“Look for the helpers,” Mr. Rogers would say. Growing up in the U.S., Mr. Rogers was a fixture of my childhood. I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase lately. And about the helpers. The grocery store employees, delivery drivers, doctors, nurses — all helpers. Watching the news lately can be draining. So while it’s important (and necessary!) to stay informed, I find joy in looking for the helpers.
Brands are in a unique position to be helpers. With a common mission and vision, they can assemble employees — and resources — quickly. It’s particularly delightful to see brands support the causes they hold true, like small businesses, animal rights, or providing their customers with heartwarming content at no cost.
Here are some examples I’ve enjoyed lately. Though it’s not comprehensive or exhaustive, it’s proof that with the uncertainty we’re facing right now, there are helpers among us, both people and companies.
Donations and giveaways
Busch — Foster a Dog, Get Busch
U.S. beer brand Busch teamed up with a local animal shelter to offer a three-month supply of free beer for anyone fostering or adopting one of its dogs. Yes, free beer. Yes, for adopting a dog. The win-win initiative was launched in response to the closure of animal shelters across the U.S.
Despite the shutdown, abandoned and unwanted animals continue to fill the shelters. In launching the “Foster a Dog, Get Busch” site, the beer company aims to address the isolation and anxiety felt by many while providing a new home for dogs.
Hallmark Channel — Free eBook Downloads
Libraries across the U.S. are closed, and for many people, even with digital download limits from libraries, that means fewer books to read. The Hallmark Channel/Hallmark Publishing is offering free eBooks along with the option to send one to a friend. As we’re socially isolating, it’s a nice reminder that we’re in this together.
Snickers — Send a Snickers from Home
Snickers is providing essential workers with a free Snickers bar, via an e-gift card redeemable at Walmart. To do so, they’re not collecting addresses, they’re collecting cell phone numbers (so smart!) and will deliver the product via smartphone. Plus, for every bar sent, Snickers will also make a donation to support first responders through Operation Gratitude.
Allbirds — We’re Better Together
Beginning March 24th and running while supplies last, you can bundle your shoe purchase with a donation to immediately supply a pair of wool runners to a healthcare professional. You can also donate without making a purchase. Healthcare professionals can submit their information to receive a pair of shoes as well.
Amazing response to our donation. We've since distributed $500k of shoes and listened to our community by adding a “buy-one-give-one” option in the U.S. + option to donate a pair to a healthcare worker. Donate your pair here: https://t.co/0D1HGLQ3Mc pic.twitter.com/jHRq5wWq96— Allbirds (@Allbirds) March 24, 2020
Partnerships for the cause
Crocs — Sharing a Free Pair for Healthcare
Crocs is partnering with companies including (but not limited to) Zappos, PNC, and Citibank to collect names for healthcare workers who would like a pair of Crocs to assist their frontline efforts. Each day, healthcare workers can get in the queue to request a pair of shoes.
Vans — Foot the Bill
Footwear brand Vans partnered with local and community-driven skate shops, restaurants, art galleries, and music venues to support them with custom-designed Vans footwear. Net proceeds from the sale of each pair of these very special Vans Customs will go directly to small business partners. And they’re limited edition, so if you see some you like, add to cart and complete your purchase.
Kroger — Donatos Partnership
Donations and volunteer hours are beneficial, but so is partnership. At the end of March, Donatos reported that Kroger placed the company’s largest order in its almost 57-year history. Kroger ordered the pizzas to feed 12,000 of its central Ohio employees, and while they received a generous discount from Donato’s, the gesture of goodwill goes a long way. Both companies have roots in Ohio. The order was so large that it took 62 Donatos restaurants to fulfill it.
Planning for tomorrow
There is yet another silver lining for many of these brands doing good things right now. As these companies conduct business and make donations, they’re being smart about data -- gathering phone numbers, store preference information, and getting email addresses from potential customers. Brands are gathering phone numbers, locations, and email addresses from potential customers. They’re doing the right thing today so that they can stay in business tomorrow, and I think that’s the most helpful thing of all.
For more information on how brands are responding to
COVID-19, check out our resource center.
Brittany Luebke is a Content Marketing Strategist at Cheetah Digital. You can find her writing through our corporate social media channels, so follow Cheetah Digital on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. She has worked with email marketing programs since 2007, and her work has won awards from dotComm, Hermes Creative, and MarCom, as well as recognition from Really Good Emails.