The Brand Move Roundup – March 31, 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.

Truist, the USA’s sixth-largest bank, has made a pledge of $25 million in philanthropic support to provide aid for basic needs, medical supplies, and financial hardship across the US. The company will immediately donate $1 million to the CDC Foundation and Johns Hopkins Medicine through the Truist Charitable Fund. This funding will aid in response and recovery efforts and assist in the purchase and delivery of much-needed medical supplies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The Truist Foundation will also donate $3 million to local United Way organizations to fund community-based programs and support services that provide basic needs to people during this difficult time. The remaining charitable funds will be given as grants to Truist’s community partners to support and expand technology initiatives and programs for youth, seniors, small businesses and people to rebuild, restore and create thriving communities.  Meanwhile, Truist is offering additional support for teammates through paid time off, flexibility and family care benefits. The new benefits include 10 days of paid time off for school closings or other family impacts, a special reimbursement for childcare for many teammates and an increase in existing emergency child and elder care benefits for all teammates. Additionally, teammates making under $100,000 annually will receive a one-time pre-tax bonus of $1,200 in March to recognize their ongoing commitment to our clients and help alleviate some of the financial pressures caused by the pandemic. The Truist Foundation will also contribute $4 for every $1 that Truist teammates donate to the One Team Fund. The fund is a support system that provides short-term financial assistance to help employees recover during unexpected events, family emergencies or natural disasters. One hundred percent of teammate donations go directly to helping their co-workers through personal challenges.

Technology company Micron will provide $35 million in relief to help those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This includes a $10 million fund through the Micron Foundation to aid recovery from the pandemic. The money will assist global efforts to spur economic recovery and provide much-needed community resources for food banks, health facilities, school meal programs and online learning resources. One of the first distributions from this fund will be a $500,000 grant to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to help the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose. Micron’s other initiatives include matching eligible team member charitable giving 1:1, up to $2,000 per year, doubling that match to 2:1 for key charities assisting local communities in their fight against COVID-19. The team has so far raised $120,000 for communities in the United States, China, and Italy. They are also donating surplus protective equipment and health scanning systems to local hospitals and testing centers, promising to deliver 300,000 protective masks. The company has also offered some of its real estate properties to local officials to support hospitals in the event that community facilities become overwhelmed, or if buildings are needed for patient staging and isolation. In the business sphere, Micron are accelerating payments to over 500 small businesses they work with to help ensure they have the cash flow needed during this time, flagging any product shipments bound for medical systems for urgent priority, and pledging to provide a one-time payment for many team members in April to help them through the extra expenses and hardships caused by the pandemic. In the U.S., Micron team members earning less than $100,000 in annual base pay will receive a payment of $1,000, with appropriately scaled amounts to those who are eligible in all countries where they operate. More than two thirds of their team will receive this payment. They are also establishing a fund that Micron team members can access for greater relief in significant hardship situations. The fund will provide up to $5,000 of aid per employee, based on need. Micron team members will be able to contribute to this fund to directly support their colleagues. “We do not get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose our actions,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and chief executive officer at Micron Technology. “I strongly believe that in unprecedented and challenging times like these, Micron’s actions must leverage the best of who we are as a company – our people, our assets and our creativity – to help humankind.”

Global brewer AB InBev has launched a series of initiatives to prompt financial support to local pubs and bars facing uncertainty during this time. The brand’s e-store Beer Hawk, along with Master of Malt in the UK, have launched the Hospitality Support Alliance, supported by the Budweiser Brewing Group. Their “Save the Pubs” campaign will donate £1 for every order placed on any of their websites to a fund supporting hospitality workers who are struggling to make ends meet. Hospitalityaction.org.uk will administer this fund and make sure the grants get to the individuals who need them the most. Also recently launched in the UK, and quickly expanding to France, the “Save Pub Life” campaign offers consumers the chance to buy a gift card to spend at a local pub in future. Budweiser Brewing Group will match the value of the gift card up to a combined total of £1 million. In Belgium, AB InBev has opened Café Courage – an online platform where consumers can pre-order and pay for their favorite beer at a participating bar. In addition, consumers can make a donation via the website, which goes directly to their favorite bar. When bars are allowed to open again, consumers can enjoy the freshly drafted beers they ordered. For every order made, AB InBev Belgium will donate the same order in free goods up to 3.6 million pints of beer. In just a few days, Belgian consumers have ordered more than 20,500 beers through this platform. In The Netherlands, the #HelpDeHoreca movement, organized by the national hospitality industry association, is offering consumers the opportunity to buy beer vouchers for the future. To help create awareness among consumers, the firm is donating free advertising space on billboards, retrieving opened containers and tank beer from AB InBev brands and replacing them with full containers free of charge, postponing rent for the month of April for all catering establishments that rent a property from them, and other customized solutions. In Brazil, Stella Artois has launched the #ApoieUmRestaurante campaign with partners Chefs Club and Stone. Consumers have the opportunity to help their favorite local restaurants by purchasing a R$50 voucher, which will be complemented to R$100 by Stella Artois and directly donated to the local businesses. Participating consumers are able to use the full credit at their restaurant of choice in the future. And in Canada, they are funding promoted Facebook ads from local bars’ Facebook pages to advertise delivery options for hospitality partners, as well as promoting open hours and multi-pack promotions for sales off-premise.

The Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan will provide free rooms to doctors, nurses and other medical personnel. The luxury hotel, where rooms typically top $1,000 a night, closed on Friday and is not taking new bookings through April 15. “Many of those working in New York City have to travel long distances to and from their homes after putting in 18-hour days,” said Ty Warner, the founder and chairman of Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, which owns the property. “They need a place close to work where they can rest and regenerate.” Warner is the billionaire founder of Ty Inc., best known as the maker of Beanie Babies.

The COVID-19 crisis has proven particularly devastating for musicians. As a result, Newport Festivals has launched the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund will provide financial relief to musicians experiencing lost income as a result of COVID-19 through rapid full and micro grants. “It is with utmost hope that the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz Festivals will go on this summer, but in the meantime we feel the call to do more,“ said Jay Sweet, Executive Producer. “We are in a unique position with our foundation, where we can go above and beyond and help provide support for our musicians’ community while other tours and festivals are cancelling due to COVID-19. In this dark time, we feel blessed to be able to provide some small comfort for those whose songs carry us through each day.”

Serta Simmons Bedding will donate 10,000 mattresses to New York City hospitals and temporary medical facilities fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and is calling on its peers to do the same.

Joanne Fabrics is giving away supplies and guidance for its crafting community on making 100% cotton face masks and serving as a collection point for completed masks.

Toronto-based Canada Goose will leverage existing manufacturing facilities to begin making scrubs and patient gowns.

Allbirds donated $500,000 worth of shoes to healthcare workers and is now asking the public to help with donations, using a “buy one, give one” model to split the cost on donated shoes.

Krispy Kreme is offering a free dozen doughnuts on Mondays to anyone who works in the medical sector who shows their employee badge.

Professional network LinkedIn is offering a 16-part course on remote working free of charge.

Cisco, the multinational tech giant behind online meetings app Webex, is now offering free 90-day licenses with unlimited usage.  

1Password is offering its 1Password Business service free to small business owners for six months, so remote-working teams can securely share passwords and create custom groups, vaults, and permissions.

Toilet paper manufacturer Cottonelle is donating $1 million and one million rolls of TP to the United Way Worldwide COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. Cottonelle also launched #ShareASquare encouraging consumers to tag instances of toilet paper sharing to unlock an additional $1 donation, up to $100,000, through June 1.