Pivot with Purpose

In my last column, I wrote that Anheuser-Busch and Ford had pivoted from beer and pickup trucks to hand sanitizer and ventilators.

These companies have permission from customers to stray from their core business, because their brands stand for more than what they sell.

Expectations about the role brands play in a national emergency have changed forever. It’s not a new lesson, but smart business leaders know that in times of crisis, brands must shift their focus from the business of making money to doing right by people and advancing the common good. Simply put, brands must pivot with purpose.

What does pivoting with purpose mean? It means tapping into your brand’s DNA and leveraging the benefits you provide customers, beyond the products and services you offer. It means defining what your brand stands for, its purpose, and how your brand can play a meaningful role in people’s lives during this crisis. It means pivoting from everyday commerce to delivering value in new ways, tangible and intangible, whether it’s service, education, logistical support, or community.

According to a recent Edelman Trust Barometer survey conducted with 12,000 consumers in 12 countries, people want brands to step up in a crisis, or risk losing the relationship forever.

According to Edelman:

· 62% feel their country won’t make it through the crisis without brands playing a critical role.

· 67% say they have bought a new brand solely because of the way it has acted during the crisis.