Historically, Earth Day represents our collective responsibility towards environment preservation, and this certainly remains an immediate and urgent area we continue to uphold. This year however, as the world comes united in its battles against the COVID-19 virus, Earth Day takes on a much greater meaning for everyone.
In these distressed times, consumers are asking themselves a key question: “why is a brand essential to my life?”, and it is critical that businesses answer to that call. Companies are under the microscope more than ever, as consumers look beyond brand and product relevance, and towards their efforts in showing empathy, compassion and understanding in times of crisis.
Marketers of leading institutional brands are keenly aware of that, and many are showcasing just how useful they are as a business - towards the collective good of the world. Many have offered discounts and giveaways to address immediate societal needs; while others have looked at more “direct” contributions such as re-directing manufacturing and logistical resources to produce sanitisers, masks and personal protective equipment.
According to a recent McKinsey research based on data collected from 6,000 consumers across major European markets (UK, Germany, France, and Spain), an additional 16% of consumers would now seek products with sustainable credentials once shops reopen; 20% intend to reduce their overall spending for the rest of the year; and 45% would look favourably upon companies that communicate with concern and purpose rather than prices and products. While there is no similar study of comparable scale carried out in Asia, a similar trend is likely to emerge.
The ultimate goal for any business, of course, is to manage and enhance the trust between them and their customers. Without it, companies simply will not survive past this current climate. It is therefore imperative that brands prioritise conversation and connection with the consumers over pushing sales and revenue right now. Sometimes showing customers what you contribute to society can be the best form of marketing - on Earth Day, and every day.
Adrian Fu is Icicle Group's Communications and External Affairs Director. He is a multi-disciplined professional with over 20 years of experience in corporate and technology industry brand marketing. He is also an award-winning songwriter and recording artist, with Mandarin and Cantonese albums to his name. Adrian is an avid reader and a student of meditation.