Against a backdrop of a devastating war and an increasingly worrying cost of living crisis, it has been questioned what role brands have to play, particularly within such delicate circumstances. Through monitoring how brands have responded to these harsh realities, the ones that have positively stood out are those that have found an authentic way to show glimmers of hope in times of need – offering an opportunity for brands to positively connect with their customers.
The catastrophic attacks in Ukraine have affected us all, and in response, many Western global brands, such as Apple, H&M and Disney have halted business in Russia, showing resistance to Putin’s invasion. These decisions have been met with unwavering support from Britain. However, the brands that have arguably gained the most positive traction, are those that have offered support and hope to individuals affected by the war.
AirBnb have not only offered free housing for 100,000 refugees, but have also waivered their fees to Ukranian accommodation hosts, after people across the world started to book to stay at their homes– not for a holiday, but instead to put money straight into the pockets of those most in need. This initiative has raised $2million to date, and although an idea not started by AirBnb themselves, the brand facilitated an initiative that has had a direct positive impact to individuals, offering small silver linings in a tangible and authentic way.
Closer to home, millions of Brits are understandably concerned by the cost of living crunch – the7stars latest QT tracking from February highlighted that 1 in 3 people feel less comfortable on their income than they did this time last year. However, whilst rising prices are inevitable, brands can still show they are on the side of their consumers. Iceland has promised to freeze the price of all its £1 frozen lines, in a pledge to stand in solidarity with their shoppers. This demonstrates genuine helpfulness from Iceland, and will have a direct positive benefit to their customers, especially with grocery prices otherwise rising at its fastest rate in 8 years.
When it may sometimes feel that wider institutions are not on the side of people, brands can (and should) offer hope to their customers. Initiatives that have a direct positive impact to those most in need will resonate, and brands that enable this, are likely to reap the benefits in the long run.
Sources: the7stars QT; https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/mar/01/grocery-prices-uk-rise-fastest-rate-food-price-inflation-shoppers-covid-Ukraine; https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2022/03/05/booking-airbnbs-in-ukraine-donations/