The Brand Move Roundup – April 3, 2020

We’re tracking the notable brand moves & highlighting the companies who are tackling this challenge successfully.

We started this series of brand updates on March 12, but the reaction has been so positive, and the crisis so fast-moving, that we’re going to move to a continuously updated rolling news format from now until it’s all over (hopefully soon). Keep checking back here for the latest updates on how brands are dealing with coronavirus.

Mumbai-based conglomerate Mahindra Group, owned by billionaire Anand Mahindra and his family, has announced that it intends to begin producing ventilators at plants in India, reportedly pricing them at less than $100 each.

The Qualcomm Foundation has donated $1 million to The San Diego Foundation. The Qualcomm Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the smartphone technology company, which is among the region’s largest private employers. The donation incudes $500,000 in immediate funding to the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. The remainder of the Qualcomm donation will go to the San Diego Foundation‘s COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which makes grants to nonprofits that provide rent and utility bill assistance, income replacement gap funding and food aid during the crisis.

IBM is offering free tools to track reported COVID-19 cases and help the public stay informed. Offered through The Weather Channel, and an online dashboard, this information is designed to help provide the latest details currently available from various official sources to people and businesses so they can access it easily on their computers or smartphones. “As the coronavirus causes uncertainty in our daily lives, we are all looking for data to help us make more informed decisions and check on our family and friends in different areas. With that in mind, we feel it’s critical to provide the most trusted information currently available to help people stay informed on the reach of COVID-19,” said Cameron Clayton, general manager of IBM’s The Weather Company. “The Weather Channel is now providing COVID-19 data – so you can see why social distancing matters in your community and why it’s important to heed instructions from your local, state and national resources.” Citizens, researchers and even government officials can use the data-rich tools to get currently available information from various official sources about the reach of the coronavirus, down to a county level in the United States. The tools, which run on the IBM public cloud, use IBM Watson to access and analyze data from the World Health Organization and multiple national, state and local governments. In addition, an interactive dashboard driven by IBM Watson and built on IBM Cognos Analytics is designed to help users such as data scientists, researchers, media organizations and more conduct a deeper analysis and filtering of regional data. Available global data includes confirmed cases, recoveries where available and more, and users can drill down to the country, region, state and county level as needed to get further insights. This aggregated data could potentially help others collect insights and show how cases are trending over time.

UK company Pets at Home, which supplies dog chews, rabbit food, hutches, cages, bedding, vets services and cuddly animals themselves, is also helping humans. CEO Peter Pritchard says the firm is working “tirelessly” to help families through the crisis: “We are providing support for the communities that need us through £1.1m of funding to nominated pet charities, a £1m crisis fund for colleagues and discounts to NHS workers as they care for the nation’s health.”

Cleaning products giant SC Johnson has announced that it is committing $5 million in products and cash to support urgent public needs and those on the front lines. The announcement builds on the $2 million the company has donated to date, including $1 million to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund, and other donations to efforts around the world in China, Italy and the U.K. The company continues to assess ways to address the needs of people around the world. “I am incredibly proud of all the people of SC Johnson who are committed to providing support to those around the world dealing with this crisis and experiencing its impact firsthand,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “From medical professionals and first responders to school children, we hope this commitment will help provide some relief.” SC Johnson is teaming with the CDC Foundation to deliver care packages for police, fire and medical personnel. The care packages, which will include cleaning and disinfectant products made by SC Johnson, will be delivered in an initial wave of 20,000 in conjunction with the CDC Foundation in areas across the U.S.

Additionally, SC Johnson is supporting critical health care needs across Europe, Asia and Latin America to help protect families against the spread of COVID-19 through cash and product donations, as well as educational programs. SC Johnson is also providing resources to help mitigate the demand the outbreak is placing on community services in its hometown of Racine, Wisconsin. This donation will help support the local medical response to COVID-19, as well as provide meals, snacks and books to school children throughout the area. Care packages will also be distributed to local first responders.

Union Bank, a leading West Coast regional bank, announced today it will commit $3 million to support communities affected by COVID-19. In addition, the bank announced several measures to lend additional support to clients and employees during this global health crisis. “This is an unprecedented time in our global history, and we will get through it together,” said Greg Seibly, President. “Our Union Bank colleagues have been working tirelessly to deliver essential banking services to our clients and communities to help them navigate the impact COVID-19 is having right now, as well as the lasting impact it will have on our economy.” In close collaboration with nonprofit organizations, local government agencies and public-private humanitarian partners, Union Bank will allocate $1.4 million in support of the small business sector; to support economic development activities that sustain small business operations, particularly in low- and moderate-income communities. An additional $1 million has been expedited to support existing small business grants, plus $500,000 for social safety net programs, including regional food banks, that provide health and human services to low- to moderate-income populations and $100,000 earmarked for community-based organizations in Canada and Latin America.

UK DIY and tools specialists B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher is providing £1m of PPE equipment for health services across Europe. £200,000-worth of protective eyewear and masks have already been delivered to the National Health Service’s emergency logistics hub.

TD Bank have donated $250,000 to the National Association of Community Health Centers to support local healthcare providers. In addition, The TD Charitable Foundation is allocating an additional $300,000 to local community organizations from Maine to Florida.

Sweet baked goods company Dunkin’ is incentivizing customers to get their donut fix from a safe distance. The chain has launched a new social distancing rewards program, where customers who order on-the-go receive an extra 100 points on their DD Perks program. Additionally, the company’s Joy in Childhood Foundation has pledged $1.25 million to support hunger relief organizations.

Consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton has announced a pandemic resilience program of more than $100 million to support its 27,000 employees and the communities where they live and work. The program includes major benefit program enhancements to support employees dealing with health, childcare, and COVID-related issues; a pledge of job security at least through July 1; and a commitment to provide funding, assistance, and technology expertise to aid vulnerable populations, military families, veterans and front line healthcare workers. “These moves will help protect the health and financial security of our people, their loved ones and their communities during a very uncertain, difficult time,” said Horacio Rozanski, Booz Allen’s President and CEO. “Supporting our people empowers them to fully support our clients in this time of critical need. Our business is our people, and this is just the right thing to do.” The firm and the independent Booz Allen Foundation also launched a coordinated philanthropic initiative this week to address pandemic-related causes. The initial giving will support veterans and military families through the COVID-19 Military Support Initiative, assist front line healthcare workers and vulnerable communities through the CDC Foundation, and address the immediate needs of vulnerable local populations through the Feeding America network of food banks and community-based agencies. The Foundation is expected to announce additional recipients for its funding at a later time. The funds for Feeding America will support national efforts and also be distributed to the front lines in areas highly impacted by the COVID-19 virus where the firm has a significant presence.

The Citi Foundation has announced that it will provide $15 million to support COVID-19 related relief activities globally. $5 million will be directed to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, $5 million will be directed to No Kid Hungry to support emergency food distribution programs in the US, and $5 million will be directed to additional international, country-specific efforts in places that are severely impacted. In the coming weeks, the Citi Foundation will also be working to identify additional opportunities to support longer-term recovery efforts. Citi CEO Michael Corbat said, “These funds are just a first step in helping to support those immediately impacted by this crisis, including healthcare workers on the front line and the food banks in the US that are feeding our young people. This unprecedented situation demands that we continue to respond thoughtfully and decisively using the breadth of our philanthropic efforts and our core business activities.”