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2020-04-26
Covid-19

Examples of brands that stand out by putting their purpose to work (Updated on April 19)

Last updated on April 19, 2020

A third of the world's population is currently in confinement. At the same time, the most ingenious, courageous and generous brands dare to transform their usual activities in order to make a significant gesture associated with their mission and the greater good.

Each week, we'll showcase a few brands that are being useful during the current crisis. Here are the brands that caught our eyes.

Consult our Covid-19 dossier

WEEK OF APRIL 13th TO 19th

Brands from all over the world have adapted to the current situation. Between money, products, time and money donations, some are more and more involved in order to help the most vulnerable communities, which are the ones that are suffering the most from the current crisis, but also the rest of the population.

After five weeks of confinement, many initiatives are bringing people closer. Even if our recaps are focused on brand initiatives, we could not put aside the unmatched performance of some individuals. After all, behind every brand, there are some humans that, in their way, are more than useful to their community.

More food for people in need

While plant nurseries were just added to Quebec essential services list, Montreal Jardin botanique announces its initiative to double its vegetable garden space, and thus, its vegetable production, to gift the excess to the city food banks.

For its part, La Cantine reviewed its offer in order to help homeless people located in Montreal. On April 7, the organization announced in a press release that they were realigning their production to give 1500 meals per day to the people in need.

In Quebec, Chateau Frontenac, which was closed for the last 3 weeks, accepted to join forces with Tablée des chefs and is now opening its kitchens to cook up more than 80 000 meals for food banks.

A platform that helps people help

Digitad, Combustible and La Fusee agencies unveiled #Battrelevirus (battle the virus), a platform that aims at sensitizing the youth on the different ways to take part in the collective effort. The platform identifies 6 ways to help and more than 100 resources.

More material to protect our local heroes

Other companies joined forces by producing more protection material intended for the front line workers. While we were talking about Bauer, Cascades, Tristan, and Nu-B a few weeks ago, they all are now joining the initiative to produce more medical visors.

Surgeons, CCM Hockey and Orkan Industry teamed up to conceive and fabricate an integral protective hood intended for health workers. To produce the hoods, CCM reorganized its production factory while Orkan Industry joined the company by bringing to the table its expertise in air treatment. Besides producing and conceiving these hoods, CCM Hockey shares its tech pack, so other businesses can use it for good, and conceive new protection accessories without spending time on their research and development.

SME Sanuvox Technologies Inc. allows, on the other hand, health professionals to disinfect their N95 masks in only a few minutes thanks to ultraviolet rays. Hospitals also started using this technology.

Fabricant AON3D, which normally produces industrial printers, joins the collective movement by putting on hold its production, in order to have more time manufacturing facial shields.

More to entertain and educate your family

Alveole, which installs and nurtures beehives in urban spaces, unveiled this week its small Alvéole exercise book. While the actual context does not permit the business to go on with their usual workshop with high school students, they decided to extend their initial mission, based on the education of urban beekeeping, by launching Facebook Lives in which the team shares its knowledge with a younger audience.

On the same note, Granby Zoo regularly shares special educational clips during quarantine, on its Facebook page.

Gestures for later

Beyond actions taken reactively to support communities by responding to actual needs, many companies are thinking about changing their ways for the better. Some others, that already had a community vision, are working even harder to push this mission further, and faster.

In Italy, just like everywhere in the world, businesses in the retail industry modified their production in order to answer the critical need of protecting clothes. But the reflections are now going further than that. Even if it is only still up in the air, for now, Giorgio Armani reflects on the ways it can change its production, to adopt a more personal approach.

For its part, ATTITUDE launched a new initiative. For every product bought online or in participating stores, the brand will plant a tree in collaboration with Eden Reforestation Projects and One Tree Planted. The goal: contribute to the planet's restoration.

In Brossard, Ferme d' d' hiver works since 2018 to make possible, thanks to a few innovative technologies, production of food out of season. "Because everyone should have access to fresh, affordable and savorous fruits and vegetables all year long," as seen on their latest press release announcing the launch of a new innovative concept that promotes Quebec agriculture. In that press release, we discover that Ferme D'hiverD'hiver has, as an objective, to replace 10% of agricultural imports 5 years from now.

