What kind of company do you want to be, now and moving forward?

Some of the best news to come out of this time of very, very, terrible news are the stories you hear about companies and businesses doing what they can to help their workers and their communities. I happened to catch an interview with Daniel Lubetzky, Executive Chairman of KIND last weekend that really stuck with me. He said that now is the time for brands to decide what type of company they are going to be – that this pandemic accentuates everything and it’s up to companies to choose to serve responsibly, or think narrowly, and be solely profit-oriented.

Times of crisis make or break brands. If you’re still on the fence and you haven’t already started a program, here are some great examples of do-good brands making waves right now:

Functional beverage maker So Good So You is donating care packages of product to community nominated health care workers.

Dr. Praeger’s frozen foods is thanking grocery store employees by reimbursing their grocery bills up to $20,000 in total.

And Saltverk Icelandic Sea Salt donated 25% of every purchase made on Amazon or their own website to a restaurant, café, bar or bakery of the purchaser’s choosing until April 31st.

What’s the common thread in all of these good deeds? The companies worked very hard to come up with doable, from-the-heart programs that highlight their own core values while helping their communities. If you’re still trying to figure out how to put your own best foot forward, take a deep look inside and ask yourself some fundamental questions. Why did you start this business in the first place? What was the problem your product was trying to fix? And who were you trying to help? The answers will help you reconnect with your core mission and purpose.

Once you have your reason-for-being in mind, you need to think of unique ways to marry that purpose with a need that is a natural fit for your brand. In one of the examples above, a beverage brand that focuses on improving health reached out to health-care workers, and a frozen food line that is sold only in grocery stores worked to uplift the people who make sure their products stay on shelf.

I recently had a conversation with a small brand that relied 100% on instore sampling to market their products. We talked about how that avenue will most likely not be an option for at least a year or so – hard to sample with a mask on and grocers are not going to want reps from outside companies coming in and staying in their store for hours. For brands like this who relied on instore tastings to reach new customers, now would be a great time to give away as much product as possible to food banks or direct donation.

Paying it forward will pay off in the long run. The founders of So Good So You say they hope that their donations will leave a positive association in the minds of their recipients and help spur future purchase and trial. With all event marketing, taste-testing, and sponsorship opportunities on hold for now, it’s time to think of ways to build new business models for the future. The brands that focus on how to make the lives of their customers better, will be much better positioned moving forward. Find ways to do what you can to help the many who have lost jobs, have reduced incomes and reduced access to food.

Choose to be a hometown hero – it’s good for business.