Did they help?

The Coronavirus pandemic has seen amazing humanitarian responses from organisations and individuals around the globe. But what did your favourite brand, politician or celebrity actually do in the crisis?

Did They Help? (didtheyhelp.com) sets out to provide a comprehensive, easy-to-access online database that reveals how companies and public figures behaved during the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown.

Created with help from the public and volunteers, this project seeks to provide a platform that allows society to make better, more informed decisions in the future about which products to purchase and organisations to invest in.

The project website has a clear mission statement and is constantly updating live profiles of brands and public figures, and could be a significant forum for consumer reassurance beyond the current pandemic.

Ed, from our Strategy team, comments:

“Didtheyhelp.com is a fascinating initiative that highlights companies and individuals actions during the COVID-19 outbreak. I find it interesting for two reasons. Firstly because it focuses only on what has been done, not said. There are no mentions of “we’re here for you” emails or socially distanced logos. The fact that it is an independent, not for profit venture which uses news reports to hold a mirror up to companies means there’s no hiding for organisations whose actions aren’t in line with people’s expectations.

Secondly, there have been numerous times in the past when companies have done things that are deemed unacceptable, but this hasn’t actually harmed business in the long run. Think of the VW emissions scandal or the outcry over Amazon’s tax payments, for example. Will society’s purchasing behaviour shift to be more ethically driven, meaning companies’ actions during the C-19 outbreak may impact their long term sales? Or, will people move on and continue to spend money with businesses who offer the right product in the right way at the right time, regardless of any misgivings about their behaviour? It’s going to be interesting to find out!”

Whether didtheyhelp.com itself will have a significant impact or not is still to be seen. It is, however, a clear indication that the Coronavirus is accelerating the need for greater transparency from organisations, and the impact of actions rather than words. We’re looking more to the opinions of others on products and services before we buy. Soon reviews could include a company’s moral and ethical behaviour, as well as product performance or experience.

The important thing for us as at CreativeRace and anyone working in marketing to learn from this is to make sure you understand what normal people are thinking and feeling about a situation or occasion.

Those brands which display real empathy with their audience will be the ones who truly deliver on marketing’s ultimate goal of providing the right service at the right time in the most relevant way.

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