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How brands are responding to Covid-19 pandemic

Which brands are consumers relating to best during the pandemic? Alva, the reputation intelligence company, has launched a weekly report that quantifies and ranks the impact of the initiatives announced by organisations in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, to identify how well they are resonating.

Key findings

Last week (up until 23 March), Alva found that organisations that have displayed proactive, practical and protective stances have been the most impactful:

Action vs reassurance

  • Active initiatives are more impactful than stakeholder reassurance.
  • Strongest performers highlight the ways they are leading and adapting to society’s new normal.
  • For example, US retailer Target allowing the vulnerable to shop during dedicated hours.
  • In contrast, BT’s statement that broadband infrastructure will be able to cope with increased demand has less cut through.

Health workers are the key lever of stakeholder sentiment

  • Initiatives which support health workers generate higher positive stakeholder engagement.
  • This is in step with a groundswell of support for health workers across the world.
  • Businesses supporting frontline workers generate greatest impact such as. Pret-A-Manger, McDonald’s and BP.

Cash is not king

  • Monetary donations from companies such as Diageo and Cisco have had some impact.
  • These are lessening in efficacy as numbers become less memorable.
  • Immediate practical measures have made more impact.
  • For example, Tesla producing ventilators and LVMH producing disinfectant are the most visible announcements.

Most impactful activities

The following have been the most impactful activities:

1. Ventilator production

Tesla repurposes its factories to produce ventilators to overcome severe shortages across the United States.

2. Home working
Facebook gives all full-time employees a $1,000 bonus to aid the work from home transition.

3. Vulnerable customers
Target opens stores early for elderly and vulnerable customers and those working in health services. UK supermarkets follow suit later in the week.

4. Sanitiser production
LVMH and BrewDog begin production of hand sanitiser, to be used in hospitals on the frontline.

5. Emergency services

Pret A Manger and McDonald’s offer free drinks and discounted food for health workers.

6. Monetary donations
Citi, Cisco and Diageo pledge millions to help restrict the spread of Covid-19.

7. Mortgage holidays
ING Bank, Nationwide and others offer payment holidays for cash-strapped customers.

8. Recruitment

Aldi announces a 5,000 employee recruitment drive in the United Kingdom.

Discussing the week’s analysis, Alberto Lopez, founder and CEO of Alva, and author of The Connecting Leader, says: “More than ever these are times that call for authentic leadership. After many years of purpose talk, now is the perfect time for CEOs and businesses to demonstrate that words and actions match by putting purpose-driven leadership and stakeholder capitalism into practice.

“Time and again this week, we have seen how tangible action outweighs both reassurance and financial pledges in terms of visibility, but the activities that are most engaging are those that are seen to help health workers.

“At a time of crisis, the NHS and private insurers in the US are emotive subjects for the public. As seen around the world, there is an outpouring of support for health workers and it is clear that companies engaging with the health services can foster the improvement of stakeholder relations.”


These are key findings for the period between 15-23 March. For greater detail, the full report can be downloaded here.

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