It was a WhatsApp message from a local politician that caught my eye. This involved providing medicine and food to isolated elderly people at home, without support, during the gigantic third wave of Covid-19 which appears to have struck at home.
Supporting the politician in this initiative was a local cafe. If a local politician and the local cafe could spot the obvious and seize the opportunity to serve when it counts, where are the big brands, the ones that promise you the sky, the moon and everything in between?
You could cynically dismiss the politician’s decision as opportunistic, as the local municipal elections in Mumbai are long overdue. But aren’t you, as big companies, applauded by your stakeholders and patted on the back by your board of directors, when you say those magic words – profit with purpose.
Or is your definition of momentary marketing limited to coming up with smart single lines to celebrate every tom-dick-and-harry day and engaging in friendly, and maybe pre-planned, banter jokes with rivals on social networks?
Of course, activating a brand specific response in Wave 3 would require that you go the extra mile and activate all parts of your channel in record time. But don’t you do this when your brand is facing a crisis? This time, can you treat the consumer crisis as one of your own?
A coffee or soup maker can warm a patient’s cold morning, so that tired face smile.
The giants of fast trade and food delivery could announce special packages and initiatives to overcome tough times.
Pharmacies and essential suppliers could get extra help from boys delivering pizza and groceries at the right times.
Automakers could transport the needy to health facilities in a safe manner. This list, like my rant, could go on and on.
Do you want to be seen as a brand with a conscience? Or is your brand like that friend who is great company at every party, but disappears in battle when you make a distress call?
I could repeat myself hoarse several times. But if you’re a business with a soul, the real time is now.
(This weekly column offers insight into the discussions, debates, and soul-searching that take place in the minds of our writers.)