event that creates such a unified experience. We’re all in this together—as individuals, employees and businesses.
There are countless examples of how brands are stepping up to the plate to give a little back to their communities. And while these are undoubtedly good business practices for building long-term loyalty, in this article we’re going to focus more on how these examples foster a more personal connection between brand and consumer.
So, with that, here are some of the best examples (in no particular order) of brand empathy we have seen in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Brand Empathy in the Time of COVID-19
Staying Centered With Calm
Calm, a leading app for sleep and meditation, strives to “make the world happier and healthier.” When the shelter-in-place ordinances hit, people justifiably became anxious.
In such a time of turmoil and uncertainty, it’s patently human to worry about the future, especially when it is so murky. Calm recognized this and stepped in with an extensive list of free resources to “take a deep breath” and find a moment for self-care.
At its core, Calm addresses a uniquely personal pain point. Their messaging under the circumstances does well to call attention to the fact that they too are feeling the pressure, bringing the conversation down to a human-to-human level rather than business-to-customer.
E-Commerce for All Through eBay
For years it has been commonly believed that only half of all small businesses can survive without new revenue coming in for 27 days. E-commerce mainstay eBay prides itself on its rich history of launching small businesses and had an idea to make it a bit easier for these smaller organizations to make it through this tough time.
In June 2001, the company launched eBay Store as a way for small businesses to get the most out of the eBay marketplace. To help out during the outbreak, eBay started its “Up & Running” program, an accelerator program pledging $100 million in support for small businesses and making eBay Store free for three months.
Perhaps few understand the struggle of owning a fledgling business like eBay, and this program helps them connect at a personal level with aspiring entrepreneurs.
Striking a Balance With Glo
Many of us have found ourselves a bit restless as gyms, studios, parks and other places to get moving have closed. And if your social media hasn’t shown it already, the fitness industry has adapted.
Glo, an online provider for yoga, pilates and meditation, has taken a similar approach to Calm and many of its compatriots in health and wellness by offering free classes online in an effort to stay connected with their community.
The folks behind Glo understand that an environmental shift to stay home leads to a potentially more sedentary lifestyle—for themselves and everyone else—so offering resources for the benefit of the community is a great gesture of goodwill.
Allbirds Lifts Healthcare Workers
We could do an entire version of this post that focuses on the ways brands are working to help repay the unfathomable heroism of our healthcare workers. Before moving on, it’s important to note how you can help too. Get started here.
Shoe retailer Allbirds has made it easier for customers to give a bit of relief to overworked healthcare professionals by providing a few donation options.
These donation options allow consumers to take action and foster empathy alongside the Allbirds brand, a connection that will last long after the outbreak calms down.
At Iterable, we often remind ourselves that we aren’t in this alone: We’re better together. This motto rang true before coronavirus and will undoubtedly continue beyond.
We lift each other up, no matter the circumstances, because there is always someone to help.
Brands x Better took the motto of being better together to the next level by creating a coalition of brands to provide aid during this time of crisis. Rather than standing alone, these brands have come together to pledge 10% of their proceeds to charities working to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To build a more meaningful connection with consumers, brands must practice empathy, especially in times like these that remind us that we’re more than marketers—we’re humans. And these four organizations above have shown us how our products and services can be used for the greater good.
Meaningful marketing is nothing without authenticity. Take a look at how even more leading brands are using empathy in action in Iterable’s latest guide, Driving Growth with Good: Marketing with Empathy.