Strengthening the ties between businesses and communities, for good
The way companies are responding to the ongoing threat of Covid-19 is shaping their future. In a recent Edelman Trust Barometer, 90 percent of respondents say they want brands to do everything they can to ‘protect the wellbeing and financial security of their employees and suppliers’. If a brand is perceived to be putting profit over people, 71 percent say they will lose trust in that brand forever. Where companies have previously talked about values and purpose, they must now live those values in an authentic way, or risk being harshly judged by employees and consumers. “COVID-19 will accelerate the trend towards corporate purpose made visible through experiences and corporations standing for something bigger than their core output,” states Accenture’s Covid-19 Consumer Pulse.
Globally, 40 percent of consumers are spending longer on social media and messaging services during the virus outbreak. The steps companies are taking to protect their workers and engage with their communities are being shared, across social platforms and news sites. More than ever, the actions a company takes speak volumes, as businesses are applauded for positive efforts, or criticized for being slow to respond.
Companies large and small are reconnecting with their communities
Here at Pitney Bowes, we’ve been committed to ‘doing the right thing, the right way’ for a century. Our business is based on this value, and our strategies and actions are guided by this. It means we’ve deepened our roots and strengthened our interactions within the communities we work and serve. It also means we take action because it’s the right thing to do, for our employees, our customers and our communities.
This pandemic has deepened the connection between business and community, not just for Pitney Bowes but for businesses across every state. Local residents are supporting their favorite small businesses, asking for ways to help them rebuild. Businesses of all sizes are pivoting, changing direction to meet the immediate requirements of their own communities and of the healthcare community. Organizations are shifting business models, some offering free access to services, others making donations to support vital services which urgently need additional resources at this point in time.
Taking action for good
Businesses across a diversity of industries are stepping up and adopting measures which will change the way consumers think about them, for good.
EBay’s ‘Up and Running’ program offers high street retailers a free eBay store for 3 months. They can sell up to 500 items, with the goal being for them to open online stores as quickly as possible. Audible is offering hundreds of free titles. Hertz has offered free car rentals to healthcare workers in New York City. Ford is helping to produce respirators and ventilators, as well as manufacturing components for PPE using its 3D print capabilities. GM, Fiat Chrysler and Dyson are also switching production to support urgent health requirements. Clothing companies such as Canada Goose, Gap and Brooks Brothers are using their facilities to produce protective medical equipment, while Apple has donated 10 million masks to healthcare workers. Khloé Kardashian and Emma Grede’s inclusive clothing brand, Good American, is generously donating $1m worth of denim to healthcare workers in which Pitney Bowes is facilitating their shipments by picking, packing and shipping the clothing.
Also at Pitney Bowes, we’ve made contributions to funds including The United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation COVID Fund, as well as to Project Hope, which is working to source Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) from global vendors in partnership with other members of the Business Roundtable. In partnership with The Pitney Bowes Foundation, we’re making special donations to the local food banks in more than 45 U.S. communities where we have operations. In addition, the Foundation is accelerating grants to many of its literacy and education grantees to whom it is providing critical support at this time.
Small businesses, too, are working hard to support their employees and communities through this critical time. Jenna Marie’s deli in Stamford is delivering to health workers at hospitals. As CNBC has highlighted, Hueman, a recruitment firm for hospitals, is encouraging employees’ spouses – whose roles are impacted due to the pandemic - to apply for roles at their business, with a firm commitment to providing full training. New York City-based Knotch is using an expense reimbursement platform to provide employees with a subsidy for lunches, in place of the lunches they would usually order in when in the office.
Companies are championing kindness and goodwill. These widespread efforts and initiatives will be remembered, long past the initial threat of the pandemic has receded.