WEEK OF APRIL 6 TO 12 2020

Canada has been in confinement for over a month. Brands from here and elsewhere are using their influence for good. They utilize their ideas, employees and revenues for the greater good of the community. Here are the ones we want to focus on this week.

A media collective to help local SMEs

Many media experts gathered free of charge to create Escouade numérique. This collective helps SMEs that are required to change their business model by migrating a part of their activities online, in order to survive the current crisis. On this platform, more than 20 experts share their tips and tricks to support SMEs during their numeric transformation.

Escouade numérique

Birds of a feather flock together

More than ever, Quebec society adapts its consumption habits, turning to more local buys, and then supporting smaller and bigger businesses from here. To ensure better visibility to companies, many individuals and brand leadership with a lot of reach decided to deploy a repertoire of local companies.

Amongst them is featured BESIDE, which shared this week its Short Guide to Solidarity Purchasing. It will be updated regularly and showcase the small independent businesses that allow the magazine to be distributed normally.

Local business repertoire, Solution Locale, arises from a citizen's initiative. Its goal: create a relationship between local businesses and the confined population. As we are writing these lines, the repertoire already holds 2310 local companies from all over the province.

Solution Locale

La Presse additionally published on march 24th an exhaustive list of local companies.

Let's emphasize the ingeniosity and the ability of local entrepreneurs to adapt to the ever-changing climate in order to satisfy their consumer's needs. But also, consumers are open to turning to social media to find a local alternative over their usual buys.

All year long useful organizations are becoming even more helpful during the crisis.

Even if foundations and organisms already have a mission, are defending a specific cause or helping the ones in need in our society, the current crisis did not stop them from adapting their actions in the hopes of making themselves even more useful. Here are a few examples.

CPAWS Quebec, an environmental protection organism that works hard on creating protected areas in Quebec, organizes Facebook Lives to help parents occupy children... while educating them. The next live, on April 16th, from 10 to 11 am, will allow children to ask questions to the organism biologist regarding animals and plants at risk in Quebec.

Pour 3 points revealed House Madness P3P, a tournament inspired by #StayAtHomeChallenge, which aims at mobilizing the Quebec sports community to stay supportive despite the social and physical distancing. With its contest, Pour 3 points wishes to help the younger generation to stay active and keep good sportsmanship... at home. Teams have until April 15 to register.

Pour 3 points

In turn, a few brands are rewarding donors. The retailer Altitude Sports, in the hopes of urging people to donate to Moisson Montreal and Club des petits dejeuners, will give back 30 Alti dollars to anyone who donates more than 15$ to either one of these organisms. Others give back the totality of their earnings of a product to a non-profit, just like Quartz.co did with its black tote back and the food banks of Quebec.

The textile industry answers the call

While the essential protection equipment, which masks are a part of, was reaching a critical level, the medical staff asked local businesses to manufacture protection masks intended for the general public. Maybe well-established textile businesses answered the call, while others emerged to satisfy the specific need.

Frank and Oak now produce masks from recycled Frank and Oak shirts. The total sale revenue originating from the masks will directly be going to Moisson Montreal. Beyond this great initiative, the Montreal business also added to its offer two local businesses, France Laure and GROOM, allowing them to benefit from its large platform. But also, their already established consumers can now get an essential "kit" at only one spot. Practical. Note: Frank and Oak does not profit from any of these product sales.

Designers and fashion businesses also turned to textile masks fabrication. Amongst them are Atelier B, Annie 50, Katrin Leblond, SAKSAC, to name only a few.

Laval based company EC3D, specialized in socks and compression clothes manufacturing, responded to the decrease of postoperative garments by designing masks as well. While they wanted to fabricate masks for the medical workers, its first wave of masks will serve the general public. The business is still on the lookout to create class 1 masks, the ones medical caretakers use.

Groupe Calko, Bombardier and many other bigger businesses are also revisiting their supply and their production chain to fabricate masks and medical material.

