These are irregular times. The global COVID-19 situation has changed the way we live our lives, the way companies do business and the way we, as a society, approach problems.
Brands everywhere are having to adapt to new ways of working. That might mean WFH for the foreseeable future, switching to a purely digital distribution network or rethinking their product/offering altogether.
Companies, big and small, have had to adapt very quickly to the ongoing situation. This has led to some genuinely quite heart-warming humanitarian efforts coming from some unexpected places...
The COVID-19 outbreak has proven how vital supermarkets are to a functioning society. Open any social media app and you’ll be greeted by pictures of empty shelves, overflowing trolleys and queues that laugh in the face of social distancing. But what they don’t show are the workers and the vulnerable people just trying to do their weekly shop, all of whom are probably more anxious and afraid than the panic buyers.
Which is why it was such a relief to see national chains putting these people first. ASDA recently announced that any employee who needs to self-isolate will receive full pay for 12 weeks. They are also among many household names to announce an hour in the morning specifically dedicated to elderly and vulnerable people and NHS workers.
So what do we take from this? Acts of kindness, however big or small, are more important now than ever.
The demand for hand sanitiser has skyrocketed. What used to be an afterthought for most people is now a few weeks away from becoming a currency. While increased public hygiene certainly isn’t a negative, it does mean that the people who actually need it – medical workers, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems – can’t get hold of any.
But fortunately, where there is demand, there is supply. From Brewdog, to Dundee’s Verdant Brewing, to hometown heroes Brighton Gin, breweries across the UK have begun repurposing their product into hand sanitiser. Even global names like Louis Vuitton are getting involved by repurposing their perfume factories to make sanitiser for French hospitals.
Around the world, people are adapting their products to meet the new demands the current situation is creating. Now more than ever brands need to be malleable, as it not only assures they can stay afloat, but it helps in the collective relief effort.
People Over Profit
The current climate has had an adverse effect on almost every industry, with the retail and hospitality sectors being hit particularly badly.
But as many independent retailers and business owners are having to downsize, New York-based menswear brand Aimé Leon Dore is doing the opposite. Founder and director Teddy Santis recently announced that they are looking to hire displaced creatives, designers and hard workers to help build the brand in the current climate.
Sadly, not every business will be able to do this. But in some cases the need to adapt creates opportunities, and this leads to growth. For the business and the individual. If this is the new normal then we need to find a way to make it work, because as the global situation changes so must we.