Posted by Laura Williams
30th March, 2020

Insights how brands are surviving a pandemic Insights how brands are surviving a pandemic

How brands are surviving a pandemic

Struggling to readjust your brand strategy with ever-changing COVID-19 updates? "Forget your industry, forget your competition. Just do something to help people” said Sam Shaw, Strategy Director for audience insights specialists Canvas8, during the first of its weekly webinar series diving deep into ‘Pandemic Culture’.

Today the world is in a state of anxiety. Government advice, industry markets and audience behaviour is changing rapidly as the COVID-9 crisis unfolds. This makes it difficult for brands and business leaders to keep up with planning for both short and long-term solutions.

“Now is not the time to focus on sales or stock levels. We believe the focus should be far more profound”, says Feel-Good Brands co-founder and director of Beyond, Andy Brattle. “Businesses are suffering at the hands of COVID-19. But it’s the brands that take a positive, proactive stance during this turbulent time that will ultimately thrive in the end”.

By actively building, caring for and supporting your community, and seeking new ways to proactively interact with consumers, brands have a unique opportunity to show that they understand the plight of the nation, to lift spirits, to provide solutions and to help.

Here’s how to navigate the pandemic with positive and proactive solutions:

Think laterally

The independent brewer Brewdog is making hand sanitiser at its distillery in Scotland, to be given away for free amid shortages driven by Coronavirus outbreak fears. Meanwhile, Healthy fast food brand Leon turned its restaurants into supermarkets where consumers could buy ready meals, sauces meats and other foods.

Utilise marketing power

Crayola UK started a social campaign, #StayAtHomeStayCreative to encourage families to stay at home and use creativity to stick together and stay positive — building on brand loyalty through the power of brand community. TimeOut strives to continue providing for their readers by pivoting to TimeIn — bringing people the best of London in the comfort of their own home with virtual tours of museums and more.


Sporting goods retailer Decathlon is converting its line of snorkelling masks into makeshift ventilators for hospitals in northern Italy. It teamed up with engineers from an Italian research institute who used 3D printing to transform the equipment. As a sports retailer it could have simply focused on pushing online sales in light of an upsurge in home workouts during isolation. Instead, they are reaching out to help the global collective — something that consumers will remember in times to come.

Pay it forward

Uber Eats has waived fees to support small businesses during restaurant closures. Meanwhile Dyson is producing thousands of ventilators and donating a percentage to hospitals in need. Both companies could profit financially from the increased need for their services. Instead, they are putting morals and brand reputation ahead of stock sales.

Support healthcare workers

While healthcare workers risk their lives daily to save ours, supermarkets, including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl and Co-Op, have introduced priority hours for NHS workers as well as vulnerable customers. Many brands, including Pret A Manger, have also cut prices and/or given away free supplies to NHS workers.

Contribute to welfare

In light of schools closing, Heinz has pledged to give 12 million free breakfasts to school children at risk of starting their day hungry. Meanwhile Apple is sending out care packages containing iPads, hand sanitizer, food and more employees in need.

In summary, whether it’s re-enforcing a strengthened sense of community, sending out donations or developing a new and relevant product, there are moral opportunities for brands to survive and thrive in these changing and uncertain times.

It’s the actions taken now that will forever be remembered by consumers with love and loyalty in better times. Get in touch and tell us how you plan to make a difference.