More content to entertain the kids

Dyson is taking the step, just like many other brands, to invest time and money in order to develop fun and educational content to entertain families at home. The company shared this week more than 44 engineered and science-focused activities for kids. In the form of challenges, these tasks can easily be achieved with only a few objects you can find at home.

WEEK OF MARCH 30th to APRIL 5th 2020

So far, numerous brands have transformed their operation in order to join the useful-wave occurring during COVID-19. Since buying local is more important than ever to support our economy, we're introducing some initiatives that directly or indirectly (mostly directly) affect local companies.

Other Half Brewing Co launches a solidarity movement for microbreweries across the world.

The New-York-City based microbrewery Other Half Brewing launched All Together this week in the hopes of helping microbreweries to keep their heads above water while supporting restaurant and bar owners across the world. The microbrewery developed a unique recipe to share with every microbrewery that joins the movement. Each microbrewery can brew the specific beer while avoiding investing in research and development. Still, in one condition: they have to give back a part of their revenue to the professionals working in the restaurant and bar industry that recently lost their jobs. They can also access the beer label at a small cost.

So far, the beer is brewed across the world by various participant microbreweries. Soon, we'll be able to get our hands on it while supporting the local microbreweries that joined the movement.

In Canada, Brasserie du Bas-Canada and Messorem Bracitorium already mentioned they would be joining the cause.

All Together

Source: All Together

lg2 unveils the "On se serre les coudes" cooperative campaign to support local businesses.

Many Quebec agencies are fighting to help local businesses shine bright! Thanks to this campaign, which includes, amongst others, a social media push and a 30 seconds television commercial, lg2 allows 19 different local brands to unite and act together to spread a collective message about the importance of buying local. Touché! (media partner), TACT (public relations partner) equally joined the launch of #Onseserrelescoudes.

In the Eastern Townships, to help all initiatives shine, the Sherbrooke based agency Beauvoir revealed Cantonnés ensemble, a spontaneous media aiming at sharing the area's good moves.

Food for those in need!

St-Hubert Group and St-Hubert Foundation launched the comfort operation Deliver it Forward, an initiative that will provide 10 000 free meals across Quebec. The many franchisees will also offer hundreds of meals to their local heroes that are essentials to their community.

St-Hubert

Source: St-Hubert

For its part, the Ch Group will cook more than 50 000 meals for Quebec's food banks.

Maj creates a unique bond between the youth and Justin Trudeau.

Radio-Canada youth-oriented news service, MAJ, in order to promote its mission, which is to break down current events to make them more accessible to a younger audience, reached out to its community and asked to submit questions directed to our prime minister Justin Trudeau.

It is on Sunday morning that the video segment, in which the prime minister answers the questions, aired live on ICI TÉLÉ and all MAJ platforms. CBC Kids News created the same opportunity for the anglophone community.

MAJ

Source: MAJ

Financial and human resources to assist self-employed individuals and local companies.

Collaborative space orb.exchange created a repertoire of all financial resources available for Quebec’s creatives, artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs, to help them save time and energy searching for the right support during this period of crisis.

In parallel, Inno-Centre, "Fédération québécoise des municipalités" and "Fonds de solidarité FTQ" are putting together the PME-911 aid cell, thanks to which many companies from remote areas will be able to benefit from experts help to navigate the current crisis.

Grand défi Pierre Lavoie offers a little dose of happiness to the seniors.

In the hopes of melting a few hearts within the confined elderly population, the Grand défi Pierre Lavoie team brings happiness to many residences.

Music, vibrant colours, hosts and dancers are inviting themselves to a few parking lots to get the residents to move and change their moods. The result: everyone is on their balcony!

Ricardo offers free online courses on its platforms.

Like many companies, Ricardo Media had to lay off the majority of its employees. Instead of staying home to work on personal projects, Ricardo Larrivée decided to help the community by sharing a new recipe every day within short-video formats. A few former employees even asked Richardo to help him with its project without any remuneration.

