12 Aug 2020  •  Blog, Covid-19, Marketing and Design  •  5min read By  • Laura Weaver

How big brands are developing an ethical edge to adapt to COVID-19

In the wake of the pandemic, many businesses and sectors are not operating in their usual capacity, if at all. In fact, it could be said that the outbreak is the most testing ethical challenge that a business’ brand has faced in our generation.

This is a particularly tense time for many businesses with the threat to sustainability resulting in potential unemployment of staff, or inability to operate and provide services for loyal customers.

We’ve explored the creative ways that well-known brands have responded and adapted to the pandemic in order to not only maintain but improve public relations, to pose the question of what dental practices can do to achieve the same positive perceptions of their own brand.

Rising to national expectations

British technology conglomerate Dyson, known for their innovative vacuum cleaner designs, repurposed 450 Dyson engineers to meet the Government’s request in building 10,000 ventilators to fight the pandemic.

Not only are they supporting the national effort in fighting COVID-19, they are funding the project themselves without accepting any public money and are developing a new design of ventilator to support other countries.

This has resulted in ample opportunity to create a PR campaign for various media, reinforcing the perception of innovation that they have cultivated in their brand.

Distilling practical, ethical solutions

A lesser-known innovative strategy as a result of the pandemic is by breweries, gin distilleries and perfumeries, who are producing hand sanitiser to alleviate the UK shortage.

Bristol-based brand Psychopomp have provided this service for the Bristol community for free, requesting only for donations toward Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

This will in turn support the distillery’s brand, with the gesture being covered in national news outlets as well as in local papers, developing a closer relationship within its community.

Dressing the part

Long-established British fashion brand Barbour has repurposed its production line to create crucial PPE for medical frontliners.

What makes the gesture even more emotive from a PR perspective is the nostalgic comparison in Barbour’s communications about their previous support to the nation, namely during both World Wars where the company made military garments to assist the war effort.

This is a brilliant example of the adaptation of business strategy which nonetheless aligns itself to Barbour’s brand, with their heritage as a fifth-generation, family-owned British business. The gentle reminder of their past support to the nation reinforces their integrity.

Embracing mental health

With social media being inextricably linked with the rise in mental health problems for our youth, it’s been one of the positive developments as a result of COVID-19 to see social media apps reaching out to their communities to offer practical support.

A sense of community and leadership has encouraged users to follow lockdown rules – such as Instagram’s ‘stay home’ stickers, which made a community feature of how users were practising social distancing.

All channels are tightening down on the spread of misinformation that was causing anxiety as well as public unrest when it comes to the pandemic. In the case of Google, important and accurate information was elevated in searches from recognised health organisations and governments.

Remember what your brand stands for

To develop a strong, positive brand during uncertain times, you need a culmination of purpose, values and ethics to connect with your patients and really make an impression.

By thinking outside of the box to achieve an ethical goal, these brands have strengthened themselves despite adversity. The question is, is there an opportunity for you as a dental practice to do the same?

Don’t forget, our Practice Marketing and Design Team are here to support you with your marketing initiatives, from designing a simple flyer to supporting you through big changes at the practice with marketing communications. If you’re a Practice Plan member, you can access this highly subsidised and quality service, call the team on 01691 684 151 if you would like further support – we’re happy to help.

About Laura:

Laura forms part of the Practice Marketing team at Practice Plan, acting exclusively on the behalf of Practice Plan dental practices across the country to bring their marketing strategies to life. Covering a wide range of marketing requirements, from simple flyer drops to full rebranding exercises, Laura provides advice and support to help marketing campaigns run smoothly and effectively to increase patient numbers, treatment uptake and awareness in the local area.

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