During the last great recession at a keynote I gave, I remember Jack Welch, the late CEO of GE, saying “Leaders emerge during trying times.” While there are plenty of trackers for canceled events and closures, there’s one list missing: A list of brands who are emerging as leaders in these chaotic times.
This is not a time for cowardice or fear-based thinking. This is a time for gratitude and playing the long game. Here is a running list of brands who are getting it right. Please bookmark and come back regularly as this list will continue to grow. Look at this list for inspiration, discovering services to help you right now, as well as an example of innovative thinking in trying times.
Microsoft: Announced that they will keep paying the hourly workers who support their campus. Microsoft said they will continue to pay all vendor hourly service providers their regular pay during this period of reduced service needs. This is independent of whether their full services are needed. In Puget Sound for example, the 4,500 hourly employees who work in their facilities will continue to receive their regular wages even if their work hours are reduced.
Google: Aside from establishing a COVID-19 fund that enables all temporary staff and vendors, globally, to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19, or can’t come into work because they’re quarantined, Google has also made their video conferencing service, Hangouts Meet, available for all G-suite customers until July 1, 2020. Hangouts Meet allows for up to 250 participants and live steaming to up to 100,000 viewers per domain. You can also record and save meetings.
Loom: A video recording and sharing service has made Loom Pro free for teachers and students at K-12 schools, universities, and educational institutions. They have also removed the recording limit on free plans and have cut the price for Loom Pro in half to help businesses and brands across the board.
Mark Cuban Companies: Mark Cuban announced that any of his employees (including those who work for the Mavericks) will be reimbursed for any lunch and coffee purchases from local, independent small businesses. A great way to support the community and small businesses who rely on bigger businesses.
Forbes8: In light of cancelled conferences and events that entrepreneurs depend on for their learnings, Forbes8 is hosting a free digital summit on March 20th, 2020 under the theme of Business Resilience: Thriving in Crucial Times. The speaker roster includes top experts and best-selling authors such as Chris Brogan, Rohit Bhargava, Dorie Clark, as well as yours truly. Many of the speakers were slated to speak at the cancelled SxSw this year. (Link forthcoming.)
Shine Distillery: A distillery in Portland started making and giving away hand sanitizer in an acute shortage. More are following suit. Distilleries often cannot use the first batch of alcohol they produce but it works perfectly for sanitizing. An innovative way to support the community and build brand awareness.
OneDine: A pioneer in guest-side technology solutions for the restaurant and hospitality industries, OneDine is offering a free Tap & Pay Touchless Payment system to restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis. They are offering free setup, free table sensors for tap and pay activity, as well as waiving all transaction fees. The technology integrates with most current POS systems. (A restaurant would only be responsible for third party credit card fees.)
*This is a running list and will continue to be updated. Please bookmark and return later.