The entrepreneur and Quebecois beloved chef still wants to entertain and help many viewers cook every day.

Corporations from here are encouraging other companies to profit from their online platforms.

The solidarity between companies keeps growing. Some even changed their business model by adding new brands to their inventory in order to help them profit from their online store. That is what the company Rachel did by creating "Ensemble pour Rachel."

WEEK OF MARCH 23th to 29th

The list of brands that are being useful at the moment is more and more extensive. Companies are going out of their way to change their practices to serve the population better, in Quebec and elsewhere.

Bauer Hockey, New Balance, Second Clothing and Zara are going for the production and conception of protection accessories.

While the hospital workers are more at risk than everybody else to contract COVID-19, brands in the sports field are redirecting their production in order to design and fabricate accessories to protect the workers' faces.

Bauer Hockey, one of the very well-known hockey equipment manufacturers in North American, uses material from Hockey visors to create full medicinal screens to protect hospital employees from infectious droplets.

For its part, the well-known shoe business, New Balance, recently started to manufacture face masks for the purpose of meeting the increasing demand concerning the protective accessory.

Closer from home, Second Clothing, known for its Yoga jeans brand, decided more than a week ago to cover the manufacturing of medical apparel and masks.

Even the fast-fashion global giant, Zara, is currently studying the possibility of converting a part of its production in Spain to manufacture hospital shirts for its home country. Aside from giving away masks, Zara also plans to make available their logistic network and suppliers to answer the great need for medical material and textiles.

The Quebec beer and liquor industry to the rescue!

From the smallest Quebec microbreweries to the biggest ones, each is trying to find the best way possible to help the population. Same coming from a few distilleries.

In Montreal, EtOH Brasserie now sells hand sanitizers in bulk. Soon Villeray residents will happily refuel on beer and hand gel simultaneously.

In Shawinigan, Microbrasserie Le Trou du diable is supporting local groceries by offering trucks and a few delivery men to help level-up the capacity of home deliveries and, at the same time, enticing Shawinigan residents to stay at home.

As for Lanaudière, Carone vineyard, remembered as the producers of Black Riven gin, now produces hand sanitizers from its grape alcohol, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and lavender essential oils. The product is then distributed for free at Familiprix Lanoraie

Brasserie Labatt, Pur Vodka and la cideries Michel Jodoin are also following the same path.

Source: Brasserie Labatt Twitter

On a global scale, more than a hundred brands are switching their production to provide gel sanitizers.

Communications serving local businesses and SME

To allow smaller companies from the food industry to have greater visibility, Tastet offers its advertising inventory for free.

Simultaneously, Horizon Cumulus and DACTYLO join forces to shed light on the food industry and are launching www.trouvetontakeout.com. On this platform, small merchants and food SME can register their company and put forward their inventory of products to receive new orders and reach different customers.

YouTube and BESIDE are providing family content so that kids can continue to learn.

While most of the population spends time at home, some brands are standing out by entertaining us.

Youtube, amongst others, is helping with its Learn@Home platform, which allows children and adults, from a wide age range, to learn via a different kind of content. It is possible to choose a channel related to a particular type of material, specific to the children's age, or associated with a subject we wish to learn about, like science or human relations, as an example.

In Quebec, BESIDE offers a small quarantine guide full of project suggestions, from cooking, to culture, to learning something new. A great way to entertain the kids during this period of crisis.

Source: BESIDE

WEEK OF OF MARCH 16th to 22nd 2020

Grocery stores like Woolworths, Kjörbúð and Monoprix are considering the most vulnerable.

While many businesses are temporarily closing their doors to answer governmental safety instructions, the ones that are serving public goods do not have the luxury to do so, considering the population still needs to eat and purchase essential items. And when mentioning the whole community, we include the most vulnerable, for whom contracting COVID-19 could have a severe impact.

Many groceries around the world adapted their measures, like opening hours, so that people at risk can still do their groceries without any danger of contamination. Woolworths, Nettó et Kjörbúð are a few of them.

