Care and compassion in a crisis

At times of great stress, we all crave reassurance, and that has never been truer than during the Covid-19 crisis.

When it seems our carefully constructed world is crashing down around us, we need familiarity, support and hope.

Those organisations who have stepped up to the plate during these dark days are the ones destined to remain in our hearts long after lockdown.

And they’re not always the names you might expect.

The winners are those brands and businesses who quickly understood that people need to feel they are being cared for and who provided practical support while we are stuck at home.

These include Joe Wicks, Mylene Klass, BBC Bitesize and all the museums, zoos and theatres who are providing free family exercise, education and entertainment, and also the BT/ITV collaboration delivering easy to understand tech tips to help us all keep home and carry on.

Of course, for every hero, there is . . . well . . . a zero!

Some companies have struggled to find the right tone. Whether that be laying off staff instead of furloughing to protect jobs, refusing refunds for cancelled weddings or holidays or those financial institutions sending emails pushing life insurance when illness and death is a daily preoccupation.

And it does seem to be some of the big boys who are striking the most sour note and adding to our stress levels.

Several famous entrepreneurs and billionaires have missed the public mood – we expect you to look after your own staff, not take taxpayer resources that could better be used to fund the key workers who are on the frontline of this unprecedented battle.

The best brands have ensured there is always a human touch to their communications – despite social distancing. They recognise that we have more to worry about right now than the usual trivialities and our role models are not the reality TV stars, but real-life humble heroes.

And they shifted their focus from making luxury goods to vital equipment – like our client Ricoh 3D – or JLR offering vehicles to the Red Cross.

If this crisis has taught us anything, it is to value the simpler things in life. That daily hour of exercise with our loved ones, jigsaw puzzles and books, the small local producers maintaining vital deliveries to the vulnerable or isolated.

When all this is over, we will return to a very different ‘normal’.

And it is likely to be those brands and businesses who clearly demonstrated care and compassion who will retain our respect and loyalty.

If you would like some advice on how to communicate with your customers in this new, ‘normal’ world, please get in touch

Caroline Garbett

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