The coronavirus pandemic caught most people off guard. Critically needed supplies were absent from shelves around the country. In many places, they still are. Face masks, hand sanitizer and gloves—vital protective equipment that help keep healthcare workers and the public safe.
Some people saw an economic opportunity in the chaos. Two Tennessee brothers stockpiled 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer in the early stages of the pandemic and sold them on Amazon for up to $70 each. Widely publicized and criticized online, the siblings later donated their stockpile as restitution for their price gauging.
But where some saw only dollar signs, many more rose up to offer support. Brands have coalesced around a common goal—assisting healthcare workers and shoring up manufacturing of critical supplies. The list spans industries and countries. LVMH, the European luxury fashion conglomerate behind brands like Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, converted some of its factories to make hand sanitizer. It announced in March that the anti-viral products will be donated free of charge to health authorities. More brands in the United States have made similar moves.
It doesn’t stop there. Restaurant chains Taco Bell and Sweetgreen are delivering food directly to those on the pandemic frontline—hospital workers, ambulance drivers, grocery store employees to name a few. The goodwill these actions generate are enormous not to mention the impact they have on this situation.
The Goldstein Group, my branding and package design company, was proudly founded in New York City where we remain to this day. Now the frontline in the global outbreak, New York City had been hit harder than almost anywhere else. We pivoted quickly—sending our employees home with the resources they need to continue working while staying safe and socially distant. In many ways, we’re lucky. But the effects of the pandemic hit home when I spoke with a longtime friend and colleague who has been asked to stay at work and ensure access to essential OTC products.
We can’t manufacture face masks or hand sanitizer but I thought there was a way to use our expertise to help these brands. Thus, BrandAid was born. It’s a pro-bono program in partnership with digital marketing firm Elemerce, that allows us to use our skills to make a difference right now. Firms that are contributing to the fight against corona-virus get design and digital services free of charge. We’ve helped a company importing high-quality personal protective equipment, another that started producing hand sanitizer to name a few. It’s a small sacrifice for brands that are making big ones.
In this unprecedented time, a helping hand goes further than ever before. The story of COVID-19 is being written now. It’s a scary one with glimmers of hope and proud moments that showcase our collective humanity. When people look back and tell the story, I hope they remember the brands that’s contributed, the sacrifices big and small.
By Jon Terri Goldstein
Founder & CEO at The Goldstein Group. Design
Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author, Educator