Beyond initiating exclusive time windows exclusively for this population, other brands like Monoprix et Franprix implemented a particular delivery service for seniors. Subsequently, in order to offer more to the elderly, a few new partnerships emerged, like the one between Woolworths and Meels on Wheels. Thanks to them, the elderly will receive free paper towels directly to their home.

LVMH and Pernod Ricard are remodelling their activities for more hand sanitizer.

Even if worldly-known brands took different paths to increase the production of hand sanitizer, they all shared one common goal: making sure everyone that needs it can get their hands on it. Therefore, the two brands are now playing a significant role in slowing the spreading of the virus.

The luxury french group LVMH is putting their perfume and makeup production aside in 3 of their factories to help produce sanitizer and then distribute them in french hospitals that are fighting the epidemic.

For its part, Pernod Ricard offered 70 000 litres of alcohol to Cooper, a hydroalcoholic gel supplier, so its laboratory can produce more gel. An action that will ensure them to distribute 1,8 million of 50 ml individual bottles, which is more than its usual production goal.

RIcard en purrel

Source: Creapills

Sunwing helps more Canadians get back home.

While many Canadians are stuck in a foreign country and have to pay an enormous amount of money to get back home, the airline company Sunwing mentioned that they'd offer, during the week, free plane seats to help Canadians residents get home safe. A gesture that will allow many people, who are scared since they can't get back to their family, get back home without losing everything or waiting too long.

Sunwing corona virus

Source: Sunwing

The equivalent services... but free!

Even if many businesses can normally operate, it becomes more challenging to do so when the cupboard is bare and when it's hard to afford suppliers and partners. To solve the problem, many businesses and individuals decided to see beyond the paycheck and offer their services to the population...free of charge. If you consider the many support groups, we can now easily access many free legal helplines, like the one proposed by Novalex and Juripop, web developers, social media experts and also the ordinary Quebeckers are offering delivery services to their neighbors.

NOVAlex gratuit

Source: NOVAlex

Partnerships like the Cook it et PUR Vodka one arising for better help.

The two Quebecois companies united to support hard-working individuals from the catering sector who, unlike many Quebeckers, cannot work from home. Together, they offered 6000 meals to the people who work non-stop to feed the rest of the province.

Cook It x Duvernois

Source: Cook it

Many cultural figures are transforming their offer to adapt to the circumstances.

While many Quebecois are stuck at home, lots of free initiatives to entertain them are available. What is right for our national broadcaster is also valid for the smallest in the industry. While ICI Tou.tv and ONF are broadcasting for free many series, films and documentaries, the Montreal Museum of fine arts offers, every single day, to its Facebook and Instagram followers, open expositions, pieces and collections, and free art content. OSM is also showcasing concerts on its website.

More details here and here.

Notwithstanding these exceptional measures, we acknowledge many cultural public figures and others working hand in hand so that people can stay informed and entertained even when at home. The digital world, in that case, becomes a major player within those extraordinary solutions.

The HappyFitness Movement and several other gyms are inviting themselves in your living room.

While many gyms had to follow the governmental directive and close their doors a few days ago, just like many outdoor workout groups, some were kind enough to offer various solutions and adapt their offer to the digital world. The result: HappyFitness followers can workout from their home and benefit from their usual support, which makes their exercising extra special.

Bars are closed, but quizzes are going strong!

Even if institutions where people would generally hang out to pick their brains had to close their doors for an unknown amount of time, the playful pub Randolph allows family and adults to have a good time while following the rules. Everyone can now experience a unique gathering that repeats itself every week, instead of playing the same board game over and over again.

If you wish to make yourself useful, just like those brands, the first step is to ask the right questions. And when comes the time to be helpful, your content strategy also deserves a new outlook.

During this crisis period, the population needs are growing and ways to fill them, limitless. The uncertainty of not knowing when everyone will get their spirit back is hard, but the solidarity going on in Quebec right now is growing stronger.

If your brand wishes to adapt its service to the greater good, we're here to help. Contact us.

About

Creative and sensitive, Catherine studied fashion and literature before earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in marketing communications from Université de Sherbrooke.